Maker Movement Should Enable Sustainable Development

Making stuff is all the rage these days. But how does sustainable development fit into this enthusiasm? Insightful blog article by Suzanne Fisher-Murray, STEPS Centre.

With their rise in popularity, could these makerspaces help support sustainable development and have a social purpose? There are some exciting examples to point to. POC21, an “innovation camp” held in 2015, aimed to “overcome the destructive consumer culture and make open-source, sustainable products the new normal” by bringing together scientists, makers, designers, “geeks” and engineers to develop prototypes for a fossil free society. Some of the open source prototypes – that is, designs which are publicly accessible, and can be modified and shared – that came out of the camp included: reusable, 3D-printed water filters; a solar power concentrator; a portable solar power generator; and a wind turbine that costs less than £21 to build.

Justyna Swat from POC21 in front of a white board.

Justyna Swat, one of the POC21 organisers, sharing her experiences from the innovation camp. Credit: Nathan Oxley, STEPS Centre.

Of longer standing is Fablab Amersfoort, which aims to be a sustainable lab, working with recycling materials. And the Open Source Circular Economy Days consciously supports sustainable developments, by promoting initiatives and discussion in makerspaces as well as in the movement more widely.