Foot Print – Terrarium

With Foot Print, we explored the idea of directly linking the well-being of a living organism to the ecological impact of one’s consumption choices.

The system consists of a domesticated plant that is kept in a terrarium and exposed to varying amounts of air, water and light based on its owner’s environmental footprint. If the person makes ecologically conscious purchase decisions, the plant thrives; if not, its life is in jeopardy.

A simple visualization on the terrarium depicts whether consumption choices have affected the plant negatively or positively. The only way to care for the plant is by way of one’s consumption decisions.

The owner is provided with a location aware phone application that keeps track of  his environmental impact as he goes about his day to day life. The app tracks his transportation choices and suggests ecologically beneficial alternatives to items he considers purchasing at the supermarket.

The concept is not meant to be a fool-proof pitch about an idealistic product, but a vehicle to provoke a discussion about itself. Imagine a future in which every household is made to be responsible for such plants. How would it affect relationships in which people have varying carbon footprints? Would black markets and hacks emerge to help people cheat to keep the plant alive? Would a living, breathing manifestation of one’s ecological footprint induce people to be more conscious of their consumption preferences, or would there be thousands of dead plants lining terrariums in our homes?