Was Leyla named 2016 UNEP Champion of the Earth? YES!

Leyla Acaroglu. 2016 UNEP Champion of the Earth.

It's true. on 2nd December 2016, at a ceremony in Cancun Mexico, our founder the creative change-maker, passionate sustainability provocateur, Dr. Leyla Acaroglu was named Champion of the Earth by the United Nations Environment Program along with 5 other world leaders. Seriously. It's an understatement to say we are excited. 

leyla acaroglu named 2016 champion of the earth
Leyla Acaroglu during the press conference announcing the champions

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Our brains want us to keep calm. But to make a change, we need to keep angry

By Leyla Acaroglu. Published by Quartz, November 21, 2016

These days, a lot of people are thinking about how best to make a change in the world. Some might imagine that it’s best to try to rise above emotions like anger and fear and focus on taking action. But science suggests that embracing feelings of frustration can actually help you make an impact.

When it comes to critical conversations about the complex and important questions of our time—morality, rights, justice, ethics, and the sustainability of our planet—our emotional states impact our likelihood to act. From fear to love, a cocktail of neurochemicals both motivate and disable our bodies and minds. And sometimes, embracing frustration instead of going with the flow is what’s needed to make a change in the world.

The way to get more women in power is to recode our brains

By Leyla Acaroglu. Published Quartz, November 07, 2016

Have you ever wondered if your gender impacts your ability to progress professionally? I have. From a main-stage TED talk to corporate contracts, my gender had become a problem—for others.

As I became more successful within the sustainable design world, I kept discovering moments where my femaleness was restricting perceptions of my ability to perform the more empowered roles allocated to me. Evidence has shown that men and women lead in similar ways, but the public’s perception seems to think otherwise. So I decided to take a deep dive into a year-long research project to uncover why so few women are assigned leadership roles, especially in progressive design and technology sectors.

Ethics isn’t just for philosophers—designers need to take responsibility, too

By Leyla Acaroglu. Published by Quartz, September 28, 2016

A few years ago, I was doing PhD research and interviewing designers around the world to identify the limiting factors in designers integrating sustainability into their work. Nearly everyone I interviewed had, at some point, learned about the systemic implications of rapid innovation and how to make better decisions. Yet most of them stillpassed off the responsibility of making the “right” decision to someone else: It was the boss’s, client’s, manufacturer’s, government’s, or consumer’s choice that would solve the problem that their production would participate in.

When everyone within a system plays this hands-off, “that’s not my problem” game, the system is very quickly riddled with external issues … and a shitload of problems. This appears to be the case with the complex debate around the ethics of design and technology. Who is taking responsibility for the outcomes, externalities, and downright damaging impacts of our hyper-consumer, ever-changing landscape of new gadgets and virtual arenas that are coming on board at a lighting-speed pace?