SustainableUX Founder James Christie works as director of user experience at Mad*Pow, which partners with the likes of inspiring companies like Cigna Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to make their interaction with clients more inclusive and accessible.
But as he started tapping more and more into his internal drive for purpose, he knew he sought more of it than what he was getting there. Yes, he enjoyed teaming up with fantastic nonprofit partners, but wasn’t as into collaborating with other clients driven by the bottom line. He wanted to make a difference.
And he was increasingly scared by how quickly climate change was intensifying.
“In software, I can help, but it’s not going to do you much good if the world’s on fire,” he says. “I began feeling increasingly irrelevant against that backdrop.” He began looking more deeply into the effects of his personal and professional carbon footprint, and how to measure digital impacts, and what carbon offsetting solutions existing.
“What became more urgent was climate change,” he adds. “It’s become increasingly scary for me, as it has for many.” That led him to create, in a very hands-on and grassroots way, the SustainableUX Conference, to dig deep into how our ubiquitous digital habits affect energy use, pollution and more. He is also an active presenter (and writer) on topics including responsive design; in addition to SustainableUX, he has shared his research at South by Southwest (SxSW), IA Summit, UXPA International and UX Scotland.
He and his small volunteer team hoped the first SustainableUX would attract 40 visitors. It drew 400. Year two, 1,300 attended online, with hundreds watching presentations after the fact, absorbing insight into everything from green web-hosting to biomimicry in design.
“All the challenges are basically personal. This is a spare-time project and it’s a passion project…there are a lot of competing priorities. [One strategy is] to de-distractify [my] life, to focus on what matters, to prioritize beyond the noise. I’m getting way more focus and able to unblock myself there. It’s definitely a work in progress.” -James Christie
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- How to draw purpose from work—and how to find it in your spare time too.
- The amazing amount of pollution and waste generated by the digital world.
- The way SustainableUX grew as a conference with a little goodwill, luck and very few other resources.
- The motivational factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose.
- How to affect climate change from within the digital industry.
- BitCoin’s carbon footprint.
- The uptick in ethical introspection happening in the design world.
- The challenges of growing something like SustainabilityUX as a side project.
- The mindfulness movement, particularly tech mindfulness, and how to map out personal priorities.
- Strategies that SustainableUX is using to reach more people.
Links from the Episode:
- James Christie (LinkedIn)
- SustainableUX on Twitter
- Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- UX Experience Design
- SustainableUX on YouTube
- BitCoin Energy Consumption Index (Digiconomist)
- The State of UX in 2019
Give this article from James Christie a read to get to know even more about SustainableUX and what they do!
Building a Better World, Together
Grow Ensemble, a 1% For the Planet business member, is an Impact Media + Marketing company on a mission to make more sustainable living and business the norm.