for Any Industrial Design Program Okala*: Ecological Product Design
Steve Belletire, IDSA, Associate Professor | Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Louise St. Pierre, IDSA Associate Professor | University of Washington Seattle
Philip White, IDSA, Principle Orb Analysis for Design, Portland Oregon
This course was developed to primarily serve North American Industrial design education. The word Okala* (Oqala) is Hopi meaning “life-sustaining energy” and it offers multiple messages. First, it honors the human history of this continent by acknowledging the Native Americans who have been present for at least 12,000 years, if not more than 40,000 years. The Hopi are among the most ancient of Native American cultures, descending from the Anasazi (from about 8,000 B.C.). Second, the literal interpretation of “life-sustaining energy” is central to both the problems and the objectives outlined in the course. The energy that we use to create, develop, manufacture, and use products must sustain life on this planet, rather than deplete it. On a more metaphorical level, “life-sustaining energy” implies a forward and optimistic view. It is our hope that the work done in the Okala course plants the seeds for change in industrial design education, and that this learning is positive, constructive, and will be carried forward in future generations. If successful, this work can help improve ecological conditions and provide more equitable distribution of the Earth’s resources.