Less is the New More

This TreeHugger's mantra has been "The key to sustainability is simply to use less, and the key to happily using less is to design things better." Mies van der Rohe is famous for the phrase "less is more", Harry Wakefield of Mocoloco updated it for our title, but the point is this: there are so many things being designed and produced that let us live in less space, consume less energy or fewer resources, that are not obviously or necessarily "green" and do not grace the pages of TreeHugger. Yet through original invention or good design, they have an impact on the way we live and on the size of our footprint. The notebook computer did not develop as a green replacement for a desktop, yet there is no question that it has a smaller physical and ecological footprint- It is greener by design, and now customers are demanding greener manufacture. We first ventured into this territory last year when I declared the iPod Nano to be the green product of the year, to much criticism including: "I'm surprised that anyone literate enough to use a computer can be so short-sighted as to think the environmental cost of an object is measured by its size. It takes resources to manufacture electronics components, batteries, etc. According to the BBC, it takes 75kg of raw materials to manufacture a mobile phone, I doubt the figure for an iPod nano is much different." I respect the argument, and expect that many of the things we cover in this category will attact the same. Nonetheless, there are so many ideas, inventions, and designs of furniture, housing, electronics and other categories that let us get by with less stuff and less space, and every cubic foot saved means less material to build, less energy to maintain. For many of them, it is not a stretch to imagine them made sustainably with green materials. Watch this space.