Tom Lloyd's acceptance speech on taking the helm as Master of the Royal Designers for Industry, November 2021
Evergreen & Bird
Homo Sapiens play an utterly dominant part in what is now, controversially, known as the Anthropocene Epoch. As with any natural system, humanity’s evolution and development is a constant process of inputs and outputs, action, and reaction, as co-habitants of the natural world. This epoch has been so named because for the first time in the Earth’s history, our actions are putting now unbearable strain on the habitat that we share and that we depend on for life.
As both designers and humans, we are participants in this system, and never more critically than now. These two images are both shocking and sad to me, and so expressive of the challenges that we face today. Why is it that we somehow disconnect our own contribution to this reality through the acquisition of our new kitchens, bicycles and books stored in those containers and the plastic lodged in that bird’s stomach? Hopefully, the blocking of the Suez Canal by the stranded Evergreen may be in future seen as a watershed moment in drawing our attention to the realities of global production and consumption that we have become so accustomed to.
So, I want to talk this evening about change and our role as designers in responding to and leading change in the world.
For decades hence, the car was an optimistic and aspirational path to our future, a symbol of progress and freedom.