It's rather interesting how design and the environment go hand in hand. In order for a design to "work", it needs to serve some sort of function or purpose. My goal as a designer is to help our world by providing ideas to people that ARE functional. I ask myself: What situations can be improve? How can we improve them and CAN they even BE improved upon? The other goal in all of this is that we want to be as environmentally sound as possible.
In terms of appliances, we need to look at the larger picture before scaling down and focusing on smaller aspects of a society.
By the way, I loved the design and development article. Fantastic!