Human beings are part of nature. Nature is not dependent on human beings to exist. Human beings, on the other hand, are totally dependent on nature to exist. The growing number of people on the planet and how we live here is going to determine the future of nature. From a sustainable marketing perspective, the fundamental relationship between humans and nature is the ongoing exchange and change of resources, the service nature and humans provide to each other: We tend to consume as if there is an unlimited supply of resources, but we live in a world of non-renewable resources.
Our forests, rivers, oceans and soils provide us with the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we irrigate our crops with. We also rely on them for numerous other goods and services we depend on for our health, happiness and prosperity. Nature has a large impact on our wellbeing. Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally, it contributes to our physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
Pieces from my Level 3 Art Board
The theme of my board was the relationship between human nature and mother nature. I have always valued human connection to nature. this board was inspired by my mother and the struggle she has lived through. I used the metaphor of flowers being like women, beautiful get delicate and fragile- easy to be damaged in this society especially with social media. Yet some flowers have thorns which are like a defense barrier or like a “wall” people build to protect themselves from being hurt. Many plants and flowers have these tools which ward off predaters such as colours, scents and poising/toxins they release.
Biomimicry is the design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modelled on biological entities and processes. “Biomimicry is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design challenges — and find hope along the way.” – Biomimicry Institution
For all the challenges we face, nature has a solution.
Biomimicry offers an empathetic, interconnected understanding of how life works and ultimately where we fit in. It is a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies used by species alive today. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies — new ways of living — that solve our greatest design challenges sustainably and in solidarity with all life on earth. We can use biomimicry to not only learn from nature’s wisdom, but also heal ourselves — and this planet — in the process.
Biomimicry helps us design generously.
Circularity, sustainability, regenerative design — it all means that the things we humans make become a force for restoring air, water, and soil instead of degrading it. Nature uses structure to change functions and also uses passive forms of energy, whereas our inventions use brute force like mining ancient carbon and a multitude of harmful chemicals. We can create conditions conducive to life, just like nature does.
The 3 Essential Elements of Biomimicry
The scientific, research-based practice of learning from and then replicating nature’s forms, processes, and ecosystems to create more regenerative designs.
The philosophy of understanding how life works and creating designs that continuously support and create conditions conducive to life.
The concept that we are nature and find value in connecting to our place on Earth as part of life’s interconnected systems. (Re)Connect as a practice encourages us to observe and spend time in nature to understand how life works so that we may have a better ethos to emulate biological strategies in our designs.
Regenerative design is a process-oriented whole systems approach to design. The term “regenerative” describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials. This is a term I have learnt in this semester in my minor, Design Thinking.
Regenerative design seeks to not merely lessen the harm of new development, but rather to put design and construction to work as positive forces that repair natural and human systems. One organization that has emerged as a leader in clarifying and codifying regenerative design is the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). Its summary matrix consists of seven categories or “petals,” each of which has two to five imperatives.
Those petals are:
- Health + Happiness
An aspect of this approach that we find intriguing is the inclusion of aspects normally considered outside the scope of design. Health + Happiness and Equity are examples. As designers, we embrace the opportunity to think more broadly about our work and its implications for those who inhabit our creations or are simply affected by the process of construction, wherever they are located.
Top Regenerative Design Strategies in Buildings
At the very start of the project, the architect must have a sincere discussion with the client to understand exactly what they expect out of the building in terms of regenerative design. What are they comfortable pursuing in terms of an energy target? What strategies would they be willing to push the envelope on? Some of the top regenerative design strategies are:
Green Roofs & Skins
Green roofs are fairly common in today’s building design industry, but we can also design buildings with skins that actually clean the ambient air and sequester carbon.
Designing constructed wetlands that capture and naturally store stormwater is a useful tool that replenishes the underground aquifer.
On-site water treatment may have a high initial principal cost, with a low monetary return on investment, but that same strategy is far more impactful in terms of water conservation and thereby results in long-term resource savings that arguably outweighs short-term financial projections.
Energy Consumption & Production
It’s important to not only design buildings that use less energy but to also design them to produce and store energy on site so that there is less or no reliance on the utility grid. Energy stored on site via microgrids can be used by the by the building during night hours. The building could also serve as small scale energy resource for the surrounding community, thereby further reducing reliance on the larger utility. Renewable technologies such as solar panels and wind turbines are becoming more commonplace in projects as energy generators. Every day, new technologies are coming online such as biodigesters which convert solid waste into energy which can be used by the building.
Thermal Efficient Construction
Thermal efficient construction encompasses the whole building envelope, creating a building that is more energy efficient, which reduces the mechanical system load. Curtain walls, for example, can contribute to thermal efficiency, by creating a thermal barrier between the exterior and interior.