abstract from: E.F. Schumacher, Technology with a human face in Small is beautiful, Chap.10, 1973

The modern world shaped by technology tumbles from crisis to crisis; on all sides there are prophecies of disaster and, indeed, visible signs of breakdown. If that which as been shaped by technology, and continues to be shaped, looks sick, it might be wise to have a look at technology itself. If technology is felt to be becoming more and more inhuman, we might do well to consider whether it is possible to have something better - a technology with a human face.[...]

Technology recognizes no self-limiting principle in terms - for instance- of size, speed, or violence. It therefore does not possess the virtues of being self-balancing, self-adjusting, and self-cleansing. In the subtle system of nature, technology -and in particular the super-technology- of the modern world acts like a foreign body and there are now numerous signs of rejection. [...]

The modern world, shaped by modern technology, finds ityself involved in three crisis simultaneously. First, human nature revolts against inhuman technological, organisational and political patterns, which it experiences as suffocating and debilitating; second, the living environnement which supports human life aches and groans ans gives signs of partial breakdown; and third, it is clear to anyone fully knowledgeable in the subject matter that the inroads being made into world's non-renewable sources, particularly those of fossil fuels, are such that serious bottlenecks and virtual exhaustion loom ahead in the quite foreseeable future.

Any one of these three crisis or illnesses can turn out to be deadly. I do not know which of the three is the most likely to be the direct cause of collapse. What is quite clear is that a way of life that bases itself on materialism, on permanent, limitless expansionism in a finite environnement, cannot last long, and that its life expectation is the shorter the more successfully it pursues its expansionist objectives.

Questioning Ecological Design: A Deep Ecology Perspective
Eugenio A. Lomba-Ortiz, 2003

[...] Today's eco-design movement tends to address design problems for a particular point in space and time and forget the dynamic nature of the systems and processes within these systems. Many of these eco-designers do not consider the lifespan of their designs, for example the cycles of materials.

This is apparent when you flip through one of the professional magazines such as Landscape Architecture Magazine or Landscape Design and review what they consider to be ecological design work. For example, one of these projects addressed "ways of putting storm water to good use" by designing "green-grassed parking lots" (Thompson, 1996). This concept, though apparently successful in dealing with runoff issues for a particular point in space and time lacks a deeper sense of responsibility in addressing the bigger, more important issues such as the over dependency on automobile, transportation and the effects on natural ecosystems.

It is apparent that the "ecology" within ecological design is in need of critical revision. Current understanding and paradigms underlying the study of ecosystems should be brought to design in order to truly integrate both forming that special expression of design.

So why should designers (particularly eco-designers!) care about deep ecology and its possible relationship to design?

Probably the biggest task any designer might confront is that of working on the inner-self, that of cultivating ecological consciousness, of becoming aware of the "actuality of birds, ants, rocks, trees, wolves, and oceans," that of realizing that everything is interconnected.

The essence of deep ecology is to address "deeper" questions, questions about human life, society, and nature. Designers should question the establishment, question the new forms of technology and how ultimately technology relates to the environment, question novel alternatives of materials, question the socio-economic impact of their designs on local cultures, and then, maybe then, ecological design might become "simple in means, rich in ends."