‘I wanted a complete overview of the impact of our Western lifestyle on the planet,’ Dutch designer Babette Porcelijn told a Dutch newspaper on the occasion of the publication of her book ‘The Hidden Impact’ (2016). So she started researching. To her own surprise, the biggest impact of our daily conduct on the environment is not caused by car driving, heating our houses or travelling the air, although these are obviously also big factors. ‘Most of the pollution we’re causing in the Netherlands comes from the purchase of ‘stuff’: electronics like tv’s, cellphones, computers, audio/video equipment, and things like furniture, toys, essentially anything you buy in a mall.’ for the house, gadgets, books and knickknacks ’
As a designer, author and keynote speaker, Babette Porcelijn is passionate about saving the environment. During her Industrial Design studies at TU Delft she followed a course in environmental studies. Nevertheless, she was stunned when she heard that every day we lose 27 million trees more than we gain. And that the 16 largest container ships in the world together emit as much sulphur as all cars driving around on the globe. And there’s not 16 of them, there’s 50.000.
‘You hear so many good things about the environment and the climate, about wind turbines and solar panels for instance. I thought we were on the right track. But outside our range of vision so much more is happening. The consumer buys, pays and uses, but doesn’t see the effect of this behaviour on the planet.’
Diving deeper into the subject, she decided to write the book which she ultimately developed and published with crowdfunding. The richly illustrated book provides a clear overview of our impact on the planet and it offers a range of solutions. Porcelijn’s ultimate goal is to empower people to make a difference. To this end she combines her work as a designer with corporate advice, impact analysis, eco-positive strategy and communication, lectures and workshops.