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Opinion: Pentagram's Naresh Ramchandani issues a creative call to action

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This week Naresh Ramchandani – co-founder of environmental charity Do The Green Thing and a partner at Pentagram – issues a new year challenge for creatives everywhere; to use their talents for the good of us all. As ever you can add your thoughts using the thread below…

Whether we’re designers, illustrators, photographers or copywriters, we’re all highly-skilled persuaders, and we’ve spent the last century persuading the world of one big idea.

We’ve persuaded the world that fast cars show our success and sexuality, that wearing the latest fashion is unassailable proof of our edge and youth, that the early adoption of the latest technology is the continuation of our relevance. We’ve persuaded the world that holidays must be exotic, that quality must be imported, that our homes must be perpetually warm. Thanks to our designs and our imagery and our advertising, the world believes that life must be fast, that the latest model beats all that came before and that anything with a price must be better than anything without one.

In short, we’ve persuaded the world to live a life of consumption. The world has bought it, but the world can’t afford it. Humanity is buying too much, making too much, eating too much and wasting too much and it’s simply not sustainable. We’re running out of resources and with global temperatures, water levels, weather calamities, waterborne diseases, species extinction and climate migration all rising, we’re running out of time.

So perhaps it’s time to use our skills of persuasion a little differently. To persuade the world that foot power beats horsepower, that relishing beats rushing, that what is close to us is more “us” that what comes from far away. To persuade the world that there is a simple pleasure in living with rather than fighting the seasons, that what we have already is often more meaningful that what we might have, that making, sharing, finding and knowing are all more rewarding than owning.

The world desperately needs a new big idea to replace the old big idea of consumption, one that’s about living a life rather than buying one. If anyone can persuade the world of it, and make it simple and desirable and normal, then we can.

Do The Green Thing is hosting a Young Creatives Competition with WWF to create three posters that will be published nationally in March 2014 for WWF’s Earth Hour. If you’re a UK-based creative between 16 and 25, then you can find details of the competition here.

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