key concepts

The 2012 Imperative aims to embed ecological and sustainability literacy in design education by 2012. The project was launched with a Teach-in October 2009 at the V&A in London. Speakers included John Thackara, Andrew Simms, Jonthan Crinion, Stephanie Hankey, Richard Hawkins, Ben Gill and Emma Dewberry. Videos of the event can be viewed here. Visit the collaborative Ning website to get involved.

Design education must move quickly to respond to urgent environmental pressures. Climate change is a severe problem that will require a response from all sectors of society. Design education must embrace its unique ability to facilitate change by engaging with the concept of ecological literacy, communicating key concepts of environmental sustainability, and initiating a wide-reaching learning process. This re-focus of priorities within design education will help make design a key player in our collective response to global environmental imperatives.

Ecological literacy is an understanding of ecological systems and an awareness of how society operates within natural imperatives. Informed by an understanding of ecological systems, new concepts and tools can help the design industry become an important player in the transition to a sustainable system. This project is lead by EcoLabs, an ecological literacy initiative in London.



‘There is a tremendous gap between what is understood about climate change by
the scientific community and what is known by those who need to know, the public.
Nowhere is the need for knowledge greater than for people in design education,
who must be leaders in transforming the way that we use energy in daily life.’

James Hansen, Director: NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, July 2009.