Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
Such thoughtfulness will moderate or even eliminate the slowly unraveling web
of nature that has been accelerating at an alarming rate. Innovators such as Albert
Einstein have noted that new and emerging problems demand new approaches
and ways of thinking. “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the
same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” 1 Our hope is that this
topic is one of the building blocks of the next stage of green design. We advocate
taking proactive steps toward evolving our thinking about solutions to the many
complex environmental challenges we face at the beginning of the twenty-first
Since the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century, architects and engi-
neers have been key players (culprits?) in the war against nature. Single-minded
exploitation and subjugation of nature was the norm during much of the twen-
tieth century and persists as a mainstay of design. Technology has hastened the
process. Notably, “man-made weather” (i.e., air conditioning) is now a univer-
sal expectation of building design in the West, following the invention of an
“apparatus for treating air” patented by Willis Carrier in 1906. 2 It is also en-
trenched in the desire for conformation of the International Style of Architecture,
which spanned much of the twentieth century. Many of us follow the remnants
of this style, still seeking one universal building, regardless of climate and place.
We take great comfort in our templates. What worked last time surely must work
again this time.
Actually, green thinking is not new at all. In fact, our new way of thinking
resembles an understanding of and respect for nature found in antiquity, as ev-
idenced by the designs of cliff-dwelling native peoples. Reestablishing the link
between built form and the environment will require a more complete under-
standing of the science that underpins successful sustainable design strategies, and
incorporating this knowledge as architects and engineers engaged in shaping our
world along with the construction community charged with realizing a new vi-
sion. In Cradle to Cradle , McDonough and Braungart note the challenge of this
approach: “For the engineer that has always taken—indeed has been trained his
or her entire life to take—a traditional, linear, cradle to grave approach, focus-
ing on one-size-fits-all tools and systems, and who expects to use materials and
chemicals and energy as he or she has always done, the shift to new models and
more diverse input can be unsettling.” 3
A more complete understanding of the first principles of science and a re-
examination of the “normal” process of conception and delivery in the design
and construction communities puts the green designer in a position of strength.
These principles provide the knowledge needed to challenge those who choose
to “green wash” a product by presenting only a portion of the entire story of a
product's environmental impact. For example, a product may indeed be “phos-
phate free,” which means that it does not contain one of the nutrients that can
lead to eutrophication of surface waters. However, this does not translate directly
Search WWH ::

Custom Search