In response to the converging crises of the Anthropocene, where economic ‘growth’ has broken planetary boundaries, the author proposes an age where humans and their design practices identify ecological frames of reference. An emergent Ecocene depends on creative transformations in all domains and on all levels from human subjectivities to political economies. Joanna Boehnert’s cogent and illuminating study integrates ecological and critical positions into design theory to put forward a theoretical foundation for critical and ecologically-informed design.
By bringing design, ecological and socio-political theory together, Boehnert describes how power is constructed, reproduced and obfuscated by design in ways that often reproduce environmental harms. The transformative potential of design is dependent on deep reaching analysis of the nature of the problems design attempts to address. Ecologically literate and critically engaged design is a practice primed to facilitate the creation of viable, sustainable and just futures. With this approach, designers can make sustainability not only possible but the attractive option.