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Bergen, Annika
As weddings continue to evolve into more elaborate and extravagant events, the resulting environmental impacts increase as well. The goal of this thesis project is to help wedding venues become more sustainable by developing requirements for a certification administered by an eco-wedding association. After identifying the key areas of impact for wedding venues, the final outcome is a checklist of relevant criteria venues need to meet in order to receive one of three levels of venue sustainability certification and join the eco-wedding association. The combination of the certification and association closes the sustainability gap in modern US weddings, increasing awareness around the social, economic, and environmental benefits gained through this industry transformation.
Cook, George
The rate of human development poses unprecedented environmental, social and economic challenges. The UN estimates that by 2050 the world population will be nearly 9.8 billion people. Today 26 percent of the world’s 7.5 billon people are children under the age of 15. In Africa, the region with the highest population growth, 41 percent of the population is under 15. The Earth’s burgeoning human population is facing serious and interrelated challenges of resource scarcity, climate change and economic/social instability. The future hinges on our abilities to adapt to and creatively address tremendous changes in the natural, built and social environments. Addressing these challenges requires a transformative view that emphasizes creativity, innovation, entrepreneurial know-how and ethical citizenship. A review of the historical roots of education systems and practices provides context. Recent developments in educational ideas and frameworks are considered, identifying common themes. Concepts are scoped to how they connect learning with Earth’s systems: 
Why do some elements work against this objective? What functions are in alignment? Synergies between education and design methodologies are examined. Approaches to education as a design problem including design thinking, Understanding by Design, TRIZ, and design patterns are presented. Design-driven approaches to curricular planning and school reform are summarized and validated by success stories. The vast majority of K-12 education has not embraced new methodologies in typical classrooms, which are still dominated by lecture. In addition, even new methodologies do not place a living systems ethic at their core. A broad and comprehensive transformation is required: Education’s role must be to develop sustainable mindsets and capacities for action. Biomimicry provides a design lens to explore this problem from a living systems perspective. Learning functions are translated into biological terms. Living systems inspire solutions by considering educational design problems from biological perspectives, revealing new strategies. Biological functions, structures and design patterns are abstracted and applied to learning environments. Bio-inspired solutions are evaluated against Life’s Principles (Biomimicry 3.8). As a next step, tools for adapting the bio-inspired education framework are provided. [Biomimicry is a new approach being applied by scientists, engineers and designers that takes inspiration from nature’s models to solve human problems.]
Elder, Zachary
Automotive child safety seats represent a complex mix of legally mandated safety regulations, user interface requirements, material science, and structural engineering. Within the current linear industry model, however, these combined factors pose significant sustainability challenges; essentially creating a high volume, high impact, durable good, utilized as a high turnover consumable product with little to no viable end of life strategies beyond disposal. The objective of this study is to provide the foundations for evolving the current linear model into one of more sustainable circularity. The overarching goal being the transformation the product lifecycle of safety seats through the application of circular frameworks, coupled with supporting sustainable design practices to redefine the constructs of ownership, brand value, and product sustainability in this market space; with portability to other industries. In addition to framing the circular model, this study also probes into consumer value propositions and brand value associations. These perspectives hold the keys to creating a narrative that will enable sustainability to transcend beyond its definition, and into a seamless, tangible, and relevant aspect of the values they already hold; easing the pathway for the proliferation of circularity and a sustainable future.
Graham, Megan
Waste is a common sustainable issue that plagues all product industries. The most common examples of production wastes come in the form of tangible objects like packing and scrap materials. While the impacts of the aforementioned waste effect the craft brewing industry, there is a brewing waste stream that is not as well documented which could be just as damaging to the environment, culture, people, and economy. In an effort to address suspended solid waste impacts in craft microbrewery and brewpub wastewater, waste points were identified throughout the brewing process and each point was examined using the Living Principles to assess the impacts of the current brewing process. The review results illustrate the creation of a series of waste streams that if treated individually would not make significant sustainable progress or industry change. By leveraging the industry best practices collated by the Brewers Association, the principle of extended producer responsibility, and the design framework detailed in Design + Environment: A Global Guide to Designer Greener Goods, a certification design will be explored to address current disparities in Minneapolis craft microbrewery and brewpub wastewater practices, encourage continuous improvement practices and encourage sustainable transparency activities.