Re-imagining a sustainable future

Re-imagining a sustainable future

There’s been a lot written about how green can be a major driver for innovation, but most of what I’ve read has been theoretical in nature – general calls for new ideas.

That’s why an item caught my eye earlier this week about the kitchen of the future. It offered a real, radically different idea about incorporating sustainability into our daily lives.

IKEA asked Europeans what they wanted in their kitchens in the coming decades, and they responded with a brilliant idea – they want to incorporate gardens into their kitchens. They want to have space indoors, right next to their food preparation area, to grow their own vegetables.

Now think about this for a minute. This requires an entirely different way of thinking about kitchens. All of a sudden the kitchen is transformed from an end point where food is finally prepared and consumed – to a beginning point where people nurture seedlings and begin to have a relationship with their food source. It’s a radical departure.

At least one major electronics manufacturer has a similar idea that recently won a design competition – an indoor hydroponic garden appliance that’s the size of a refrigerator. Maybe one day soon, we could reach into our hydroponic kitchen station and pluck a fresh head of romaine for our salads instead of unwrapping a head that came from some unknown destination we bought at the store.

What else can be re-imagined? How about building all new homes with gray water recovery systems? What about neighborhood renewable energy stations – small solar or wind arrays used to power local homes? What about offering products in refillable bottles and packages and letting consumers load up in grocery aisles that look like bulk foods aisles?

What are your ideas for radical innovation?  Let’s start there, and then we’ll talk about how to get consumers engaged in them.

About the Author

Karen Barnes

Karen is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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