DS 110: Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE 2021), VIA Design, VIA University in Herning, Denmark. 9th -10th September 2021

Year: 2021
Editor: Grierson, Hilary; Bohemia, Erik; Buck, Lyndon
Author: Sandvik, Tor
Series: E&PDE
Institution: Oslomet - Oslo metropolitan university, Norway
Section: Educating Designers and Engineers for a Sustainable Future in Design and Engineering Education
DOI number: 10.35199/EPDE.2021.52
ISBN: 978-1-912254-14-9


The actions executed in the name of sustainable development, by corporations capable of changing society, have similar goals but sometimes conflicting motivations. This paper aims to define the motivations by analyzing the language behind such actions. Actions aimed to protect the world are often framed in a language that gives an impression of avoiding apocalyptic consequences. On the contrary, projects that aim to better the world are phrased in a way that supports utopic motivation. Education can benefit from implementing clarity and mindfulness regarding this concept. Projects can yield vastly different results based on the base motivation. There seems to be a need for reflection regarding such motivations in the field of sustainable actions. The paper strengthens the hypothesis that utopic motivation might yield positive outcomes, but there is no guarantee for this. Therefore, the research question will be: Can design thinking be used in the creation of the motives for sustainable development to aid global actors to reach their expected or improved outcomes? The findings are derived from two case studies. The first case is of the Norwegian climate lawsuit and the second is the justification of Equinor’s project of carbon capture and storage as a consequence of the Paris agreement.

Keywords: Climate change, Sustainability, utopia, apocalypse, motivation


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