Authenticity as a component of Sustainability

August 26, 2010

At one point, around 2004, I was still toying with the idea of trying to get involved with product design. There is a program that had intrigued me at Stanford and I had applied in 2000 but didn’t make the cut. The program was started by the man who put together the company IDEO, one I admire a lot. 

While investigating that area I decided to set up a website and domain, no longer active or available, called AEGTE  which is the Danish word for authentic.  I decided that authenticity would become much more important to people in the years to come. Along with locally grown food, embodied human energy, etc.  What is authentic?  A hand made rowboat, An engineers old abacus  hanging on the wall ? An old Martin guitar, wooden snowshoes,  that sweater my mother knit for me ?  A small village ssomewhere in China not yet touched by modernity ?

 One of the things I value about the CTG “brand” is the companies sense of authenticity in it’s approach to sustainability and high performance. NOT a greenwashing company. 

I came across this article tonight and wanted to share it  as a means of opening that discussion. Working on sustainable communities, for example, we can ask, “ what will make this project authentic in it’s representation of an ecologically and culturally sensitive model for future  development “  Keeping in mind that small communities have endured in various parts of the world for centuries before the current globalization issues arrived.

Lois L Marines wrote this on the Design INtelligence website

Fortunately, an early mentor warned me of the consequences of not living and acting authentically. It is tough to be worthy of trust or to lead effectively without being authentic. That lesson was hard learned and is often hard to retain; I still have to be reminded periodically, which may result from my choice of vocation as teacher, coach, and mentor. Lynn Freed writes of the “teacher’s trap — the trap of wanting to be liked,” though teachers aren’t the only ones who are vulnerable.


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