Marc O’Brien

Marc O’Brien
Co-founder, The Determined

Marc O’Brien is the co-founder of The Determined, a creative studio for a climate-resilient world. He is also the co-founder of Climate Designers, a hub for designers and creative professionals from all industries, committed to using their creative skills to take climate action. When not running his studio, you can find him teaching at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, CA as an adjunct faculty. Marc is also the co-author of the First Things First 2020 manifesto. 



Sustainability Deep Dive 2021 Session Description

What If Every Designer Were a Climate Designer?

Designers produce waste while creating stuff. And that stuff eventually becomes waste. Even the experiences designers create use energy that is fueled by finite, dirty, harmful sources. It's the status-quo, it’s the "business as usual,” and it’s the "but we've always done it this way" mindset that got us into our current ecological and humanitarian crisis.

Designers are the translators of information. Designers play a hand in shaping culture. This responsibility is huge and something that more designers need to consider. Questioning existing systems and protocols is needed in order to create massive, global, positive change. Designers have an amazing set of skills. They use creativity to solve problems and have the ability to visualize ideas. They help communicate important messages. They design interactions that encourage others to take action.

Imagine all of that being applied towards the climate crisis. Imagine designers collaborating with the scientists, researchers, policy makers, and others on the front lines in addressing our climate emergency. What if every designer were a climate designer?