“The exploiter's goal is money, profit; the nurturer's goal is health – his land's health, his own, his family's, his community's, his country's. Whereas the exploiter asks of a piece of land only how much and how quickly it can be made to produce, the nurturer asks a question that is much more complex… How much can be taken from it without diminishing it? What can it produce dependably for an indefinite time?”
- Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America
There are few words more likely to induce eye rolls than “sustainability.” For too long it has been a box to check, the corporate equivalent of nagging your kids to eat their vegetables. Even the way we talk about it takes on draconian overtones, as though “achieving” sustainability standards were daunting if not unachievable.
When it comes to products, and the companies that make them, to buy sustainability-conscious goods is often presented as an economic decision. But if sustainability is about making good choices, then what is the true cost of not buying sustainable products?
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, perhaps it’s time we reframed the sustainability question:
Can something be beautiful if it is not sustainable?
Right now, as we are on pause, we have an opportunity to ponder new possibilities and ask different questions. Like, what role will sustainability play in your design projects? Could a commitment to sustainability accelerate your brand and your business?
When Merida first opened its doors in 1980, we took a flying leap at sustainability by deciding to source only natural materials that are rapidly renewable. For 40 years that decision has informed so many choices, and set constraints on what we would – and wouldn’t – make. From the quality of the yarns to the integrity of our rug backings, every choice we have made is with the wellbeing of the consumer and the health of the environment in mind.
When you break it down, good design and sustainability are inextricably linked. Design that celebrates the materials and honors the makers. Design that bestows the gift of something beautiful and lasting to the consumer. In a world awash in disposable goods, there is nothing more sustainable than that.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Disclaimer: the featured rug is not for outdoor use.