Charles challenges students to design solutions to environmental problems



he Prince of Wales and design guru Sir Jony Ive have joined forces to encourage students to create high impact, low cost solutions to help the global transition to a sustainable future.

Students at the Royal College of Art (RCA) have taken on the challenge of designing projects, as part of the Terra Carta Design Lab initiative, that tackle environmental damage to the planet.

Charles, who has an official role with RCA as a Royal Visitor, said: “Small ideas can have a big impact if backed up by the right design, science and engineering and that’s the idea. key behind today’s Terra Carta Design Lab.

Charles, pictured releasing a turtle into the sea in Malta, is a longtime conservationist (Steve Parsons / PA) / AP Archives

“We only have 100 days before Cop26, the major United Nations conference in Glasgow to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, and we will all have to play our part, young and old, if we want to change the how we take care of the Earth by making it sustainable for nature, people and the planet.

The Terra Carta Design Lab developed from Charles’s Terra Carta or Earth Charter project, an ambitious Magna Carta-style charter to encourage the private sector to protect the planet by embracing sustainability and investing $ 10 billion (7.3 billion pounds) into ‘natural capital’.

Sir Jony, credited with designing some of the modern era’s most beloved gadgets including Apple’s iPhone, iPod and iPad, designed the layout of the charter document.

The industrial, product and architectural designer, who is the Chancellor of RCA, said of the design lab: “This is a visionary and imaginative way to help solve the world’s increasingly pressing environmental problems.

“Often times the biggest challenges require the most resourceful and creative thinking, which is why I am so excited about the work that RCA students will be able to contribute through this collaboration.

“I know their creativity and inventiveness will develop truly powerful solutions. “

Jony Ive has been named a knight for his work in design (Rebecca Naden / PA) / AP Archives

Former RCA students are already working to create solutions to environmental problems, with graduates involved in the Tire Collective, which has developed a device to capture microplastic particles from tires as they are emitted.

Another project is Zelp (Zero Emissions Livestock Project), which has created an innovative device worn by livestock that neutralizes methane exhalations from livestock at the source.

Over 2,300 RCA students will be invited to collaborate in multidisciplinary teams drawn from the college’s four schools – architecture, arts and humanities, communication and design, and will be joined by experienced alumni.

Charles’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) – launched last year to help accelerate the world’s transition to a sustainable future – created the Terra Carta and a Natural Capital Investment Alliance.

The design lab will also receive support from Terra Carta’s private sector partners who are part of the SMI.

A shortlist of entrants will be announced at Cop26, with final winning designs announced in 2022.

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