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If Products Could Speak April 6

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Biodiversity and stability
Biodiversity and stability
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If Products Could Speak April 6

  1. 1. IF PRODUCTS COULD SPEAK TOWARDS A MODEL OF SUSTAINABLE DESIGN JEN VAN DER MEER NYU ITP April 6, 2009
  2. 2. RECALLED 4_2_2009
  3. 3. RECALLED 4_2_2009
  4. 4. RECALLED 4_1_2009
  5. 5. RECALLED 4_1_2009
  6. 6. CDC: Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what’s considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient. Image source: Inhabitots
  7. 7. TODAY’S FOCUS: Biodiversity: diversity of plant and animal life “If animals, fish, and plants could speak.” Cradle to Cradle: Waste = Food. Diversity.
  8. 8. Biodiversity - the problem Human actions changing the diversity of life on the planet, and most of these changes represent a loss of biodiversity. Changes were more rapid in the past 50 years than at any time in human history. Like, 1000x more rapid.
  9. 9. How do you feel about this guy? Image: WWF
  10. 10. How bout this guy? Image: WWF
  11. 11. “Losing Strands in the Web of Life” Like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, humanity now finds itself in the midst of a mass extinction: a global evolutionary convulsion with few parallels in the entire history of life. _John Tuxill, Chris Bright
  12. 12. Convention on Biodiversity: Rate of Loss of Biodiversity from Freshwaters
  13. 13. Source: Conservation International. Data: National Geographic.
  14. 14. Edward O. Wilson, Harvard Biologist We live on an unexplored planet. We have barely begun to decipher the intricate ecological mechanisms that keep natural communities running smoothly. We do not know—even to a rough order of magnitude—how many species there are on Earth. Which means we have a data problem.
  15. 15. Red List IUCNRedlist.org: The IUCN Species Programme working with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has for more than four decades been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties, and even selected subpopulations on a global scale in order to highlight those threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation.
  16. 16. Source: Redlist. Fishing Cat.
  17. 17. Source: Redlist. Caspian Seal.
  18. 18. Source: Redlist. BlackFooted Ferret.
  19. 19. Biodiversity Threats: Direct: The process of conservation involves Fragmentation identifying endangered species, identifying Invasive Species biodiversity threats, setting goals, and Habitat Loss “mitigating” these threats. Pollution Overexploitation Results are measured in biodiversity – Climate Change species census – another data problem. Indirect: Overpopulation OverConsumption Poverty Policy/Enforcement
  20. 20. Data Source: Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (2005). World Population Prospects: The 2004 Revision. Highlights. New York: United Nations
  21. 21. Rio Earth Summit CBD: Convention on Biological Diversity. 1992 Rio Earth Summit. International treaty. Measures and incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Founded on US conservation principles. Practices the precautionary principle with regard to genetically modified organisms. 192 countries have signed. 4 Countries have not. Guess who?
  22. 22. Where does conservation happen ? Local. Regional. Global.
  23. 23. Does conservation work? Conservation: human management of land + water for future generations: Sustainable fisheries, wildlife management, sustainable forestry. Preservation: land and water protection – not for human resource exploitation.
  24. 24. Cradle to Cradle Waste=Food Cyclical process – earth’s major nutrients are constantly cycled and recycled. Growth was good. Then came industry. Which altered the natural equilibrium of materials on the planet. 2 flows. Biological mass. Technical mass.
  25. 25. Cradle to Cradle Nature’s Design Framework: a flowering of diversity, a flowering of abundance. Earth’s response to its one source of incoming energy. Current design response of humans: attack of the one size fits all. De-evolution: simplification on a mass scale. Fittest survive. Fitting-est thrive. Energetic and material engagement with place, an interdependent relationship.
  26. 26. BioMimicry: Janine Benyus: Biomimicry is a new discipline that studies nature’s best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Image source: Treehugger
  27. 27. Cradle to Cradle “all sustainability is local” connect to local material and energy flows, to local customs, needs, and tastes. Recognize interdependence. Use local materials. Connect to natural energy flows. Form follows evolution. Eco efective design demands a coherent set of principles based on natures laws and the opportunity for constant diversity of expression.
  28. 28. Cradle to Cradle “Feedforward” – what will work in the future. Industrial re-evolution. Laundry detergent: gentle on the hands? gentle on the Ganges? Foster diverse aquatic life? What kind of soap does a river want? How can it be designed as a product of consumption that will readily biodegrade on the riverbank, contributing nutrients to the soil? The product evolves and is transformed, an its every aspect is designed to nourish a diverse world.
  29. 29. Research Time: How does your project impact biodiversity? How could you reframe your project to enhance biodiversity? Increase, not decrease. Along the way, who is your totem animal/fish/plant?
  30. 30. Next Class Decide on your product service system. Identify eco impacts: Climate change. Human Health. Biodiversity. Deliver your business case/non profit case/art case if you have not already.

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