Earth Day 2020: How do we go from power over to powered by nature?

Micène Fontaine, April 21, 2020

April. Earth day is on the 22 (and marks 50 years). Climate change is a very tangible issue. Every professional organization in the architecture and design industry in the US and abroad has rolled out recommendations to help combat climate change. The narrative is often framed as “combat,” us against nature. Something for us to tame, overpower, etc. As I was reading up for our upcoming session on urban livability (why not lovability, but I digress), I came across a diagram (detail below). It shows natural systems and built systems represented by arrows going in opposite directions. It struck me as very revealing of the way we, as a species, approach our relationship with the rest of the natural world. It is time to change the narrative to us within nature

Detail of Urban livability conceptual diagram.

In her book on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK for short), Julia Watson posits that “we are drowning in information while starving for wisdom” in our search for solutions and offers myriad examples of how we, as humans, have long used our ingenuity to live in symbiosis with our environment. The choice is not high tech versus Lo-TEK. It will take both. There is no better way to celebrate earth day than to rethink our position within the environment and no better food-for-thought than listening to Julia being interviewed on the Time-Sensitive podcast episode # 35. Inspiration-guaranteed. 

"We need to transform our relationship with nature from superior to symbiotic." Julia Watson, author or Lo-TEK, in The Guardian

Whatever you feel inspired to do to celebrate earth day, share your thoughts below and remember that it should carry into daily actions. Even small ones :-)

:Food for Thought and Action