Failed ‘Green Innovations’

Steve McConnell said, in his Economic Reality Check video, to “design to inspire life and human potential and shape the future we will inherit” with regards to using technology to create sustainable solutions.

But what happens if we only think about the ‘Aha!’ ideas and went straight to work without even considering first-hand extensive research or the future problems that can occur. Some innovations might have been good on paper but bad in practice. Sara from WebEcoist wrote an article on innovations, inventions and ideas that aimed to go green but failed in other aspects that goes along with every innovations. Here are a few she noted down.

1. Land reclamation project turned private playground for the rich and famous, artificial island projects such as Duai’s The World have come under criticism for harming the environment and distributing delicate ecosystems as developers claim the projects actually benefit the planet like natural islands. The world is an environmental shame compared to contemporary architectural trends toward prefabrication, portability and the recycling of old structures into new houses.

Artificial Islands (Sara, 2011)

The World is sinking: Dubai islands ‘falling into the sea’ (Spencer 2011)

Problems in The World rose such as islands sinking, many inventors who did buy the                  islands proved unwilling or unable to finance further work when Dubai’s property halved in the space of a year, one buyer of the island committed suicide while the other buyer is serving seven years in jail after being accused of bouncing cheques. After several problems and disputes with.

2. Human-powered floating gyms is a great way to transport yourself downriver as long as you don’t mind working out in an encased shell with a dozen other sweaty bodies. While scientists have been working to find a way to harness wasted energy expelled by people at gyms, the practicality of floating gyms is debatable. Would people want to work out on their way to meetings and appointments? Would the resources used to build the gyms make the energy savings even worth it? Isn’t walking or biking on exciting roadways a more feasible (and inexpensive) method of transport?

(Sara, 2011)

3. Biofuels were the next great answer to the unquenchable thirst for fuel. Then, people saw the rapidly burgeoning rates of deforestation and created a global food crisis the worlds still dealing with. Though biofuel production is still growing and politicians are still hopeful that these agricultural sources of energy can get us off fossil fuels, the management and production thus far has been a free-for-all with unintended consequences and tragic collateral damage. Biofuels even cause four times more carbon emissions than standard diesel or petrol.

Successful well functioning innovations takes time to be formulated right. The process involved in creating design solutions is as important as the solution itself.

Author(s) Year, Title of webpage (in italics), Type of website (if necessary), Organisation (if different from author), Location (if known), Date accessed, URL <in angle brackets>.


Gray L. 2010, Biofuels cause four times more carbon emissions, The Telegraph, accessed 27 June 2012, <>

Sara 2011, FAIL: 20 Infamous ‘Green Innovations’ That Aren’t, WebEcoist, accessed 27 June 2012, <>

Spencer R. 2011, The World is sinking: Dubai islands ‘failing into sea’, The Telegraph, accessed 27 June 2012, <>


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