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Welcome to Climate Design
An introduction to this newsletter / media empire in the making
What is Climate Design and what’s in it for you?
The goal here is to figure out where designers can have the most impact on the climate emergency and how.
Who is Victor Lombardi?
As I write this I’m 53 years old. For all my adult life I’ve been passionate about making technology easier to use, mostly as a software (UX/UI/product…) designer, but also doing product management, product development, a bit of startup stuff, and even IT work. These days I’m an advisor to organizations trying to make a technology experience better where I can offer a holistic view of design, tech, business, and science. My friend Josh sometimes hires me to be “the adult in the room” to figure out what needs to be done and make sure it gets done.
Why do designers need this?
Around 1992 I became obsessed with design when I discovered Bruce Tognazzini’s book Tog on Interface which tells the tale of how the first designers at Apple made the Macintosh user interface (as we called them then). It was around this time that I discovered the web and started making web pages.
Within a few years it was clear the web was going to be huge, but there was barely anyone who understood how to design for this medium and no books or educational programs. For a long time we all hobbled along exchanging information on blogs and over drinks at conferences. Over time designers fell into the habit of naval gazing, debating titles and roles and whether we should program or not. Meanwhile the venture capitalists gambled away the direction of the Internet with Webvan and Groupon. Thirty years later the most painful experiences such as paying taxes, using healthcare, making a financial plan, funding higher education, etc. continued unabated.
In that regard the situation we’re in now, in 2023 with our climate emergency, resembles that time just before the dot com boom. There’s plenty of capital, government support, and startups. Older companies are gradually figuring out what to do. We’re learning how to talk and share about the topic, and the public is slowly learning and accepting of it all.
But will the results be any different? Or will investors simply figure out how to multiply capital at the expense of the experience of everyone else?
Why am I doing this?
I squandered at least two key opportunities to exert influence in my professional community. One was when I helped found a non-profit professional organization of designers, and another when I founded a community of people interested in applying design methods to business problems. In both cases I neglected to focus our efforts where it would have the most impact, to look outside ourselves and face the biggest problems facing the world.
Now, I’m going to do that.
It seems like the daylight is coming And no one is watching but me But I don't mind the dark discovering the day Cause the night is a beautiful bright blue and grey
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