THE MAGAZINE FOR TRANSFORMATIVE PEOPLE + DESIGN
TR A NSFORM ATION A L THOUGHT
REGENERATING THE WHOLE TR A NSFORM ATION A L DE SIGN
UNIVERSITY OF WOLLONGONGâ€™S SUSTAINABLE BUILDINGS RESEARCH CENTER TR A NSFORM ATION A L ACTION
Stop, collaborate & listen TR A NSFORM ATION A L PEOPLE
David Suzuki i s sue 017 L I V ING -F U T URE .org
contents M AY 2 013
E ditor in C hief
Jason F. McLennan email@example.com
Michael D. Berrisford firstname.lastname@example.org
senior E ditor
Sarah Costello email@example.com
M anaging E ditor
Joanna Gangi firstname.lastname@example.org
C reative D irector
Erin Gehle email@example.com Joanna Gangi firstname.lastname@example.org
James Connelly, Joanna Gangi, Nicholas Hartrich, Lance Jeffery, David Korten, Jay Kosa, Hilary Mahew, Jason F. McLennan, Bill Reed, Katie Spataro, Bill Walsh
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Trim Tab is a quarterly publication of the International Living Future Institute, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization. Office locations: 721 NW 9th Ave Suite 195, Portland, OR 97209; 1501 East Madison Street, Suite 150, Seattle, WA 98122; 1100-111 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 6A3. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission and is for
T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L D E S I G N B y lance J effery
T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L P E O P L E by J ay kosa
University of Wollongongâ€™s Sustainable Buildings Research Center
Nuts & Bolts
The Bullitt Centerâ€™s Net Zero Energy Strategies: From a Passive House Perspective
By joanna Gangi + Katie Spataro
FWD: Read This
By L ance Jeffery
T R A N S F O R M AT I O N A L thought by jason f. mclennan
Religion, Science, and Spirit: A Sacred Story for Our Time By david korten
By jay kosa
Regenerating the Whole: From Living Buildings to Building Life By Jason F. McLennan + Bill Reed
Removing Arsenic from Building Materials: A Success Story By Bill walsh
A Business Case for Transparency
Cascadia: The Rules of Re-engagement
By james connelly
Stop, Collaborate and Listen By Hilary mayhew
By nicholas hartrich
The printed version of Trim Tab is made possible by a generous grant from the Martin Fabert Foundation.
Client. Environment. Design.
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Planning Strong Sustainable Cities
A beautiful b aut garden grows one city at a time e That’s why King County GreenTools created the Sustainable Cities initiative to help jurisdictions large and small enhance their green building efforts. Six years later, more than 500 city government staff and elected officials have been inspired at Sustainable Cities roundtable events, trainings and the GreenTools Government Confluence. And the number of regional green building programs has grown by
80 percent. Which means more and more cities are working together to meet environmental goals, and that’s good news all the way around. Now how about a little more good news: this regional collaboration has been so successful that Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation recently named King County GreenTools’ Sustainable Cities a Bright Idea.
To learn more, go to greentool.us. Or join GreenTools and Cascadia Green Building Council at the annual Government Confluence conference on May 15.
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Australia’s first candidate for Living Building ChallengeTM certification is located just meters from the Pacific Ocean in the most unlikely of places – the regional town of Wollongong, New South Wales, known for its steel and coal. Currently nearing completion, the University of Wollongong’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, will be a beacon for urban renewal as Wollongong transforms from an industrial city to a services-led economy.
University of Wollongong’s
Sustainable Buildings Research Center
T ransformational D E S I GN
b y L ance J effer y
The new Research Centre will push the boundaries of sustainable design in two ways: through the performance of the building itself and through the path-breaking work of the University of Wollongong researchers who will inhabit it. In partnership with the industry, the Centre will become a test bed for sustainable building and retrofitting technologies and will take a leadership role in addressing the skills gap in technical training.
ever, finding solutions to sustainability challenges was the very reason for the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.
To quote Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The SBRC project team cared “a whole awful lot” and we believed confronting and overcomUniversity of Wollongong Project Manager, Lance Jeffery, ing challenges during planning and construction has been with the project from its earliest days—before it would provide valuable lessons for researchers and a practical and inspiring example for the industry. was going to be a Living Building at all. From the outset, the University of Wollongong wanted this building to set the benchmark for sustainable design in Australia. The University had committed to a 6-star Green Star rating - the highest measure of sustainability in Australia at the time - and while this would be a first for the region, there were already several hundred 6-star buildings in Australia. The founding director of the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC), Professor Paul Cooper, and I wanted to do something more, something that would provide inspiration for others and long-term impact for the region. During the early planning phase, Paul and I attended a conference in Sydney and saw Jason F. McLennan present on the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge. As Jason concluded, Paul and I looked at each other and instantly knew we were both thinking the same thing - this was our program, the one that would push boundaries and would enable us to look back on the project and know we had taken it as far as we could. Rather than replacing 6-star Green Star certification, we believed the Living Building Challenge complemented Green Star, driving us to aim even higher by providing an over-arching philosophy for the building and its surrounds.
New life for Australian buildings
The SBRC is the flagship of the University of Wollongong’s Building Sustainability Research Program, the brainchild of Professor Cooper and his research team. The Program focuses on making Australian buildings more sustainable and energy efficient, with a particular focus on breathing new life into old structures. With new buildings replacing existing stock at a rate of just 1-2 per cent each year in Australia, retrofitting has become a critical priority. The intention is for the SBRC facility to become a powerful advocacy tool, and ultimately, its own largest experiment: proof of the concepts it champions and the research it generates. The project kicked off in 2009 with funding support from the Australian Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund. Three years later, the SBRC is just months away from occupancy. “It’s exciting to see our vision for Australia’s most sustainable educational building become a reality. Not only is the building itself a test bed for sustainable technologies, its lab space enables us to collaborate with industry to develop and test new sustainable technologies and address the skills gap in technical training.” Professor Professor Cooper.
In short, the SBRC is a living lab full of labs. Once We knew the journey to become the first building operational, it will house over 50 staff, students and in Australia to achieve Living Building Challenge cer- industry collaborators in a 2,600m 2 mixed-use facility tification would not be without its challenges, how- comprising academic and support offices, public exhi-
bition and training spaces, a large component testing laboratory and roof top testing space - a 1,200m2 industrial high bay space - for full-scale component testing.
and ambitious, which is something we’ve taken very seriously as the first Australian project to pursue Living Building status.” Professor Paul Cooper.
In addition to urging the construction and planning industries to embrace green skills, the SBRC aims to change community attitudes to retrofitting and renovation. Creating a home at the SBRC for the University of Wollongong’s 2013 entry for Solar Decathlon China is one way we are working towards this goal. The University of Wollongong’s Illawarra Flame house demonstrates retrofitting in a domestic setting and is the first entry from an Australian university ever to win a place in a Solar Decathlon final. Before and following competition judging in China, students and the wider community will be able to visit Illawarra Flame house at the SBRC.
Once we made the decision to be part of the Living Building Challenge, our first task was making sure everyone involved with the SBRC project was on the same page with what we were trying to achieve by adopting Challenge’s vision of sustainability.
Challenging the status quo
Our lead designers, Cox Architects, quickly came on board with the Living Building Challenge and so began the design phase.
“The imperatives of the Living Building Challenge set the bar for us and encouraged us to be inventive, innovative
We had already engaged our team of architects and consultants and they had been briefed to deliver a 6-star Green Star building. Now we were challenging them with a second certification program, meaning the building would be accountable to two of the most rigorous sustainable buildings programs in the world.
FA B R I C FABRIC
FA B R I C
The building fabric has been design as a highly insulated, thermally massive and airtight The building fabric has been design as a net highly insulated, thermally massive and airtight The building has been designed as aBMS highly exporter of energy to the grid. The envelopefabric with carefully controlled solar access. operatedSBRC openingwill are be located to envelope with carefully controlled solar access. BMS operated opening are located to maximise natural ventilation. All material selections have been made to comply with the insulated, thermally massive and maximise airtightnatural envemajority of building will come from ventilation. All material selectionssupply have been made to comply withmono the stringent Material Petal Imperatives of the Living Building Challenge stringent Material Petal Imperatives of the Living Building Challenge
lope with carefully controlled solar access. BMS crystalline PV with supplementary energy generF1 > Fixed sunshade devices to control solar gain F1 > Fixed sunshade control solar gain operated openings are located to maximize natu- devices ated to from testing technology that can be plugged F2 > Cross ventilation via opposing high and low level operable openings F2 > Cross ventilation via opposing high and low level operable openings F3 > Reused railway track structure ral ventilation. All material selections have been in to the buildings micro-grid matched to any load F3 > Reused railway track structure F4 > Reused brickwork applied to internally exposed thermally mass F4 > ReusedPetal brickwork source. applied to internally exposed thermally made toF5comply stringent Materials Task lighting, greenmass IT and low energy > Reusedwith timberthe cladding to external insulating skin F5 > Reused timber cladding to external insulating skin F6 > Site material off-cut screen Imperatives ofgenerate the Living Building Challenge. loads will ensure extremely low energy demand. F6 > Site generate material off-cut screen
C Osolar M Fgain ORT F1 Fixed sunshade devices to control
E1 Main Switchboard, Micro-grid and The indoor environment will be operate in naturally ventilated mode for up to 70% of The indoor environment will be operate storage in naturally ventilated mode for up to 70% of F2 Cross ventilation via opposing high and low occupied hours, assuming a occupant comfort band of 18-27degC. battery Spare plug-in points occupied hours, assuming a occupant comfort band of 18-27degC. Spare plug-in points areoperable provide to mechanical water supply and air handling units to allow the building to plug level openings E2 Power quality testingunits labtoand are provide to mechanical water supply and air handling allow the building to plug into experimental technologies F3 Reused railway track structure into experimental technologies distribution board C1 > Vertical bore andapplied horizontalto pitinternally ground source loops F4 Reused brickwork E3 Monocrystalline C1 > Vertical bore and horizontal pit ground source Photovoltaic loops C2 > Ground source heat pumps and mechanical water manifold C2 > Ground source heat and mechanical water photovoltaic manifold exposed E4pumps Building integrated thermal C3 > Airthermally cooled chiller mass C3 > Air cooled chiller C4 > Ground level AHU F5 Reused timber cladding to external C4 > Ground level AHUE5 Wind Turbine C5 > Level 1 displacement AHU with connection to rooftop PV thermal experiment C5 > Level 1 displacement AHU with connection to rooftop PV thermal experiment C6 > Hydronic floor vents from air insulating skinfloor heating with user controlled E6displacement Future energy generation source to plug-in C6 > Hydronic floor heating with user controlled floor vents from displacement air C7 > Roof top PV thermal experiment C7 > Roof top PV thermal experiment F6 SiteC8generate material off-cut screen to building > Solar wall testing site
E6 C9 E3
C8 > Solar wall testing site C9 > Future mechanical water sources for building plug-in C9 > Future mechanical water sources for building plug-in
COMFORT I N F O R M AT I O N
WATER I N F O R M AT I O N
The indoor environment operate in naturally SBRC will be net Feedback is a critical partwill of the SBRC research with all building analysis collected on aexporter of water. All non-harFeedback is a critical part of the SBRC research with all building analysis collected on a “converged backbone”. The BMS can be programmed as part of the research building ventilated mode for up to 70% of occupied hours, vested stormwater is treated site-wide “converged backbone”. The BMS can be programmed as part ofin thethe research building deperformance an examine occupant response different building operation setups. In addition performance an examine occupant response different building operation setups. In addition to information gather comfort informationband dissemination and education tention is at the core of the and centreswales before leaving the site. assuming an occupant of 18-27degC. basins to information gather information dissemination and education is at the core of the centre function function Spare plug-in points are provided to mechanical All wastewater is treated through the blackwater I1 > BMSand and converged backbone water supply air handling unitsI1 >toBMS allow the system and used for irrigation. and converged backbone I2 > Industry display area I2 > Industry display area buildingI3to plug into experimental technologies. > Exhibition area and information wall communication building performance
I3 > Exhibition area and information wall communication building performance
W1 Rainwater collection tank E N Ebore R Gand Y horizontal pit Eground C1 Vertical W2 Rainwater treatment NERGY source Detention SBRCloops will be net exporter of energy to the grid. The majority ofW3 building supply willbasins come SBRC will be net exporter of energy to the grid. The majority of building supply will come from mono crystalline with supplementary energy generated from testing roof technology C2 Ground source heatPV pumps andfrom mechanical W4 Green water mono crystalline PV with supplementary energyquality generatedtesting from testing technology that can be plugged in to the buildings micro grid matched to any load source. Task that can be plugged in to the Black buildingswater micro grid matched to any load source. Task water manifold W5 treatment lighting, green IT and low energy loads will ensure extremely low energy demand lighting, green IT and low energy loads will ensure extremely low energy demand C3 Air E1 cooled chiller > Main Switchboard, Micro-grid and battery storage E1 > Main Switchboard, Micro-grid and battery storage E2 > Power board LAND AND ECOLOGY C4 Ground levelquality AHUtesting lab and distribution E2 > Power quality testing lab and distribution board E3 > Monocrystalline Photovoltaic E3 > Monocrystalline Photovoltaic C5 Level displacement AHU withthermal connection E4 >1Building integrated photovoltaic roofthermal and wall testing have been integratE4 > Building integratedGreen photovoltaic E5 > WindPV Turbine to rooftop thermal experiment E5 > Wind Turbine E6 > Future energy generation source to plug-in to building ed. The wider landscape requires minimal ir> Future energy generation source to plug-in to building C6 Hydronic floor heating with userE6controlled rigation and contain a permaculture and native floor Wvents A T Efrom R displacement air urban garden. W A T E R C7 Roof top PV thermal experiment SBRC will be net exporter of water. All non-harvested stormwater is treated in the site wide SBRC will be net exporter of water. All non-harvested stormwater is treated in the site wide E5 C8 Solar wall basins testing detention andsite swales before leaving the site. All waste water is treated through the detention basins and swales before leaving L1 Green Wall the site. All waste water is treated through the blackwater system and used for irrigation. C9 Future mechanical water sources for system and used for irrigation. blackwater L2 Green Roof with testing beds W1 > Rainwater building plug-incollection tank W1 > Rainwater collection L3tank Native agriculture garden W2 > Rainwater treatment W2 > Rainwater treatment W3 > Detention basins W3 > Detention basins L4 Permaculture Garden W5 W4 > Green roof water quality testing
W5 > Black water treatment
W4 > Green roof water quality testing W5 > Black water treatment
I2 W1 W2
Green roof an wall testing have been integrated. the wider landscape requires minimal I1 BMS and converged backbone Green roof an wall testing have been integrated. the wider landscape requires minimal irrigation and contain a permaculture and native urban garden irrigation and contain a permaculture and native urban garden I2 Industry display area M1 > Bike Parking M1 > Bike Parking I3 Exhibition area andbike information wall M2 > Future electric and car charge pointcommuwith potential car share scheme M2 > Future electric bike and car charge point with potential car share scheme nication building performance
M O B I L I T Y A N D CM ON ON B EI LCI TT IYV IATNY D C O N N E C T I V I T Y
Feedback is a critical part of the SBRC research MOBILITY AND CONNECTIVITY with allLbuilding A N D analysis A N D collected E C O Lon OL aG YN D A N D E C O L O G Y A“converged M1 Bike Parking backbone.” BMS can be programmed GreenThe roof an wall testing have been integrated.as thepart wider landscape requires minimal M2have Future electric the bike and car charge point with Green roof an wall testing been integrated. wider landscape requires minimal irrigation and contain a performance permaculture andand native urban garden of the research building irrigationexamine and contain a permaculture and native urban garden potential car share scheme occupant L1 >response Green Wall to different building operation L1 > Green Wall Green Roofto with testing beds gather informasetups.L2In> addition information L2 > Green Roof with testing beds L3 > Native agriculture garden Native agriculture garden tion dissemination and education is L3 at>the core of L4 > Permaculture Garden L4 > Permaculture Garden the centre function.
As we were breaking new ground with the Building Research Sustainability Program as well as with the Centre itself, our next challenge was determining exactly what was needed in the new facility. Understanding that we would need to specify and then refine as research programs were established drove our desire to future-proof the building by providing as much flexibility within its spaces as possible. Our most important lesson from the design phase was that the sooner the entire team is on board and chasing the same goal, the better. The imperatives of delivering a highly sustainable building and meeting performance requirements of the Living Building Challenge meant that our design team needed to bring in services and ESD consultants at an earlier stage than usual.
Lost in translation
From a practical perspective, there were definitely challenges in converting the Living Building Challenge to an Australian context. Some of these, while difficult, were mundane, like trying to equate MasterFormat materials specifications to Australian Standard (AS)/ISO standards. Others required deeper consideration, like geographic restrictions on sourcing. We quickly found that the Zones mandated don’t work in the Australian context given it is a vast island nation with major cities spread out around its massive coastline and has a relatively small population of 23 million. The radii effectively restricted us to products and materials from Australia and we simply don’t manufacture enough.
A pertinent example was the iterative design process required to achieve our net zero energy goal. While We presented an exception for Australia to better align this did result in additional design costs, the end result with our product markets. The exception was accepted was worth it; we cut our generator capacity by half and by the International Living Future Institute. delivered benefits in the life-cycle costing of the generator and refined plant and equipment selections. In a certain sense this was disappointing, however, it was also a stark reminder of how far we’ll have to go We also invested time upfront with our contractor, to create a truly sustainable environment in Australia, before final material and equipment selections were and will serve as a national challenge to policymakers made, to ensure they understood the end goal and the and the manufacturing industry. importance of Living Building Challenge Petals and Imperatives to what we were trying to achieve. Living Other challenges of sourcing materials in Australia Building Challenge projects have a layer of complexwill seem familiar to anyone who has worked in susity that makes them more difficult to deliver than your tainable development, especially on a Living Building. average project so you need to know your contractor is Most suppliers struggled to tell us where their product on the same team from the very beginning. came from, or exactly what was in it. The idea of a Red List above and beyond AS/ISO standards was entirely We learned that the traditional design-bid-build modnew to them. el isn’t ideally suited to a Living Building project, so agreeing to some kind of alliance contract with your A larger challenge with material sourcing and Red List construction partner will deliver a better outcome. We verification was with services, where tracing all the were fortunate to have a situation which partially ofcomponents in complex equipment was often frustratfered this openness and despite the Living Building ingly difficult. Challenge being a completely new concept to Australian trades and suppliers, construction has been an abRe-use of building material for the SBRC was also ladsolute team effort. en with inherent difficulties as:
• It was not always possible to ensure the exclusion of Red List items in reused products • Availability in the required quantity of materials could not be guarantee at a future date • A significant cost premium still exists for product purchase and installation • The project documentation occurred well in advance of product procurement • Data necessary for building code compliance was not available • The trades expressed initial reluctance to construct with reused material. Bricks reused for the SBRC have become a favourite feature of the building for many on the project team and University of Wollongong Professor of Human Geography and SBRC academic partner, Chris Gibson, recently noted that the urban heritage on show is richer than anyone anticipated. He said the bricks represent four generations of Australian building - from Edwardian to art deco, 1950s and 1970s bricks. “We started with a directive to re-use locally available material, inherently addressing the Embodied Carbon Footprint and Appropriate Sourcing Imperatives. The default approach to reused materials can be to restore them to look new. In the case of the reused brickwork in the SBRC, the preliminary design called for plaster and paint,
concealing any evidence of their former life and imperfect nature. However, during construction, the patterns made by generations of pre-loved bricks expressed an imperfect beauty. The tangible history of the brick complemented by reused timber and steel creates a subconscious experience.” Michael Bradburn, project architect, Cox Architects A sunburnt country
In her poem “My Country”, Australian poet Dorothea Mackellar declares her love for our “sunburnt country” and the SBRC site indeed has remarkable solar access, with 200 sunny days a year and 1082mm average annual rainfall. An annual mean temperature range of 14 – 21 °C (57 - 70 °F) and prevailing coastal winds made it relatively easy to design efficient, naturally-ventilated spaces. Our local climate has few extremes, and this facilitated a driven agenda of natural ventilation first — and as often as possible — with conditioning mode only used to manage the peaks. Water use is a major resilience consideration for Australia. Policy and public action on water conservation has risen sharply in the last decade, largely on the back of more than a decade of drought across the nation that only officially ended in 2012. Water security also has people concerned and several states have turned in desperation to desalination plants.
In this context, demonstrating innovative water effi- also generate up to a maximum 24,000 kW/h from its ciency is important, since reducing usage within exist- rooftop PV and solar PV thermal arrays. ing supply and consumption frameworks will only take us so far. A ‘converged backbone’ of control and monitoring systems will integrate power and water management as well as central processing of the building’s sensor suite. The SBRC has been designed The 2000-point sensor suite will be tied to an integratto achieve net zero water by ed management computer sampling 1,000 simultaneharvesting and treating all ous data for its lifetime.
water used in the building, essentially becoming selfsufficient. Using an ecological water flow system, we will treat and dispose of all our own wastewater through a natural reed bed black water treatment system with subsurface irrigation. This isn’t done on such a large scale very often, especially in our region, and the approval process has been a challenging one.
One of the key advantages that has had bearing on our project is the site. The SBRC is being built on a 8,000m² site at the University of Wollongong’s awardwinning Innovation Campus, a 33-hectare business and research precinct just one hour south of Sydney. The site’s size and coastal environs informed the design process and provided the flexibility the design team needed to provide for the ecological elements of the Living Building Challenge that may be constrained on a traditional business park/CBD site. These include the establishment of the reed bed for water treatment as well as permaculture and Australian native food gardens across the site. From an energy perspective, the SBRC will be gridtied energy positive, generating up to 300,000 kW/h for a projected mean usage of 148,000 kW/h. It will
The SBRC is designed to be a living laboratory so most attributes of the building, such as air quality and temperature, will be monitored and reported back to the users at a level well beyond the requirements of the Living Building Challenge. The short race to the top
While we have had our challenges, the design and construction of SBRC has happened very quickly. Serious design work only began in September 2010, so it was a relatively short design period for a building of this size and complexity. Despite the pressures this has placed on team members, no one resents the pace of the project. Everyone involved recognizes that a project of this sort is long overdue in Australia and that it’s time to get clever, and quickly.
Project Team SBRC Director Prof. Paul Cooper, University of Wollongong
Architect Michael Bradburn, Cox Architects
Project Manager Lance Jeffery, University of Wollongong
ESD Consultant Hannah Morton, Cundall
Building Statistics Green Star Rating: 6 Star - Education Design
Climate: Coastal Temperate, BCA Zone 5
Living Building Challenge: Pursuing Living Building Certification
Prevailing Winds: Summer NE, Winter S-SW
Geographic Context: Coast 400m to the east, Escarpment to the west, In a flood plane
Constructing Cost: $16mil Completion: April 2013 Location: North Wollongong, NSW
Urban Context: Lowrise university campus with exceptional solar access
Green like you’ve never seen. The new Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has emerged as one of Earth’s greenest buildings—a remarkable facility equipped to generate its own energy, and treat and reuse all water captured on site. Journey through the CSL and explore for yourself the possibilities for a better world at phipps.conservatory.org.
This need for optimistic, informed risk-taking is part of why the Living Building Challenge appealed so much to the University of Wollongong, and why we hope the SBRC will inspire many Australians to embrace real, sustainable living. LANCE JEFFERY A registered engineer with 20 years’ experience in civil engineering, project management and design consultancy. After completing work as Project Manager for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics venues in 2009, he moved to UOW and joined the SBRC team. He has a focus on and passion for sustainability.
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Dr. David Suzuki is a Canadian institution. It’s not hyperbole to suggest he’s been fighting to reconcile the human relationship with the natural world since before you were born. In his work as a scientist, he established Canada’s leading genetics lab and authored the discipline’s most widely used textbook. As a television personality, he hosts The Nature of Things, the world’s most popular and longest running nature series. As an environmental activist, he’s prodded and challenged just about everyone, including the scientific community, fossil fuel companies, global food corporations and world leaders.
T ransformational P E O P L E
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In advance of his opening night keynote address at Living Future 2013 in May, Dr. Suzuki was kind enough to chat with us and discuss his remarkable life’s journey. He also shared his insights on the false choice between economy and ecology, the dangers of scientific reductionism, the unique human ability to envision a better future, and his advice for the green building community.
machine. If you can examine enough of the parts, the springs, the cogs and the wheels, then eventually you’ll be able to put them all back together again and reconstruct the whole. A reductionist approach basically runs modern science today. I began my career as a professor in 1962 at the University of Alberta. I was determined to become a hotshot in genetics when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. As a scientist, I read this book about the unexpected effects of pesticides, and realized, my God, I’d always assumed that what we do in the lab is create a mini representation of the world that provides us of with an understanding of the real world. Carson said a lab experiment is a grotesque caricature of the real world. In the real world it rains, it snows and the wind blows. You cannot extrapolate from studies in the lab to the real world. That book also showed me that everything in the world is connected. Spraying chemicals on fields to kill insects affects fish, birds and human beings. Rachael Carson’s book absolutely blew away my geneticist’s ideas about the applicability of what I was doing in the lab to the bigger picture. I spent my early years warning about that danger of extrapolating from Trim Tab: As a geneticist, how does your understanding labs to the real world — about genetic engineering and of life at the micro scale inform your perspective on the hucloning, and those warnings are every bit as important man struggle for harmony with nature on a social level? and real today. I’m not involved in genetics anymore or even necessarily in those issues, but when I see what Dr. David Suzuki: I haven’t really tried to work like companies like Monsanto are doing and the way the E.O. Wilson, who worked on ants and extrapolated up genetics community is rallying around genetic engito human society. He’s a big thinker. I’m very differneering, they clearly didn’t get the same message that I ent. As an undergraduate at Amherst College, I fell in got from Silent Spring. love with the elegance and the mathematical precision of genetics. It was so different from most other aspects It’s very dangerous to extrapolate from growth chamof biology. bers or experiments in fields out into the biosphere. The scientific community thinks genetic engineering Genetics is one of the best examples of reductionism. is the greatest thing since sliced bread because they can In genetics, we focus on a part of a nature. Reductionmake money. Profits are driving Monsanto and all of ism is based on the idea that the world is like a giant
the attempts to suppress scientists who are very worried about this . I spent about 15 years talking about the dangers of genetic engineering, but gradually I found myself drifting into the world of the environment, thanks to Rachael Carson. It became my overwhelming concern and it’s taken over my life. Trim Tab: Some propose that we humans are simply “hard-coded” to serve our own self-interests, meaning we lack the ability to value the long-term sustainability of our environment and fellow species ahead of what we perceive as immediate needs. How do you respond to that line of reasoning? Dr. David Suzuki: I just don’t buy that. Some people think that all of our behaviors are basically genetically coded. This is a main idea behind sociobiology. Although I respect E. O. Wilson and his work, I don’t buy into biological determinism. The reality is that when it comes to the environment, what we learn and what we are brought up to believe are very powerful influences. Think back to the origins of our species, all of the trails lead back to Africa, our birthplace. Try to imagine the world 150,000 years ago. There are still sabertoothed tigers and wooly mammoths on the planet. I imagine that the Serengeti was filled with animals in variety and abundance beyond anything we’d see today. Humans — these little two-legged, furless apes, were not very impressive then. We weren’t big, and there weren’t many of us. We weren’t strong or fast or endowed with special senses of vision, hearing or smell. What the hell did we have going for us? The answer is our special advantage: a two-kilogram organ buried deep in our skulls. Our brain endowed us with a massive memory.
We were curious and inventive, and we did something no other animal has done. We invented an idea called the future. The future doesn’t exist. What exists is now and what we remember from the past. But, because we invented the idea of a future, we deliberately began to make choices in the present based on our knowledge and experience that would avoid danger and exploit opportunity. I believe foresight was the great advantage that humans had. Our ability to look into the future and act accordingly gave us the leg up and got us to our position of dominance today. I totally disagree with the people who’d suggest that it’s in our nature to take short-term, selfish steps and that we don’t think ahead to work toward a sustainable future. Foresight was the key to our survival, so the question is, why aren’t we acting today as we always have in the past? Scientists are using super computers and acting in the best traditional of human beings — looking ahead. They’re saying, “look, climate change is happening and we better do something to avoid catastrophic climate runaway.”
We’re turning our backs on the very thing that got us to where we are: foresight. I believe it’s because we no longer see ourselves in the natural world and the economy has become our highest priority. The economy is totally out of sync with the natural world. Trim Tab: Not many people have made the jump from academia to television and broadcasting as successfully as you have. How and why did you first get into television?
Dr. David Suzuki: It was a very difficult transition. I was a scientist. I wanted to make my mark in science and I’m still very proud of my career in genetics. The book that I first wrote, An Introduction to Genetic Analysis, is still the most widely used genetics text in the United States and in the world. And I’m proud of that contribution and the research that I did.
because my lab at one time was the biggest genetics lab in Canada. We were doing really exciting things. There were many smart scientists doing exciting things, but there weren’t many scientists speaking out in the public. I felt it was more important as a scientist to popularize science so people understood potential consequences of our actions than it was to stay in the lab as a practicing scientist. Still, my whole identity was However, I was also concerned about the misuse of sci- based on publication. I loved publishing scientific paence, especially genetics, having myself been subjected pers and being respected by my peer group. Giving that to the consequences of the mis-claims of science. My up was very hard. grandparents came to Canada from Japan and my parents and I were born and raised in Canada. Yet, Trim Tab: And yet, you ended up with The Nature of when we went to war with Japan, we were deprived of Things which has aired so many seasons and has been all rights and citizenship, thrown into what were basi- shown in more than 40 countries. What do you think has cally prisons for three years, then kicked out of British been the key to the show’s success and longevity? Columbia at the end of the war. They didn’t want any more of us around. Dr. David Suzuki: The show itself began as a series in 1960. Can you imagine? We are the longest running I was deeply concerned about issues of civil rights. series in Canadian history. And people at CBC TeleviWhen I became a professor, I was amazed to discover sion still can’t figure out why the hell people are still that part of the reason we were incarcerated was that watching such an old show. The truth is; people love to during the 1920s and ‘30s, geneticists studying fruit know about the world around them. That’s the secret flies, petunias and guinea pigs came to extrapolate to our great success. Our strength is natural history. from their studies to human behavior. Scientists actu- And, of course, we’re very concerned about issues that ally said that things like laziness and drunkenness and face us. If we had a lousy audience we would have been criminality were genetically determined. The whole off the air a long time ago. eugenics movement and the grand claims of geneticists ultimately led, to Japanese-Americans being incarcer- Trim Tab: And you have an endless amount of ated in the United States. John Dewitt, the General subject matter... in charge of the Japanese-American evacuation, essentially said, “We’ve got 120,000 enemy aliens on this Dr. David Suzuki: Exactly. The most powerful force coast. Even though they were born in this country, shaping society today is not politics or economics; it’s they are Japanese, and they are not to be trusted.” That science. I was born in 1936. When I was a boy my mom sentiment was the basis for the incarceration of Japa- and dad never worried that I was exposed to too much nese-Canadians. We were considered untrustworthy screentine because there were no computers or televibecause of heredity. sions anywhere in the world. I couldn’t go to the movies or public swimming pools in the summer because This really stimulated me to begin to branch out and my parents were afraid I’d catch polio. Kids today warn about the revolutionary things that were happen- have no idea what polio is. The world has been very ing in genetics. It was a difficult decision, especially heavily changed through the impact of science and
t echnology. That’s why programs on science and technology are very important if people are to know what’s coming down the pipe in their lives.
Trim Tab: Speaking of indigenous cultures, I was curious to get your thoughts on emergence of the Idle No More movement in Canada.
It’s amazing how different the American audience is from the Canadian audience. I’d like to think that Canadians, because we’ve had The Nature of Things in prime time for some 53 years, our audience is much more informed about these issues than Americans.
The movement is very exciting. It grew up spontaneously and there was a lot of involvement. However, recently it’s kind of sputtered, in part because a huge amount of opposition started against it.
Trim Tab: What was your favorite The Nature of Things episode or subject matter? Dr. David Suzuki: Because of the show, I’ve been able to travel to many different places, and that has been one of the great joys of my experience. We did a twohour special on the Amazon and that changed my life. Through The Nature of Things I began to experience aboriginal people around the world. One of the most important was the Haida, of the Queen Charlotte Islands off the west coast of British Columbia. They were fighting against logging. Through that experience of doing a program I came to understand that indigenous people have a profoundly different relationship with nature from us.
We tend to look at nature as a resource or an opportunity. They feel that nature is a part of who they are. Their very being is created by the natural world. And that, for me, was the most important thing I’ve learned.
There’s a book called The Inconvenient Indian by Tom King. He’s written a history of Canada through the eyes of a First Nations person. It details a history of conquests, broken treaties and broken promises. Canadian native people are asking Canadians to honor their word, to live up to signed treaties. Canada has fundamentally failed to live up to what it claims as a democratic institution. I think that sense of frustration with Canada not living up to its promises is what has fueled the Idle No More movement. As an environmentalist, I am so grateful to the Idle No More people, because in large part it was fueled by a reaction to the Prime Minister passing legislation through omnibus bills (or riders). New rules are slipped into a big bill, without any examination or discussion in Parliament, and they’re basically undermining environmental legislation that has been built up over the last 50 years. The goal of these bills is to allow the government to expedite the pipelines from the Alberta Tar Sands to either the west coast or south to the United States. The Idle No More people are saying, this is a threat to Mother Nature, to our territory, and to our country. They want to raise the issue with the public and I’m grateful to the Idle No More people for doing what we environmentalists should have been doing. Trim Tab: The International Living Future Institute has its roots in the Cascadia Bioregion, and the focus has always been more about the region than political borders.
We represent many Canadians and Canadian communi- Dr. David Suzuki: You guys are the experts on that. I ties. You mentioned that Canadians have a tremendous am not an architect. I am not a designer. But, I can tell understanding of science and they identify very strongly you that a lot of kids ask me “Dr. Suzuki, I want to save with their boreal forests, their lakes, mountains, prairie the planet. What can I do to become an environmenand marine habitats. Why doesn’t this collective Canadi- talist?” I say to them, “ First of all, don’t worry about an mindset resonate more effectively at the political level? the planet. The planet’s doing fine. With or without humans, the planet is going to do fine.” But environDr. David Suzuki: The environment resonates very, mentalism is not a discipline or a specialty. Environvery strongly with Canadians. If you poll them over mentalism is a way of seeing our place on the planet. and over again they will rate nature as one of the most important parts of being Canadian. It’s a part of our I tell young kids to follow their hearts, follow what they identity and we’re willing to pay more taxes to protect love to do and do that activity through the lenses of ennature. That’s been shown for decades now. Unfor- vironmentalism because we need plumbers and garage tunately, we’ve come to think that the economy is the mechanics and doctors and teachers. We need everysource of everything that’s good and that matters. body to be environmentalists, to see the world that Whenever the economy is shaky, it trumps everything way. The same applies to architects. else. That’s happened over and over again. In 1988, the environment was at the top at the agenda. I’m sure Trim Tab: What does it mean to see the world as an enviyou’ll find this hard to believe, a guy ran for President ronmentalist? of the United States and said, “If you vote for me I will be an environmental president.” Do you know who Dr. David Suzuki: First, we have to recognize that that was? we’re animals. Trim Tab: George H.W. Bush?
Our highest needs as animals are clean air, clean water, clean soil, clean energy from the sun— they are all deDr. David Suzuki: It was. There wasn’t a green bone livered to us by photosynthesis and biodiversity. The in his body. But he said it because American people way buildings are designed should should maximize had put it there. That was the height of the environ- our exposure to those things. Bring nature in to where ment issues at the political level. Very shortly after that we live. It’s what gives us clean air. Show us the sunelection, before the earth summit in Rio in ‘92, we went light. Let our buildings celebrate our relationship with into a small recession and right away the environment nature and protect the clean air, the clean water and disappeared. The environment was building up again the clean soil. You guys are the experts. You find out in the first part of this century as a major issue until how to do it. That’s got to be one of the highest priori2008 when you had the most recent recession and the ties in however you design and build. banking meltdown. Again, the environment just totally disappeared as an important issue in politics. Trim Tab: What is the single most vital change needed in the way we design and build human habitat?
Jay Kosa is the Communications Manager at the International Living Future Institute.
We need to talk. Changing any relationship starts with an honest reckoning of the true state of affairs. We believe that simple, direct, no-nonsense talk about the palette of unsustainable materials currently available to manufacturers will bring us together to create meaningful change. The new tools of transparency – Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations, and now the Declare Label – will help us do exactly that. We want to share not just our progress, but also the challenges that shape our materials ecosystem. Write us or see us at Living Future. ™
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T ransformational thought
b y jason F. M clennan and bill reed
regenerating the whole From Living Buildings to Building Life
The premise behind a “Living Future” is that any human activity is an opportunity to engage in a positive and healthy interrelationship with all of life.
What is the role of the building professions in leveraging the work of shelter into the world of activating and engaging a conscious and intentional relationship with life? What is required of us and our professional practices in order to become engaged in working with the process of building life as the foundational activity that then informs the nature of the objects such as infrastructure, structured landscapes, and buildings? The general answer: A range of premises, perspectives, and skills are part of the new palette of practice called Living System Design. We outline the major elements below:
Living System Design Truths Principle One:
Only Life Regenerates
Life — the whole of life; that is, every entity and sys- able design in the building profession. It is essential, yet tem in a reciprocally beneficial and evolutionary rela- insufficient, to minimize or neutralize human impact. tionship — is the top and bottom line of sustainability. From a building professional’s point of view, it may seem that delving deeply into interacting with life is The governing question about sustaining life for hu- an over-reach for the job description. We have worked mans revolves around the nature of Homo sapiens’ role with more than a few green architects who have made in evolution. Are we meant to be passive observers? this observation: Is our role to conserve what is left of nature? Is it our responsibility to reduce the impact of the damage we I really appreciate the work you are doing in bringing back cause? Or, are we to be positive and active participants the health of this ecosystem - land, soil, habitat, community, and the like - but what does that have to do with the for a thriving future? design of my building? The premise behind a “Living Future” is that any human activity is an opportunity to engage in a positive The general answer: From the perspective of basic building design, not much. and healthy interrelationship with all of life. The work of life is about focusing on active and conscious participation in the evolutionary process. Specifically, this focus means developing life-supporting relationships and actions grounded in each unique ecological system — the places in which we live or act. This work is the missing half of the practice of sustain-
It is clear to an increasing number of green building practitioners that making things more efficient and “less bad” is only one aspect of what is required to be in a sustainable relationship with the living systems on the planet. So, then what is the necessary role and purpose for humans in the profound process of evolution?
It has become very fashionable to talk about regeneration as if our static designs – our buildings and infrastructure – are regenerative. The words, regeneration and regenerative, are being co-opted, which is particularly painful to see since they are such beautiful words.
Buildings should exist only if they allow life to do what it does. They either diminish the conditions for life or create a positive framework for engagement and relationships upon which life builds and regenerates. Building design creates the opportunity to engage people and all of life in an ongoing and evolutionary relationship. There are two complementary dimensions to the practice of Regeneration: • Regenerative Design at its entry level is the process for reversing damage and creating the basis for selfrenewing resource systems. This dimension is the realm of restoration design practices: restoring the conditions for life to self-organize in ecological subsystems. Narrowing the purpose of regenerative design only to this level -- the threshold work of sustainability -- largely ignores the wider and integrated issues relating to the economy, agriculture, education, culture, and so on. Additionally, this narrow scope is often defined within the boundaries of different professional disciplines rather than viewing these disciplines as parts of an integrated system that includes community engagement and stewardship.
• Regenerative Development can be characterized as having two interdependent aspects: 1) a discovery process that determines the right phenomena to work on, or to give form to, in order to inform and provide direction for design solutions that can realize the greatest potential for evolving a system and 2) a continuous developmental process occurring throughout Discovery, Design, and Post-Construction that builds the capability, the field of commitment, and the caring that encourages stakeholders to step forward as co-designers and ongoing stewards of those solutions.1
Life is About Interrelationships Life is viable only through the exchange of energies. Life increases in resilience and evolutionary potential when water, soil, sunlight, energy, living entities, information, and so on have greater opportunities for exchange.
• Diversity of relationship is a minimal requirement for life. For example, a zoo has a diversity of species but does not have a diversity of relationRegenerative Development is an instrument for achievships. Therefore, the potential for a healthy ecosysing true sustainability through re-establishing living tem is limited. systems (socio-ecological-conscious systems) with the • To be in a positive relationship with nature means capacity to continuously evolve. It develops the capacwe will best serve it when we are developing the ity in people to become more internally and externally skills to become in positive relationships with other capable. It is not an educational process distinct from humans and, of course, to have a positive relationthe work people are doing; instead, development and ship within ourselves. Indifference or violence to work are continuously intertwined with one another.2 nature is unlikely to be successfully addressed until we overcome these same things in our own nature. 1 Pamela Mang and Bill Reed, Designing from Place, Building Resource & Information, 40:1, 23-38 2 Pamela Mang, Regenesis
Every Place is Unique and Alive and Whole “Here” . . . is a whole living entity. Systems nested within inter-related systems; just like the human body.
Life is viable only through the exchange of energies. 34
If we use a human being as an example of a whole system, we might assume that our boundary is our skin. That might be a very dangerous assumption for the continuity of our life. The skin, like the boundaries we assume for all living entities, is a boundary that is not a boundary. If our skin were a solid boundary, we would be dead in an instant. If we took way the larger context of air, water, and food we would die. If we took away the healthy soil and farmers who produce the food; we would die. So, where is the boundary? How do we define it?
Bucky Fuller and a group of students were standing outside and talking about systems. He said: the first thing you have to understand to be able to work with systems is that you have to bound them, and he drew a circle in the dirt with his shoe. The second thing you have to know is that boundary is your creation…it doesn’t really exist, and he erased the circle with his shoe. 3 “There is a distinction between environmental and ecological thinking. By definition, an environment is the context within which something exists. Environment contains an “us” and a “not us” in its meaning. Ecology, by contrast, sees all aspects as part of a working dynamic whole – it’s all us.” 4
3 As recounted by one of Bucky’s students 4 Carol Sanford, The Responsible Business, 2011
• The idea of working with a “whole” system is a bit alien to our culture. A whole is not limited by any boundary. Yet it has a domain or limit within which we might practically act depending on the context. “How big is here?” is a question almost anyone can answer about their community or the place they live. Wholes are more easily qualified by the nature of essential relationships. A watershed is one essential relationship of exchange with which we may have some influence. It may be just a half-mile away or it may be down or up river hundreds of miles. “Here” may be defined by the community and include many watersheds. It comes down to what-affectsus and what-we-affect that must first be defined in order to work with living systems. This systemic relationship is known as a holarchy or nested systems. In general, no living thing is more or less important within this system. 5 • It is necessary to look at everything as systems or webs of exchange wherein each element is inextricably tied to all of the others. An element is not separable. It also cannot be included randomly. It matters: Who does it shelter? Who does it feed? What does it store? What exchanges does it enable? At what times? And in what ways? It must relate in many directions, not just to me. 6 • A thought experiment may be useful to illustrate the difference between designing an object and developing a whole system of interrelationships.
Working with Whole Systems Requires a Pattern Understanding Because a whole is greater than the sum of its parts, it is, by definition, impossible to understand a whole using a reductionist perspective. This is where working with pattern understanding comes into play. For practitioners familiar with working with patterns, it is actually easier to assess living patterns and reach definitive conclusions from these distinct patterns than it is to try to make sense of thousands of pieces somehow associated - or not - with each other.7 We are quite good at this approach when it comes to assessing a whole person: we intuitively know that we will not be able to understand the distinct nature (or essence) of a friend if there are only a few organs and bones available for inspection. Even if all of his or her component parts were available, including all the genetic sequencing, it is obvious that the nature of the person could then be described only mechanically, if at all. Yet, with observation, we are able to describe the uniqueness of individuals. We do this by looking at the patterns of how individuals, each as a whole entity, are in relation to other entities – friends, colleagues, family members, their community, a dog in the street, and so on. It is how they are in relationship, what value they add to the relationship, the role they serve and provide that begin to triangulate “who” they are, not just “what” they are. The same holds true for the places we inhabit.8
What is the difference in effect and the nature of design if we simply design a bedroom addition or design a bedroom addition for the purpose of developing the Western and Eastern medicine practices may be a usebest in our children? In the latter example, where is the ful comparison. effective boundary of the systems our children might be engaged in and influenced by? With each changing • Green building, as it is currently practiced in a methought focus the nature of the design quickly begins chanical manner using LEED or other checklists, to change. can be compared to working on the heart, or intestinal system as a specialist might – curing the particular issue but not addressing the overall systemic 5 Also reference, Jason McLennan’s article ‘Boundaries of Disconnect’ Trim Tab, Winter 2013 6 Joel Glanzberg, Permaculture Mind, 2013
nature of the cause, whether it is diet, environment, stress, or genetics. • Integrative Design, an organized process to find synergies among building and living systems, has an analogy in Integrative Medicine – many specialists getting together to diagnose and address relatively complex cause and effects. • Regenerative Design might be compared to naturopathic and Eastern Medicine - cranial sacral therapy, acupuncture, and so on – as these practices start with the energetic patterns of the whole body.
A living system -- or place, or watershed, or community -- is a “being” or “organism”. It has a unique essential nature and therefore has a unique way of expressing itself on an evolutionary trajectory. Thus, it is necessary to be in relationship with it; if we are not, then abuse, neglect, or misunderstood interventions are the result. This nature of relationship is the big leap for the design and building industry. Various aboriginal peoples had this understanding; everything in space and time, including the consciousness of “who” they were was inextricably part of the whole.11
In practice, all of these practice processes should come into play as they all have value. Yet, it is always better to start with the nature of the larger environmental influences and interrelationships before solving for the symptom and cutting the body open.9 Often, practitioners mistake the “flows” of a system as the indicator of relationship. Flows of water, energy, habitat, and sun are certainly important; yet, continuing to use human relationship as an analogue, we would not describe our relationship to a friend only in terms of flows. The aspects of relationship are energetic, often invisible, and full of extremely complex and nuanced exchanges.10 There is an essence- to- essence relationship occurring, not an element-to-element relationship. 9 Ibid 10 Ibid
7 Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language and the Nature of Order series are great resources. 8 Bill Reed, Regenerative Development and Design, from Charles J. Kibert, Sustainable Construction, 3rd Ed, p. 109
The Navajo term for mountain . . . refers to a whole set of relationships and the ongoing movement inherent in those relationships. These relationships include the life cycles of the animals and plants, which grow at different elevations, the weather patterns affected by the mountain, as well as the human’s experience of being with the mountain. All of these processes form the dynamic interrelationship and kinetic processes that regenerate and transform life”. Since this motion of the mountain is not separate from the entire cosmic process, one can only really come to know the mountain by learning about “the kinetic dynamics of the whole.12
underlying principles that make the approach wholly regenerative are not as effective and, at worst, produce unintended counterproductive consequences.
Principle five: We are Nature
This standpoint speaks to a positive role for humans in nature. As long as we see ourselves above nature, or worse than nature, we will not be in “right” relationship. A mutually beneficial, or reciprocal, relationship is required of a healthy living system. A forest tree or wetland is not more or less important than a human. We are integral to each other. The role of humanity might best be described as a “gardener”, a relationship that is beneficial for the plants, the soil, the watershed, as well as the person.14
All this cautiousness is not to say that working in pieces and parts with quantitative measurement is wrong. It is just not the most productive place to start and never the place to finish. As Wendell Berry observes, A good solution is good because it is in harmony with those larger patterns . . . A good solution solves more than one problem and it does not make new problems. . . . health as opposed to almost any cure, coherence of pattern as opposed to almost any solution produced piecemeal or in isolation13. Adopt- The design process provides a unique opportunity to ing one or two green or regenerative technologies into explicitly address the potential for humans and nature a green building practice without understanding the to be in mutually beneficial relationship. 12 Mary Jane Zimmerman, Being Nature’s Mind: Indigenous Ways of Knowing and Planetary Consciousness 13 Wendell Berry, The Gift of Good Land, Chapter 9, Solving for Pattern
14 Good texts to illustrate this point are 1491, by Charles C. Mann and Tending the Wild, by M. Kat Anderson.
It seems an understatement to say that many issues and new perspectives need to be internalized in the development of our capability to live sustainably.
So What? So what do we do with these Living System Design Truths? For our role in nature to be effective and beneficial we need to address some gaps in our understanding and have appropriate expertise represented on our teams in order to truly practice regenerative design. This expertise must include: • An understanding of ecological system principles and processes. • Pattern recognition -- or tracking -- skills to identify the distinctiveness of the ecologies (including human culture) in the places we are working. For example, patterns point to the roles that places and people paly in an ecosystem. (Stories have been the way great civilizations have held meaning and development. Stories hold the complexities and essence of life; they hold, and help us to recognize, patterns.) • Polymaths with an inherent curiosity in all knowledge and a wide enough span of knowledge to know what they do not know.15 • Humility to realize that the project’s team very best work will still be open to improvement. • An expert facilitator and resource to work with the client, the team, and the community in developing a regenerative relationship with “place” and to carry that capability forward into the future – forever. With this understanding it becomes clear that a new purpose and role for the building industry is emerging. The challenge is to move up the ladder of ecological engagement in order to achieve long-term and positive effect with ALL of life. This repositioning requires movement:
• To develop the capacity and capability to continually regenerate a new relationship as life emerges - becoming part of life (co-evolving). This aspect requires the development of a mind that looks towards new potential rather than only solving perceived and existing problems with existing tools. Evolution is required to sustain all life (including human life). With this imperative, we need to stay actively involved in evolutionary design, realizing the following: • Sustainability is not possible without engaging in the process of Regeneration or Conscious Evolution. • Evolution means to bring something of higher order into being, moving up strata to be able to integrate more complex energies to create greater value (ultimately, there can be no net positive without evolution because of entropy). We need to understand our purpose as humans and our co-evolutionary role in each unique place we live. This kind of work requires a new way of thinking to shift us from a reductionist worldview. It can not really be adequately described in writing or through dialog because words also tend to fragment us16. This work requires experience – it cannot be abstracted like this article, despite our best efforts to convey the issues. It seems an understatement to say that many issues and new perspectives need to be internalized in the development of our capability to live sustainably. It is not simply shifting to a new mental model; it is, as Daniel Pink points out in his book,17 the development of a Whole New Mind.
• From techniques and technologies applied in isolated fashion to integrated systems as part of a whole. • To acknowledge the human role as integral to the health of the whole system of life (inhabiting, not occupying). 15 See Jason’s book Zugunruhe – Chapter Three about Polymaths.
16 The Tao Te Ching balances this kind of paradox better than any text when talking about the form and the formless. 17 Insert name of book
The Challenge is successful because it satisfies our leftbrain craving for order and thresholds and our right-brain intuition that the focus needs to be on our relationship and understanding of the whole of life.
change the standard and associated programs – all the while we are aware that any “tool” created by us or anyone else will always have limitations. Photo Caption: Description
Engendering Experience – A Tool to Trigger a Move to Regeneration When the Living Building Challenge was launched in 2006 it was done so in a context where the nature of the discussion around sustainability was limited primarily to LEED points and, by definition, a reductionist approach to limiting negative impact. This approach was a natural beginning for the green building movement, as it started at a level that most building practitioners could understand and were willing to engage – start with the way we do things now – and make it a little less bad. Yet, it was clear that for true and deep success to take place, a new framework was needed as a bridge to the type of holistic, truly regenerative level of practice. It was not enough to have only have a philosophy or to engage only philosophers. After all, Living Buildings had been discussed by Berkebile and McLennan since the mid-nineties and the Regenesis Group in Santa Fe had been pioneering regenerative thinking for at least as long, with minimal uptake. Others, like Sim Van
Der Ryn and Pliny Fisk had been advocating ecological design even longer and Buckminster Fuller and Ian McHarg who preceded these individuals, were two of the earliest proponents. Making such a large conceptual jump within practical parameters was and is highly challenging.
The Challenge is successful because it satisfies our leftbrain craving for order and thresholds and our rightbrain intuition that the focus needs to be on our relationship and understanding of the whole of life. The first Living Buildings become living proof that we can go much further than we thought with today’s technologies and know-how while shining bright lights on
A tool that looked just enough like LEED on the surface was required for people to be willing to engage, but written and codified in such a way that working with it required confronting the very challenges inherent in a reductionist approach. The Living Building Challenge in many ways is a paradox – a reductionist tool to dismantle reductionist approaches, or as Nadav Malin of Environmental Building News observed, “a manifesto in disguise as a standard.”18 It was a stealthy way to wean people from one intellectual framework into another. The creation of the Living Building Challenge by McLennan was very deliberate and it has been remarkably successful at getting people from many backgrounds all over the world to begin asking the right questions about our place in the world and what true success with our architecture and communities should look like. It informs us of how to 18 Cite article
how far even the best Living Building is from our ultimate destination. When truly successful, we will see the light shining right back at us – it is we who have needed to change all along! More than seeing a new certified Living Building, we are most encouraged when the program stimulates that electric moment when individuals understand their connection to the whole and the lights go on. It does not happen all the time but it is beginning to happen with increasing frequency. This is where Regenerative Development comes into practice. As Kathia Laszlo observes, “Sustainability is an inside job.” A new way of purposeful relationship and “being”in the world requires a continual process of conscious engagement - a “practice”if you will. Engaging with life in a coevolutionary (developmental) way requires us to substantially change how we think about life, our role in it, and how we continually engage with evolutionary emergence. This is the “other half” of sustainability. This article is intended to serve as a bridge between two schools of thought that are now converging in an interesting way. The convergence of improving the ef-
Photo Caption: Living Building Challenge 2.1
Moving from Living Buildings as a “noun” to that of a “verb” and by putting greater emphasis on regenerative development than can lead to a Living Future is a true convergence of two powerful schools of thought. ficiency of our technical practices and embracing the effectiveness of working and “becoming” with whole living entities and systems is the ecology we are working towards. The Living Building Challenge symbolizes this convergence. It points the direction towards the verb “living”, towards “aliveness.”
being - to see and be one with the working of life as a system of nested and inseparable whole living entities. It takes time and purposeful practice to shift from only seeing the world as separate, machine-like things that are mechanically connected to one another.
The challenge will be to understand that working This shift is exciting and full of meaning and potential. with aliveness and the development of the consciousThis is where Living Buildings converges with the re- ness that can hold and evolve with the continual progeneration of a whole living system of mutually support- cess of emergence is markedly different than working ive interrelationships that is informing the 3.0 version of with a mechanical and reductionist worldview. All the Challenge which will be released sometime in 2014. are necessary and yet require truly different mindsets. Remember that Einstein said, “We can’t solve The living system school of thought represented by problems by using the same kind of thinking we used Regenesis starts with the understanding (and awe) when we created them.” that healthy living systems have an inherent capacity to continually generate new sources of life for and Moving from Living Buildings as a “noun” to that of a within themselves and their environment – that is,to “verb” and by putting greater emphasis on regenerare-generate. For human development to be a positive tive development than can lead to a Living Future is a force, the imperative is to enable the system(s) it affects true convergence of two powerful schools of thought. to re- establish its regenerative capacity. The most effective means for doing so is through using the way a project is conceived, designed, constructed, and occupied to create a new living system - one that harmojason f. mclennan is the CEO of nizes project and place at a new order of regenerative the International Living Future Institute. He is the creator of the Living capacity. To develop this capability within humans to Building Challenge, as well as the auengage the necessary and ongoing mutually beneficial thor of five books, including his latest: relationship with life, the people in that place are chalTransformational Thought. lenged to develop the capacity for new understanding and care in order to participate with the ongoing evobill reed is a partner at Regenesis and a renowned pioneer in the fields of lutionary processes. The practice process of regeneration emerged from the work of Charles Krone.19 It is a school of thinking and
Integrative Process and Regenerative Development. He is the author of many articles, and co-author of, The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building.
Nature’s Essence B y S am W illiams
I’m not my social condition. I’m the manifestation of Nature’s Essence. For humans and nature to be in relationship. We must always be present. Patterns and tracks left on the land. Can help to explain the nature of place and its story. But we must never be misled, by the worldly tracks of economic glory. Full development of oneself is key. We must grow at every stage and station. If we’re transformed by natural cycles, we’re a part of nature’s regeneration. Living System frameworks and principles, are only useful if we are not faking. If we are not true to our inner selves, we’ll be stuck in states of falsification Seeing the whole picture is much believable, but its only part of the true reality To take nature’s essence to the next level, we need regeneration and sustainability. We will never heal the earth, if we continue at the pace we’re going. We must shift and break mental paradigms, so that we are truly growing. A personal legacy is a earthly deposit. It’s a physical statement of our human presence. If we reside by Living System practices. We are living by nature’s essence.
Samuel Williams a native Bostonian, graduated from Boston University and has had an exemplary career in the Human Service field for over 15 years. Prior to obtaining the Chief Operating Officer position with the UUUM, he held leadership positions with both City Year Boston and Youth Opportunity Boston, serving the Boston community in a variety of ways.
19 Pamela Mang and Bill Reed, Designing from Place, Building Resource & Information, 40:1, 23-38
T ransformational action
b y H ilar y may hew
Stop, Collaborate & Listen
Everyday, I have the opportunity to see the difference the International Living Future Instituteâ€™s Ambassador Network is making in our world. We have over two hundred and fifty volunteers spreading the concepts of the Living Building Challenge across five continents. Our Ambassadors help broaden the Instituteâ€™s base of knowledge, connections and support. The Challenge is not only a building certification system but also a philosophy and advocacy tool, and the Ambassador Network is the best example of these robust layers within the Living Building Challenge.
The Living Building Challenge Collaborative: Chicago hit the ground running from the moment it began just two short years ago. They are currently hosting a design competition and have reached over 150 people in their region with the Institute’s message of creating a world that is socially just, culturally rich, and ecologically restorative. Taking Root:
So what is an Ambassador? The Ambassador Network is made up of volunteers in either of two roles: Presenters and Facilitators. Presenters create interest and increase knowledge while moving forward the policy and advocacy goals of the Living Building Challenge. They are trained to give presentations to architecture firms, design schools, urban planners anyone wanting to learn more about sustainability turned on its head. Facilitators create communities of Living Building Challenge enthusiasts called Collaboratives. Collaboratives provide an opportunity for individuals to come together for informal learning experiences and to advance community transformation. Collaborative participants’ activities support creation of the local conditions that allow for the development of Living Building projects. Collaboratives are sprouting up in many cities throughout the world and one in the Mid-West region of the U.S. is quickly gaining ground.
The Chicago Collaborative grew organically beginning with people interested in learning more about the Challenge. “Around 2010 we started to hear directly from a few of our clients their interest to deliver projects that complied with the Living Building Challenge Red List.” says Bob Webber, Senior Project Manager at Valerio Dewalt Train Associates on his first introduction to the Living Building Challenge. After attending his first Living Future unConference in 2011, Webber quickly joined the Ambassador Network. He then joined forces with Brian Dolan, a sustainability and design technician with HOK. Brian has been an Ambassador since 2010 and was already rooted in Chicago, laying the groundwork for the Collaborative. Across the country, in Portland, Oregon, active Cascadia Green Building Council member, Karin Miller had watched the Challenge grow from its infancy. After leaving Portland to achieve her Masters in Architecture in Italy, Miller moved to Chicago and began working for YR&G Sustainability. She reconnected with the Challenge and reached out to Weber to join the Collaborative. “[In Chicago] we were riding a wave that we were not at the forefront of anymore,” says Miller. Chicago touts itself as one of the greenest cities in the country with 106.8 million sq ft of LEED certified space. The Collaborative saw this as an opportunity to push the envelope, bring the Challenge to the table and start a dialogue with local design professionals. The three leaders dove deeper into the
Photo Caption: Description
Challenge by working through each Petal. Through their examination of the seven petals, barriers to having a Living Building in their city came to light. The energy and water petal created a plethora of research opportunities and public interest. They wanted to make headway in the building market but were faced with the reality of capacity issues. They needed help so they got creative and decided to launch a design competition to tap into the local expertise. Enter the Near West Side Design competition. The Chicago Collaborative wanted to bring like-minded organizations together with local design students to polish their design skills and complete the necessary research. The goal of the competition was to inspire, inform and encourage the development of a Living Building in Chicago while identifying barriers within the city’s building codes. The format of the competition is unique in that the Chicago Collaborative is hosting meetings every four weeks during the design competition. These meetings will serve as an oppor-
tunity for the competition project teams to present their ideas to collaborative members and gain valuable feedback. On paper, the Near West Side of Chicago has everything a thriving neighborhood needs; public transportation, parks, a hospital, and much more, but it also has a disjointed feel. “The competition site is representative of an ‘in-between’ space in the city of Chicago: it is in-between already established local destinations such as The United Center and the Malcom X City College, and to a larger extent, in-between downtown Chicago and the outer city.” Says Webber. This type of leftover space is common in Chicago, a city defined by its neighborhoods, and successful development of this site that is guided by Living Building principles could be used as a template for other Chicago neighborhoods in the future. The main feature of the larger neighborhood is marked by the Eisenhower Expressway (I-290), which bisects
“By looking to our native ecosystems as a benchmark to measure the performance of our developments, we can begin to create buildings, infrastructure, and cities that perform as well if not better than the ecosystems that they inhabit, or many times replace.” —Coffman Phillips
the neighborhood. New growth should link these economic centers in a way that builds an urban identity and draws in new population and business. “We are seeking design solutions where the site becomes a destination, a piece of urban fabric that improves the immediate area while also stitching together the surrounding areas.” Says Webber. “We think there are many useful ideas represented by the Living Building Challenge that can help us get there.” Design teams are also encouraged to consider the usefulness of the site to both neighborhood residents and visitors.
for our region) and in order to maximize our impact on our local region, we had been looking for a project that we could collaborate on and this was a natural fit,” says Amy Coffman Phillips, Co-Founder, Biomimicry Chicago.
than the ecosystems that they inhabit, or many times replace,” says Coffman Phillips. Biomimicry Chicago hosted and presented their findings to the design teams at the Collaborative’s February charette in order to guide the teams’ designs. Robin Randall, whose Judson University design course is participating in the competition, talks about the implication this had on her class. “I believe the application of AskPlace had an educational benefit as well as a design benefit. The students participating in the competition started the project thinking about orientation and solar and wind studies but had not “dug into” the site history and what they could learn from the previous inhabitants of the site. By assigning each student a native species to investigate and research, each created a relationship and became interested in approaching design from a new direction. Some even named their projects after the species or environment (web, burrow, cell). The fractals, water conservation strategies, adaption to wind and rain, and natural ventilation strategies have all played a role in transforming their designs.”
Biomimicry Chicago stepped up to the plate and performed an AskPlace research project, which analyzed the original, pre-development site conditions and recommended restorative design strategies for the project site. The AskPlace project had three components: (re) connection with our native landscapes, (re)learning what makes them special, in order to (re)think how Spreading the Word: we design restoratively. Biomimicry Chicago began The Chicago Collaborative’s members knew this by looking at regional ecosystems and performing a competition would greatly increase their responsi- “Genius of Place,” or a comprehensive assessment of bilities and workload, so they reached out into their the abundances and constraints life has adapted to locommunity and asked for partners and meeting cally and then translated this information to the lanhosts. They soon found that Biomimicry Chicago guage of design. “By looking to our native ecosystems was a perfect fit. “Because the mission of both Bio- as a benchmark to measure the performance of our mimicry Chicago and the Chicago Collaborative are developments, we can begin to create buildings, infraso similar (forwarding innovative, restorative design structure, and cities that perform as well if not better
In their quest to bring the first Living Building to Chicago, the Collaborative is exemplifying the spirit of community organizing. Margaret Mead spoke of this in her famous quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Collaboratives like Chicago’s are taking the sentiments of the Living Building Challenge and applying them to their local region to change the way we think and design. If you want to make a change in your community, consider joining or starting a Collaborative. Stay tuned for the winner of the Near West Side competition will be announced on May 23rd and featured in the July edition of Trim Tab Magazine. Hilary Mayhew is the Living Building Challenge Community Coordinator
Net Zero Energy Building Certification is a new program operated by the International Living Future Institute using the structure of the Living Building Challenge – the world’s most rigorous and progressive green building program. Certification is simple, cost effective and critical for integrity and transparency. For more information visit www.living-future.org/netzero
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b y joanna gangi and katie spataro
The Bullitt Center’s Net Zero Energy Strategies
magine a building that was designed and constructed to function as elegantly and efficiently as nature’s architecture. A building that consumes no more energy than it produces, uses no more water that it captures, and minimizes the impact it has on the planet - a building that is informed by its bioregion’s characteristics. - From the Living Building ChallengeTM
from a Passive House Perspective
The Bullitt Center, in Seattle, WA, was envisioned to meet the performance requirements of the Living Building Challenge and is on path to make it a reality. Designated as the “greenest commercial building in the world”, it officially opened on Earth Day, April 22.
Introduction by Joanna Gangi & Article by Katie Spataro
As occupants begin to move in, they will become accustomed to the features and delights of true restorative design. The building is meant to serve as a replicable model for high performance and self-sustaining offices in design, construction and operations. In an effort to achieve these ambitious goals, the Bullitt Center team employed an advanced and interconnected set of technically design strategies. Unlike most traditional commercial buildings, it is built with a timber frame structure comprising fast-growing, regionally sourced, FSC-certified timber. Ten composting units service the sixstory building’s composting toilets, making sewer connection unnecessary. The toilet fixtures are operated by a foamy pre-flush mechanism that combines one 1 cup of rainwater with bio-degradable soap in order to minimize water usage. Greywater from sinks and showers is pumped to the 3rd floor green roof where it is filtered by the plant roots, then infiltrated into the ground to replenish ground water sources. All materials in the building are Red List compliant, meaning they are free from the most toxic chemicals typically found in building materials, and are sourced locally. The floor-to-ceiling windows provide ample daylighting — even on a typical Seattle cloud-covered day. The amazing rooftop solar panel array is the building’s main energy source, meant to provide enough energy to the occupants on a net annual basis. This lofty energy goal warranted a rigorous design process and also the occasional debate among green building design enthusiasts.
Photo: Ben Benschneider
Net Zero Energy The Bullitt Center’s goal to achieve the Energy Petal of the Living Building Challenge requires the building to demonstrate that it consumes no more energy than it produces onsite through its rooftop solar array on an annual basis. The building generates more energy than it needs in the summer to make up for a deficit during the cloudy winter months. This is no small feat for a 6-story office building located in a city with an average of 226 days of heavy cloud cover each year. Not surprisingly, the team engaged in a highly integrated process and performed extensive energy analysis to balance projected energy consumption and the solar resources available onsite. The result is a climate-responsive building with a high efficiency envelope and mechanical systems, passive cooling, extensive daylighting to lower lighting power and reduced plug loads from computers, monitors, copiers, appliances, etc. which accounts for over 25% of the building’s total energy budget. Operational changes, such as janitorial staff cleaning the building during daylight hours and tenants needing to meet a strict energy budget, are critical components to actually achieving the net zero target.
“I don’t have to keep going to Europe to see how buildings should be built. Finally, we have a building in the United States that did it right.” – Adam Cohen
Over the course of the Bullitt Center’s design and construction, there has been some interesting debate over whether or not the Passive House standard would have produced a more efficient building or driven the design down a different path. The Passive House Building Energy standard, administered by Passive House Institute US, defines a set of rigorous standards for energy efficiency focused on high-performance design and construction techniques to reduce a building’s total energy use, emphasizing reductions in heating, cooling and ventilation loads and air infiltration.
Annual Heating Demand
≤ 4.75 kBTU/ft2yr (TFA)
@ 0.52 kBTU/ft2yr (TFA)
Annual Cooling Demand
≤ 4.75 kBTU/ft2yr (TFA)
@ 0.49/ft2yr (TFA) @ 55.84 kBTU/ft2yr by applying national averages for conversion of site-to-source electricity*
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ALLOWANCE 5%
DDC SYSTEM 5% GARAGE DOOR OPENER 0.1%
SPACE HEATING 3%
SPACE COOLING 2%
“BIG ASS” CEILING FANS 2%
MICROWAVES 1% REFRIGERATORS 1%
VENTILATION FANS 7%
COPIERS & PRINTERS 7%
WORKSTATIONS 8% LAPTOPS 2%
The debate seemingly positioned the two standards, Passive House and Net Zero Energy as defined by the Living Building Challenge, at odds with each other, although the International Living Future Institute never perceived a conflict. Passive House standards are a very effective way to achieve the energy petal of the Challenge. Yet, in absence of a clear understanding of how each of these two systems compared to each other, the critiques and rebuttals offered up much confusion.
**The Passive House standard does not take into account onsite renewable energy generation or the production of surplus renewable energy in their determination of Annual Primary Energy.
≤ 38 kBTU/ft2yr (TFA)
Air Leakage @ 50P
≤ 0.60 CFM/ft2yr (TFA)
@ 16 kBTU/ft2yr by applying an actual site-to-source conversion acknowledging onsite energy production @ 1.27 CFM50 (new volume)
IT SERVERS 7%
DOMESTIC HOT WATER 3%
Thankfully the annual Passive House conference, held this past March in Seattle, posed this question and provided a forum for much needed comparative analysis. To shed light on the debate, the local Passive House Northwest chapter hired Adam Cohen, a certified Passive House Consultant and twenty-five year veteran of the energy efficient and ecological building movement, to assess the Bullitt Center through an objective Passive House lens. The Bullitt Foundation (owner of
Annual Primary Energy
the Bullitt Center) agreed to provide Cohen with architectural plans, energy models, blower door tests, etc. and led him on an exhaustive, top-to-bottom tour of the Bullitt Center where he could closely examine the craftsmanship in the construction. Cohen presented his findings to a full room at the conference, prefacing that his assessment represented a very high level review. The analysis showed that the Bullitt Center’s predicted 0.52 kBTU/ft2/year for heating and 0.49 kBTU/ft2/yr for cooling, outperforms Passive House standards by nearly a factor of 10. At a quick glance, however, the building falls short compared to Passive House metrics in two areas: primary energy and air infiltration, warranting a closer look at the question of why. Passive House establishes a threshold of 38 kBTU/ft2/ yr for primary energy, that is, the energy consumed di-
quamus, tem mo ma si sitatur, untest aut ut aut ipsamentius.
Photo: Ben Benschneider
rectly by the building (site energy) plus that consumed in the energy production and delivery. While the Bullitt Center’s site energy is modeled at 16 kBTU/ft2/yr, applying common calculations for establishing primary energy for an all-electric building would easily triple that figure.1 However, in the case of the Bullitt Center, one hundred percent of its energy needs comes from onsite renewable electricity production so common metrics for calculating primary energy do not apply. With the Bullitt Center relying on the utility grid only part of the time, Cohen stated that it could be assumed that the building would easily meet or outperform Passive House’s primary energy benchmark. If one were to further consider that the building is net zero water – with all water based energy needs also net zero energy, the results are clearly in a league of their own. The one area where the Bullitt Center clearly falls short in the comparison is air leakage, with blower tests show1 Assuming the current U.S. national average for site-to-source energy conversion of 3.365.
For the hard core energy efficiency enthusiast in the iasit, sin plig nit the s ad quiswhere occuareas audience, Cohen pointed out a ur, few To beat to plian vit sam aquo equ amendit ipisqui architectural detailing couldcons have done a better at quijob es et, solupta tibustiis mod qui sequate adi idit, nit e ipica offic e, atur But ultimately, this is eliminating thermal bridging. nse mporernam exerecto cusandio rem esti iant di doloHouse where the two standards diverge. While voluptatPassive elignatia sequunt otaquis exerfer cusdam fugiae puts heavy emphasis on the building envelope, de-a stint veri ncidis verethe pti volu ndae ume ndem enie isim omn i sign team behind the Bullitt Center worried less odi about eos coruntur utem voloribus, coremqui dolesequ lliqui an ultra-efficient enclosure (although it is still a very inve a arcia etus sus dolessit pedi vernat hilluptatin dit qui omnion incto focused high performing envelope) and those feaperspel mo tet pe e igen elendae expl epti te non ctec vele tures that put net-zero energyopta within reach—occupant s illam volore et, con sitem a nit untiaernatem vel etur behavior, temperature set points, lighting and plug ptam volu pta dolu is omn ti quis nam pe , etur cum o omm pro et his analysis statload controls, etc. Cohen summed et odiateup rentibus estio qui aliquis quiatet dolo ing “I don’t have to keep going to Europe to seeet occu howsci molorerchita quiantur, te is quia alignam nt rferu re pliae ate sitat enis buildings should be built. Finally, we have a building damus quid mod ut verfero cus repu upti in the United States that did itulla right.” cca ecus andipit posae. El mol
NEW RELEASE ILD ING IN BL OO M AL LE NG E SE RIE S: BU LIV ING BU ILD ING CH
ing double the Passive House metric of 0.60 CFM50. Upon further exploration, Cohen concluded that there were many reasons why the building’s air leakage could have been so high—windows had not yet been cleaned ut s eatem from construction debris which their aireatseal, runtio quia Aximporeffects vero et quassin vendia dolupic te temporary construction doors were still in place a occae. noneand LIVING poristius vella disquia si uam, Neq em. por tem , sint am skylight was open during the testing. Cohen assessed that Nequi BUILDING eos quis sim faceatis di tem nullo rem E enis if the Passive House air leakage rates were desired they NG adig CHALLE net rerferr ovidustias ipsum rem faccullandi quamus,effort. could likely be achieved withidminor ilictota qui consequis
for Sustainable Landscapes The Making of the Center d Botanical Gardens at Phipps Conservatory an
LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE
LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE SERIES
ipidebit es nobit fuga. Ciunditiant ut
While Cohen’s analysis is helpful in understanding how the two standards compare from an energy perspective, and in validating that both standards are striving for a similar end goal, the real proof will be FPO once the Bullitt Center is fully occupied, documenting that the project truly performs as intended. katie spataro is the Research Director for the International Living Future Institute.
joanna gangi is empowered by the fantastic beauty of nature residing in Seattle where she works at the International Living Future Institute as the Managing Editor of Trim Tab magazine.
MARY ADAM THOMAS LIVING BUILDING CHALLENGE
“Advancing an already magnificent conservatory experience, Phipps Executive Director Richard V. Piacentini has taken the power of landscape to an all-new level, merging sunshine, flowers, earth and water into a sustainable whole that will reach generations to come.” Vivian Loftness, FAIA LEED AP, University Professor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University
Order yours today from living-future.org/ecotone 56
ECOtone publishing company
Religion, Science, and Spirit: “For people, generally, their story of the universe and the human role in the universe is their primary source of intelligibility and value,” Thomas Berry wrote in The Dream of the Earth. “The deepest crises experienced by any society are those moments of change when the story becomes inadequate for meeting the survival demands of a present situation.”
By David Korten
A Sacred Story for Our Time
We live at such a moment. Humanity’s current behavior threatens Earth’s capacity to support life and relegates more than a billion people to lives of destitution. This self-destructive behavior and our seeming inability to change have deep roots in the stories by which we understand the nature and meaning of our existence.
The challenge before us is to create a new civilization based on a cosmology—a story of the origin, nature, and purpose of creation—that reflects the fullness of our current human knowledge, a story to guide us to mature relationships with one another and a living Earth.
This article was originally published January 3, 2012 by yes! magazine
Top Left: Photo by QQ7 Top Right: Photo by zroakez
Three Cosmologies Three distinct cosmologies have each had their influence in shaping the Western worldview. Two are familiar. The third—and most relevant to the task at hand— has ancient roots, may in one form or another be the most widely held, and has virtually no public presence. 1. The Cosmos is Created and Ruled by a Distant Patriarch. This is the cosmology most commonly associated with the institutions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It views creation as the work of an all-knowing, all-powerful God. From his home in a separate sacred dimension called Heaven, He observes and judges our obedience to His commandments handed down to us through sacred texts and interpreted by His anointed religious authorities. This cosmology focuses attention on our individual relationship with a personal, but distant God as expressed in Michelangelo’s famous rendering of a God portrayed in the image of man. By implication, our human relationships with one another and with nature are secondary to this primary relationship. Although some adherents believe that we have an obligation to care for God’s creation in this life and to show compassion to our fellow human beings, in many interpre-
tations of the Distant Patriarch story, life on Earth is but a way station on the path to paradise. Nature exists for our temporary human use and comfort. Those who demonstrate their closeness to God by their pious religious observance and special knowledge of His intention, properly exercise authority over the rest of us. 2. The Cosmos is a Grand Machine. This is the cosmology commonly associated with science. It is the standard story of Newtonian physics, evolutionary biology, and the institutions of secular academia. In this cosmology, only the material is real. The formation and function of the cosmos and the evolution of life are consequences of a combination of physical mechanism and random chance. Life is an accidental outcome of material complexity and has no larger meaning or purpose. Consciousness and free will are illusions. By this reckoning, the cosmos is much like a mechanical clock-works gradually running down as its spring unwinds. Building on the mechanistic determinism of classical physics, classical biology holds that life evolves through a combination of chance genetic mutation and a competitive struggle by which the fitter survive and flourish as the weaker perish.
According to the Grand Machine cosmology, a brutal competition for survival, territory, and reproductive advantage is the basic law of nature and these same instincts define our human nature. Indeed, as economists of a social Darwinist perspective assure us; our competitive instinct is the primary and essential driver of human prosperity and progress. The defining debate turns on the question of whether this instinct best serves society when free from government interference or when guided by public regulation and incentives. 3. The Cosmos is a Manifestation of Integral Spirit. This cosmology has ancient roots and a significant modern following, but lacks institutional support and public visibility. By its reckoning, all of creation is the expression of an integral spiritual intelligence engaged in a sacred journey to discover and actualize its possibilities through an ongoing process of becoming. Our world and the material universe of our experience is more than God’s creation, it is God made flesh. God is in the world and the world is in God, yet they are not identical. Although the spirit is imminent, it is also transcendent, a concept religious scholars refer to as panentheism.
Different Worldviews The three stories convey very different understandings regarding relationships, agency, and meaning. • Distant Patriarch: Our most important relationship is to a distant God who is the sole source of agency and meaning.
• Grand Machine: We are alone in a mechanistic cosmos devoid of agency and possessing no purpose or meaning. • Integral Spirit: We are intelligent, self-directing agents integrally connected to all of creation with a distinctive role and responsibility to advance the continued creative unfolding of life’s possibilities.
We come to know the nature, purpose, and intention of this divine force through both our inner experience and our observation of its physical manifestation. All beings, stars, planets, humans, animals, plants, rocks, and rivers are expressions of this divine force—each with its place and function in the journey of the whole.
We find threads of this story in the traditional wisdom teachings of indigenous peoples and the mystical traditions of all faiths, including the Abrahamic faiths. In his expression of his Jewish faith, Jesus taught, “The Kingdom is within.” Muhammad taught, “Wherever you turn, there is the Face of Allah.”
Contrary to prevailing theories of social Darwinism, The Integral Spirit cosmology recognizes that life is a fundamentally cooperative enterprise.
This cosmology is consistent with the findings of quantum physics, which reveals that the apparent solidity of matter is an illusion and at the deepest level of understanding only relationships are real. I find that Indigenous wisdom keepers speak of the creator’s orig- Integral Spirit is the underlying cosmology of a reasinal instructions to humans to get along with one an- suring number of religious leaders, devout members other and nature. of many faiths, including a great many Catholic nuns, and most people who define themselves as spiritual, but not necessarily religious.
Brain scientists tell us the human brain evolved to reward cooperation, service, and compassion—suggesting that the creative processes of evolution have programmed these original instructions into our brains and DNA.
Why Creation Stories Matter Our creation stories have powerful implications for our understanding of our place in the cosmos and thereby shape our most foundational values, our politics, and the distribution of power in society.
Extreme individualism, greed, and violence are pathological and a sign of physical, developmental, cultural, and/or institutional system failure. Caring relationships are the foundation of healthy families and communities. The Golden Rule common to all major faiths is a better guide to appropriate moral behavior than mechanistic rules.
The Distant Patriarch story characterizes our Earthly existence as a separation from the divine goodness and grace of heaven. Our experience in this life becomes a test of faith, a burden to be endured and ultimately left behind in an eventual ascent of the righteous to reside with the creator in paradise. This cosmology reduces the purpose of life in the present to a fear-based quest to earn credits toward a divine judgment that will determine whether our fate after death will be to join the saved or the damned. It is a perfect setup for the manipulation and exploitation of believers by demagogues.
The Integral Spirit cosmology postulates that we humans participate in and contribute to the divine journey. We can apply our distinctive capacities for reflective consciousness and choice either to advance creation’s evolutionary thrust toward ever more creative possibility or to disrupt it. Together, our individual choices determine our collective fate and shape the course of the journey far beyond our time.
The Grand Machine story strips our existence of meaning and purpose. In so doing, it supports consumerism and an ethic of individual material gratification as a distraction from the terrifying loneliness and despair of an otherwise meaningless existence. By characterizing life as inherently competitive, it provides a pseudoscientific justification for social Darwinism, colonial imperialism, racial domination, and the unrestrained
competition of market fundamentalism. It neglects the far greater role of cooperation and synergy on which all living systems—and human society, civilization, and culture—depend. Though sharply at odds regarding the presence or absence of a spiritual intelligence, both the Distant Patriarch and Grand Machine cosmologies affirm the selfdestructive individualism and separation that lead us to behave in ways that threaten Earth’s biosphere and our future as a species. The Integral Spirit story, by contrast, infuses all we behold in this life and beyond with profound meaning. All of creation is a sacred and ultimately unified expression of an eternal and intimately present divine will.
All beings are interconnected and our fates are inextricably intertwined. As participants in and contributors to the ongoing process of creation, we each bear a sacred responsibility. Our lives take on profound meaning and purpose in relationship and service to the sacred whole. This cosmology has the elements of the needed story for our time. It remains, however, largely a private story without the institutional sponsors that give the Distant Patriarch and Grand Machine cosmologies authority and public presence. The absence of institutional sponsorship helps to secure its authenticity, but the absence of public visibility limits its influence as a guide to rethinking and restructuring our human relationships with one another and nature. Largely invisible in the public forum, it is not included in public opinion polls, leaving us with little idea of how widespread its acceptance actually is. Consequently, those of us who align with its foundational insights have no way to assess whether we are just cultural outliers or members of what quite possibly may
be a cultural majority. Intimidated by our isolation we may be reluctant to share the truth in our hearts, thus limiting our ability to share and deepen our insights and to join with others to fulfill the responsibilities to which the insights of this story call us.
Six Blind Men Describe an Elephant Reflecting on the relationship between these three seemingly mutually exclusive cosmologies brings to mind the story of the six blind men describing an elephant. The first feels its side and proclaims, “An elephant is like a wall.” The second gropes its tusk and counters, “No, it is like a spear.” The third feels the trunk and says, “Truly it is like a snake.” The fourth feels a leg and insists, “An elephant is like a tree.” The fifth feels its ear and pronounces it to be “Like a fan.” The sixth grasps the tail and says “Nonsense, an elephant is like a rope.” We understand and relate to our world largely through our basic senses. The spiritual dimension, however, lies beyond our limited direct sensory experience. When we seek to describe it, like the blind men groping the elephant, we turn to familiar imagery. This story is a warning that any interpretation of the infinite is likely to capture only a part of a much larger reality.
The Politics of Story Power The mystics among the prophets, sages, and wisdom keepers of all times and traditions have discerned a spiritual order and unity in creation they could make intelligible to their followers only through metaphor. Consequently, they sought to communicate their mystical insights through easily understood stories and familiar images. Not surprisingly, the intended messages have been subject to omission and distortion as they pass from generation to generation. Generally, for early indigenous peoples the deeper truth of creation as the expression of an integral spiritual consciousness translated into stories of an enchanted world inhabited by spirits of diverse motives and magical abilities. Matrilineal societies tended toward femi-
nine imagery and worshiped images of the Goddess. More gender-balanced societies worshiped both a Sky Father and an Earth Mother. With time, human societies developed large-scale institutional structures that supported powerful political and religious rulers with a considerable interest in shaping stories of divine power to serve their political interests. Stories and images of gods and goddesses as larger than life versions of their Earthly rulers served them better than stories and images of an enchanted world of spirit beings.
Eventually, the keepers of the faith conveniently forgot that the image of the distant patriarch was only a metaphor for the unity and order of the integral spirit from which all being manifests.
Separation of the material and spiritual worlds, rejection of the feminine, and a reliance on ancient texts as the primary, if not sole, source of human knowledge and moral authority in denial of the data of the senses became a serious barrier to the advancement of human knowledge and understanding. As the world divided into a multitude of institutionalized religious sects and subsects, the underlying stories of the spiritual The Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Is- unity of creation gave way to often violent competition lam—were each built on the foundation of a deep and for market share based on “My God is the real god” profound sense of the integral spiritual unity and or- product differentiation. der of creation. Each emerged within male-dominated societies in which patriarchs were familiar figures and Newtonian science emerged as a counter to religion’s resymbols. They naturally looked to the patriarch as jection of the experience of the senses in favor of explatheir symbol for an all-knowing, all-powerful spiritual nations of events based on stories of the magical powers consciousness. of mythic figures and to the barrier this rejection posed to human advancement. To secure its integrity and auIt was also natural that these societies placed their re- thority, science embraced disciplined observation of ligious institutions in the care of men—who in turn how matter interacts with matter as its primary—even found that it best served their political interests to fa- exclusive—source of knowledge and learning. This vor the distant Sky Father over the imminent Earth brought a new rigor to the search for order in the cosmos Mother and to dismiss goddess worship as primitive and lifted human understanding and technological posand pagan. The priestly class further strengthened its sibility to previously unimagined levels. power and authority by affirming sacred ancient texts interpreted by religious scholars as the sole authority Much as the priestly classes of institutionalized Weston the will of God. ern religions conveniently forgot that the patriarch was
Bottom Left: Photo by Aleksander Bolbot; Top Left: Photo by Sebastian Tomus; Top Right: Photo by Albert Barr
a metaphor, however, the gatekeepers of science eventually forgot that the denial of agency and free will that imposed a useful and beneficial discipline on scientific inquiry within the context of 17 th century belief systems was a choice; not a scientific finding. A scientific culture that ignored or denied spiritual consciousness brought with it an implicit denial of life’s capacity for conscious self-direction. This in turn limited our ability to comprehend and embrace the richness, potential, and responsibilities of our nature as conscious, intelligent, self-directing participants in Earth’s interconnected, ever-evolving, ever-learning, web of life. That the reductionist story underlying most scientific inquiry to this day describes only one element of a larger reality does not invalidate the truth or utility of its contributions. It is essential, however, that we recognize how the myopia of classical scientific reductionism suppresses our sense of wonder, agency, responsibility to and for one another and living Earth, and our ability to actualize a democratic vision of the authentic popular sovereignty of self-governing peoples and an equitable distribution of power.
Integral Spirit as a Liberating Synthesis Our future as a species depends on bringing to the fore of human consciousness a story that invites us to consider the whole of the elephant and to relate to it in
ways appropriate to both its nature and ours. The Integral Spirit story provides a core narrative. In its contemporary expression, the cosmology of the Integral Spirit draws from the many ways of human knowing. It embraces and melds insights from the frontiers of scientific observation, the world’s major religions, and the experience of indigenous peoples and mystics extending back to ancient times. In acknowledging both intelligent agency and material mechanism, it recognizes that agency plays out in an ordered living cosmos within a framework of rules and it clearly distinguishes between free will and license. It affirms our human nature as spiritual beings with an epic calling to advance a sacred purpose and it frames a vision of possibility to guide us to a viable future consistent with the divine will as revealed in our most comprehensive understanding of the cosmic unfolding. Contemporary Western culture presses us to choose between the institutions of religion and science as our primary source for understanding our human nature, purpose, and possibilities. In their current institutionalized forms, Western religion and science are both relics of an imperial past. Both define themselves by stories that support the prevailing systems of human domination of one another, other species, and Earth. Each resolutely defends its claim to being society’s ultimate and final intellectual and moral authority and clings to its own self-limiting cosmology as the only valid story.
strates on a grand scale the creative potentials of the distributed intelligence of many trillions of individual choice-making living organisms self-organizing to optimize the capture, organization, and sharing of Earth’s energy, water, and nutrients to bring Earth to life. Acting in concert, they continuously regenerate Earth’s soils, rivers, aquifers, fisheries, forests, and grasslands It is readily evident why the Integral Spirit cosmology while maintaining Earth’s climatic balance and the has lacked sponsorship and support from the imperial composition of Earth’s atmosphere to serve the needs institutions that have defined the dominant human so- of Earth’s widely varied life forms. cieties for the past 5,000 years. it evokes a radical vision of democratic possibility and presents a fundamental When we see all being as a manifestation of spirit, we might think of all of the biosphere’s complex choicechallenge to their legitimacy. making processes as occurring within the mind of It is for this very reason that it is the story and the vi- God. In the ultimate sense, perhaps it does. Such a sion we now need to guide our way to a future in which formulation, however, can obscure and diminish our we humans learn to live in balanced and mutual pros- appreciation of the true wonder and structure of the biosphere as a self-organizing living system. perous relationship with one another and nature. Despite their imperial legacy, the Distant Patriarch and Grand Machine cosmologies are both the product of efforts to discern and describe critical elements of the larger story of the Integral Spirit. That larger story has been with us in various forms since the beginning of human consciousness.
Distributed Intelligence and Life’s Capacity to Self-Organize We now know a great deal more than we have in the past about the creative capacity of the processes through which Integral Spirit manifests. We still have much to learn from and contribute to these processes, but to do so we must acknowledge and celebrate them.
The human body is an even more intimate example of the creative power of distributed intelligence. My body, which hosts my personal consciousness, is but one of the many trillions of organisms that together form Earth’s biosphere. It is in turn comprised of tens of trillions of individual living cells, each a decisionmaking entity in its own right with the ability to manage and maintain its own health and integrity under changing and often stressful circumstances.
We know, for example, that at every level, the cosmos has an amazing capacity to self-organize toward great- Simultaneously, each cell faithfully discharges its responsibility to serve the demanding needs of my entire er complexity and potential. body on which its own health and integrity (and mine) The theory of distributed cognition or intelligence sug- depend. Together these cells maintain the body’s gests that multiple minds have capabilities inherently health and integrity even under conditions of extreme greater than does a single mind. Many interlinked per- stress and deprivation to create a capacity for extraorsonal computers have more power than a single super dinary feats of physical grace and intellectual acuity far computer. It seems that creation learned early on to ap- beyond the capability of the individual cell. Resources ply this principle on a grand scale in the design of the are shared based on need, not greed. endless fractal structures of its self-organizing systems long before the arrival of humans. It is a key to the cre- We are also learning that trillions of non-human microorganisms inhabit our skin, genital areas, mouth ativity and resilience of the cosmos. and intestines with essential roles in supporting and Earth’s biosphere, the exquisitely complex, resilient, regulating our bodily functions as members of a high and continuously evolving layer of Earth life, demon- functioning living community
The body’s individual decision-making resource-sharing cells and microbes are more than interdependent. Each is integral to a larger whole of which no part or sub-system can exist on its own. Together they fight off a vast variety of viruses, cancer cells, and harmful bacteria and create regulatory mechanisms internal to the whole that work to assure that no part asserts dominance over the others or monopolizes the body’s stores of energy, nutrients, and water for its exclusive use. All the while, they adapt to changing temperatures and energy needs and variations in the body’s food and water intake, heal damaged tissues, and collect and provide the sensory data to our conscious mind essential to our conscious choice making. Another of the many impressive expressions of the body’s capacity to self-organize is the process by which the body’s cells continuously renew with no loss of body integrity. The cells lining the human stomach
have a turnover of only five days. Red blood cells are replaced every 120 days or so. The surface of the skin recycles every two weeks. Most of this cellular and molecular activity occurs far below the level of our personal awareness. So long as we provide the essentials of nutrition, hydration, rest, and exercise, our body’s cells fulfill their responsibilities to maintain our healthy function without specific instruction from our conscious mind. Cells can and do go rogue, with terrible consequences. Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and leukemia are examples. Within limits, the body has mechanisms to eliminate such threats. If those mechanisms fail, the body dies and the rogue cells die with it. So how do our cells decide, individually and collectively, what to do? Is there some form of conscious intel-
“I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.” —Albert Einstein
Photo: Nadezhda Bolotina
The Integral Spirit and a New Economy Both the Distant Patriarch and Grand Machine cosmologies contribute to a sense of detachment from life that leads to a devaluation of nature. They also lend legitimacy to an undemocratic centralization of institutional power and authority. Further, the social Darwinism of the Grand Machine cosmology lends moral authority to flawed economic theories that instruct us to value money more than life and actively celebrate the behavior and ethics of the psychopath as a cultural ideal. Whether or not the stories themselves are the cause of the deep, self-inflicted social and psychological pathology expressed in our selfdestructive relationships with one another and Earth, their broad cultural acceptance poses a serious barrier to healing. The pathology finds its clearest expression in a greed-driven economy grounded in a financial logic that assures us we are getting richer even as we destroy the real wealth of cooperative, caring human communities and Earth’s natural living systems. In our confusion, we forget that the only true wealth is living wealth, pay more attention to financial deficits than social and environmental deficits, and assume that the economy and business exist to make money rather than to serve life. The living systems perspective of the Integral Spirit cosmology provides a framing story to guide our path to a planetary system of local bioregional living economies aligned with the needs and realities of the Ecozoic Era.
ligence involved at the cellular level? The Grand Machine story says no; the processes are mechanical. The Distant Patriarch story does not address the question beyond the fatalistic suggestion that whatever happens is God’s will. The Integral Spirit story says yes—the capacity for conscious choice is a defining quality of life and indeed of all being. Is the consciousness underlying the choices of an individual cell a form of consciousness that would be in any way familiar to the human mind? Probably not, but we may never know, because with the exception of mystics who have developed a capacity to bridge the barrier between themselves and the meta-consciousness, we have no recognized means to experience a consciousness other than our own, and least of all the consciousness of a single cell. What seems evident is that intelligent choice making is a hallmark of living organisms at all levels. One critical insight from recent findings in biology is that most of the body’s self-organization occurs at the cellular level through intercellular communication and choice-making independent of direct intervention or direction from the brain and central nervous system. Similarly, although the biosphere self-organizes on a global scale and is subject to external influences from other celestial bodies, the locus of agency is everywhere local. The dynamic consequences of local choice making play out through the biosphere’s fractal structure and create global dynamics that in turn shape local choice making with no evident central authority. The separation or differentiation of consciousness is essential to creation’s incredible capacity for creative innovation, yet we see in our human experience how the illusion of separation can lead us to relate to one another and nature in deeply destructive ways. Buddhism teaches that this illusion of separation is the cause of humanity’s self-inflicted suffering. To become fully functioning as individuals and societies, we must achieve a maturity of self-awareness that allows us to hold in mind the reality of oneness and at the same
If there is to be a human future, we must fundamentally reshape our cultures and institutions to work in creative partnership with the structure and dynamics of the biosphere.
time honor the illusion of separation by accepting responsibility for our individual actions.
Conscious Choices Exactly how it all works may forever remain a mystery beyond our human understanding. Based on what we do know, however, our bodies, the biosphere, and the cosmos all express as fractal structures that selforganize from the bottom up rather than from the top down—exactly the opposite of what the Distant Patriarch story suggests. And contrary to the foundational assumption of the Grand Machine story, the evidence of our daily experience, reports of mystics, and some interpretations of quantum physics suggest that intelligence—and presumably some form of consciousness—is the organizing principle of our bodies, Earth’s biosphere, and the cosmos. When we see all of creation as a manifestation of God, of spirit made flesh, we may recognize ourselves as physical expressions of God, but not in the sense of Michelangelo’s famous painting. We may also recognize that within the scale of the cosmos, we are far from being creation’s only expression of conscious intelligence and to the contrary are only a tiny element of an expression so grand as to be beyond our perception and comprehension. So what is our individual human relationship to the grand expression of Integral SpiritThis is pure conjecture on my part, but I believe there may be clues in the
relationship between the individual cells of our body and our conscious mind. I know my body’s individual cells exist, but only because science tells me so. I may care deeply about their good health, yet I cannot discern the condition or function of any individual cell— let alone consciously intervene to save an errant cell from the consequences of its bad choices. Given that my body’s cells number in the trillions, the possibility that I might have such ability defies imagination. Imagine the distraction if our mind attempted to track details of the life of each individual cell in our body. It is for good reason our minds are highly selective in the information to which they attune. It seems similarly unimaginable that the living Earth is conscious of my individual existence or behavior as a human cell in its larger body. If we scale this logic to the cosmic level, it would suggest that the living cosmos is unlikely to be conscious of the Living Earth as one of the countless celestial entities that comprise it. There is no necessary contradiction here with the reports down through the ages from spiritual mystics who experience the melding of their human consciousness with an undifferentiated consciousness that transcends all of material reality. If all creation is a manifestation of undifferentiated Integral Spirit, then the system of distributed intelligence discernible in a living, evolving cosmos is derivative of the undifferentiated meta-consciousness.
Perhaps the individual human consciousness, with proper training and discipline, has the capacity to penetrate the illusion of separation to experience a temporary reunification with the undifferentiated spirit. Perhaps we all have the ability through meditation and prayer to tap into the wisdom of the higher levels of consciousness from which we manifest and thereby tap into and experience the beauty of its creative wisdom in a very personal way. It does not, however, follow that the undifferentiated meta-consciousness has the intention, desire, or capacity to attune to us individually, to intervene in our individual or collective human lives, or to change the operant rules of the self-organizing processes of the differentiated consciousness that shape the unfolding of the cosmos or its individual elements. This is not to suggest that the cosmos is indifferent to our existence. It may care deeply with the love that some believe to be the binding force of the universe. Consider also, that as manifestations of the Integral Spirit, we are instruments of its agency. We might therefore think of the voice that replies in the course of meditation or prayer to those who succeed in penetrating the ego’s illusion of separation as at once the voice of our authentic self and the voice of God. Similarly, when we pray for divine intervention to save us from the consequences of our individual and collective choices, we in effect appeal to ourselves as agents of the Integral Spirit.
If we accept, however, that we are conscious intelligent participants in a conscious intelligent self-organizing cosmos, it becomes evident that our future is in our hands and the well-being of all of Earth’s children depends on our acceptance of adult responsibility for our individual and collective choices and their consequences. Recall the Buddhist teaching that the illusion of separation is the source of human suffering. As manifestations of the spirit, we humans are instruments by which the spirit (God) expresses its agency in the material world. Thus, our appeals to God for salvation from our suffering are in effect appeals to ourselves. The earlier assertion that evolution has hard-wired cooperation, service, and compassion into the healthy human brain does not negate our capacity for free will. Free will and the illusion of separation are both essential to our human potential to contribute to the creativity, adaptability, and resilience of a living Earth and thereby to the whole of creation. If we lose sight, however, of the interdependence behind the illusion, the sense of separation can become so terrifying as to overwhelm our predisposition for cooperation and lead to us to use our free will in deeply self-destructive ways. Free will conveys creative responsibility, not individualistice license.
Whether specific details of our chosen story are right or wrong is less important than whether its overarching narrative awakens us spiritually, inspires cooperative, Step to Adult Responsibility mutually beneficial relationships, supports a way of living that recognizes the wonder, beauty, goodness, ultiThe important point is that, right or wrong, our choice mate meaning and value of life, and puts us on a path to of creation stories has real world consequences. If we a viable future. Most important at this moment in the choose to believe our fate lies with purely mechanishuman experience is that our chosen story calls us to tic forces beyond our control, we then resign ourselves accept adult responsibility for the consequences of our to the outcome of forces beyond our control. If we aschoices for ourselves, one another, and a living Earth. sume that a parental overseer—whether it be God, the market, a new technology, or compassionate space Consequently, on purely pragmatic grounds, the Intealiens—will save us from our foolish behavior, we likegral Spirit story in its many variations is the obvious wise absolve ourselves of responsibility for our actions choice. If wrong, we lose nothing. A clockwork cosmos as we await divine intervention. could care less. A loving parent God will be pleased
with our progress toward mature adulthood. If right, we avoid self-extinction, our lives take on profound meaning, and we unleash yet unrealized capacities for creative expression.
Transition to an Ecozoic Era The foundational insights of the Integral Spirit cosmology hold the conceptual key to our collective passage to what cosmologist Brian Swimme and eco-theologian Thomas Berry call the Ecozoic Era, the fourth in the succession of life eras identified as the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic, and the Cenozoic. In The Universe Story, they note that our passage to this new era depends on a fundamental shift in the human relationship to Earth grounded in four foundational insights:
1 “The universe is a communion of subjects, not a col-
lection of objects.” (p. 243)
2 “The Earth is so integral in the unity of its function-
ing that every aspect of the Earth is affected by what happens to any component member of the community. Because of its organic quality, Earth cannot survive in fragments….The integral functioning of the planet must be preserved.” (p. 243)
3 “Earth is a one-time endowment….Although the
Earth is resilient and has extensive powers of renewal, it also has a finite and nonrenewable aspect…Once a species is extinguished we know of no power in heaven or on Earth that can bring about a revival.” (pp. 246-7)
4 “[O]ur human economy is derivative from the Earth economy. To glory in a rising Gross Domestic Product with an irreversibly declining Earth Product is an economic absurdity.” (p. 256). [See inset: “The Integral Spirit and a New Economy”] As Berry elaborates in an earlier lecture: “Earth is primary and humans are derivative…. The Earth economy can survive the loss of its human component, but there is no way the human economy can survive and prosper apart from the
A Big Story Connecting Three Narratives The emerging story of creation’s epic unfolding features three narratives, each flowing from the one before. The Integral Spirit Cosmology narrative recognizes the unity of creation and the contributions of our varied religious traditions, bridges the domains of science and religion, and draws from the breadth and depth of human experience and knowledge to reveal a self-organizing process that combines order, chance, learning, and the agency of a distributed integral intelligence. The Sacred Living Earth narrative builds on the understanding of the Integral Spirit narrative to present Earth as an intelligent living organism with an extraordinary resilience and capacity to learn, adapt, and innovate as it creates the conditions necessary to the emergence of ever more complex, capable, intelligent, selfaware, and cooperative life forms. The Living Earth Economies narrative builds on the Living Earth narrative to frame a vision of and pathway to the culture and institutions of a New Economy that brings us into balanced partnership with Earth’s biosphere, meets the needs of all people, and is radically democratic. As we follow the flow of the narratives from Integral Spirit to Sacred Earth to Living Economies we move from the transcendent to the imminent, from the abstract to the practical, and begin to discern a pathway to a viable human future ripe with meaning and possibility.
Earth economy….There is no such thing as a human community in any manner separate from the Earth community. The human community and the natural world will go into the future as a single integral community or we will both experience disaster on the way. However differentiated in its modes of expression, there is only one Earth community— one economic order, one health system, one moral order, one world of the sacred.” [Thomas Berry, “The Ecozoic Era”] Failing to recognize the fundamental truth of our dependence on the generative systems of Earth’s biosphere, we humans act as a reckless, predatory invasive species, the equivalent of cancer cells systematically destroying Earth’s living body. In an act of collective insanity, we have created a global civilization that depends on a non-sustainable fossil fuel subsidy to work in direct defiance and opposition to the natural structure and forces of the biosphere. This leads to the systematic disruption and depletion of the biosphere’s generative systems and thereby Earth’s capacity to support life. If there is to be a human future, we must fundamentally reshape our cultures and institutions to work in creative partnership with the structure and dynamics of the biosphere. Is it consistent with our nature to do so? It depends on the story. The Distant Patriarch story is ambiguous, with many contrasting versions from which to choose. The Great Machine story says no. It is our inherent nature to be individualist, competitive, greedy and violent. The Integral Spirit story and the narrative emerging from a deeper and more contemporary understanding of evolution articulated by evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson and others say yes; humans evolved to cooperate, share, and serve.
A Story for Our Time The turning we humans must navigate to a viable future depends on a profound awakening to our nature as spiritual beings and our responsibility as participants in creation’s
epic journey of self-discovery. This awakening will be partly experiential—a joyful reunion with our true nature. It will be partly intellectual—a larger and more nuanced understanding of the nature and purpose of creation and our human role in its continued unfolding. To accelerate this awakening and actualize its possibilities we need an open and self-critical public conversation about the foundational stories by which we understand our human nature and purpose. That conversation must go far beyond an unproductive debate between doctrinaire Distant Patriarch creationists and doctrinaire Grand Machine social Darwinist evolutionists. Fortunately, the conversation is already underway in a rapidly growing number of forums sponsored by influential organizations including Contemplative Alliance, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University, Pachamama Alliance, Temple of Understanding, Wall Street Trinity Institute, and others. These conversations call us to reflect on what we truly believe and to examine contrasting cosmologies from the perspective of historical experience, the insights of history’s greatest teachers, the frontiers of science, and implications for the path ahead. The process is best served by a sense of humility and recognition that for all our scientific advances, we remain far from a full understanding of the deep mysteries of the cosmos. The Integral Spirit cosmology appears to offer many of the elements of the story we seek. Yet even with its ancient roots and its affirmation and enrichment by recent breakthroughs in science, it too remains a partially developed story and we are limited to speculating on many of its elements.
the inherent thrill of participating in a grand creative endeavor for which participation is its own reward.
Acknowledgements: My thanks to Fran Korten and to the many friends and colleagues who provided critical comments, encouragement, and important insights to this essay as it developed over several months from June to December 2012. They include Barry Andrews, Shannon Biggs, Ravi Chaudhry, Joan Chittister, Ted Falcon, Matthew Fox, Marybeth Gardam, Rob Garrity, Kat Gjovik, Christa Hillstrom, Garry Jacobs, Kurt Johnson, Graeme Maxton, Don MacKenzie, Winston Negan, Brian McLaren, Martin Palmer, Bill Phipps, Jamal Rahman, Steven Rockefeller, Bob Scott, Lucianne Siers, Ralph Singh, Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Karma Tshiteem, Lama Tsomo, Richard Wilson, and others. Misinterpretations, errors, and omissions are mine alone.
Dr. David Korten is the author of many books and is the board chair of YES! Magazine, co-chair of the New Economy Working Group, a founding board member of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, president of the Living Economies Forum, an associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, and a member of the Club of Rome. He earned MBA and PhD degrees from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School.
BECOME A MEMBER “Becoming a Cascadia member is a way to show my support for a worldwide movement that challenges me to think about the built environment differently – each day is an opportunity to look at our projects and the world around us not in terms of what we’ve always done, but rather through the lens of what is possible.” -Kyra Hughes
That we humans seem naturally drawn to unsolved mysteries, may be a key to discovering and fulfilling our place of service to the whole. We know not where the journey leads, nor whether a final destination is even a meaningful concept. The attraction is
Removing Arsenic from Building Materials: A Success Story
March 17th marks the 10th anniversary of the EPA order that made it illegal to use the arsenic-based pesticide CCA (chromated copper arsenate) to treat wood intended for most residential uses, including wood destined for decks, picnic tables, landscaping timbers, gazebos, residential fencing, patios, walkways and play structures. This is also a happy milestone for the Healthy Building Network, marking the first major success of our then 3-year-old organization and our mission to transform the market for building materials to advance the best environmental, health and social practices.
The results are now in, and according to the US Geological Survey, the HBN-led campaign to phase-out the use of arsenic-based wood treatment formulas in 2003 has reduced the amount of arsenic used in the United States (measured by imports) from over twenty metric tons annually to approximately six.1 The focused debate over CCA-treated wood was a microcosm of the divergent views on how to deal with toxic hazards in building products in general. In order to avoid the known hazards posed by CCA-treated wood throughout the product’s lifecycle, HBN and
ARESENIC COMPOUND IMPORTS
Arsenic Compound Imports 30,000 25,000 20,000 15,000 10,000 5,000 0
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MINERAL COMMODITY SUMMARIES This article was originally published by the Healthy Building Network
1 “Owing to environmental concerns and a voluntary ban on the use of
US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY MINERAL COMMODITY SUMMARIES arsenic trioxide for the production of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) wood preservatives at yearend 2003, imports of arsenic trioxide averaged 6,100 tons annually during 2006–10 compared with imports of arsenic trioxide that averaged more than 20,000 tons annually during 2001-03” - US Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summary, 2012
many end-users advocated a precautionary approach that would discourage or restrict the use of arsenicbased treatment compounds where safer alternatives exist. The chemical industry called for more “risk analysis,” evidence of harm caused by arsenic at each stage of the product lifecycle. The cost of such study would be externalized, as would risk mitigation strategies: workers wearing more protective gear, parents washing children’s hands more often, municipalities remediating contaminated soils and water. Ten years ago common sense prevailed because consumers learned what chemicals were in pressure treated wood, and compared those products with alternatives that did not possess similar hazards. Some pressure treated wood companies who were early adopters of safer alternatives supported the transition in order to preserve their industry’s market share against competitors ranging from hardwoods to plastic lumber. New products entered the field, such as Timbersil, which Environmental Building News called “a revolution in the treated wood industry.” Most importantly, eliminating one toxic hazard from one building material, reduced -- drastically, rapidly and permanently -- the
amount of arsenic posing a hazard to our drinking water, to children and to workers here in the United States and at anonymous arsenic smelters in China.2
Today this success stands as a testament to the positive potential of systematic product disclosure and chemical avoidance initiatives3, and a healthy rebuke to the chemical industry’s specious arguments that common sense disclosure and precautionary measures are too expensive, confuse consumers or reduce the quality of our buildings.
Snohomish School District’s Valley View Middle School is not just an everyday space in which students grow and learn; the environment and building systems are an inspiring part of their education.
2 Most arsenic used in the US was imported, largely from China. What little documentation is available suggests the environment and workers suffered there as well. See e.g. Ian H. von Lindern, et. Al., Remediation of Legacy Arsenic Mining Areas in Yunnan Province, China Blacksmith Institute Journal of Health & Pollution Vol. 1, No. 1 - Feb 3 E.g., Pharos, the Health Product Declaration, the Living Building Challenge’s Red List and the new Materials and Resources credits proposed in LEED v.4
Bill Walsh is Executive Director of Healthy Building Network. Rain Harvesting Feature at Entry livingFuturAd3.pdf
Photo2:08 by Matt 3/20/13 PMTodd Photography
To create commercial building products that respect the future through healthier chemistry, third-party accountability, transparency, durability and advocacy.
Add LF13 workshops ad here C
C/S Interiors: Wall Protection, Acrovyn Door System, Entrance Flooring Systems, Expansion Joint Systems, Cubicle Curtains & Track
The Business Case for Transparency
“There is one and only one social responsibility of business – to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game.” –Milton Friedman, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962
Milton Friedman, the father of modern neoliberal economics, argued that businesses’ only fiduciary obligation to their shareholders is to increase profits, and that they shouldn’t engage in any activity that runs counter to that goal. This argument, against corporate social responsibility, has broadly influenced the course of modern business and sparked an unfortunate dispute: should companies maximize profit or should they strive to be socially and environmentally responsible? Perhaps a better question is, why not both? There is a large and growing body of evidence from trusted academic and mainstream industry sources that businesses are more profitable when they make a true commitment to sustainability.1Though there are a myriad of documented benefits to a sustainable business strategy, many firms continue to lag behind, unconvinced that green strategies will work for their business, cost too much, or may diminish their competitive advantage. New research is showing that these concerns may, in part, be legitimate. Not all sustainable strategies are created equal: superficial green efforts (i.e. green washing) are not ultimately profitable. Only by demonstrating a serious and long-term commitment to sustainability can an organization realize the benefits. Declare, the International Living Future Institute’s new ingredients label for building products helps companies move beyond green washing to truly connect with their customers. Market-leading companies are now leveraging Declare and other transparency programs to communicate a genuine commitment to sustainability, and in the process securing a competitive advantage. Rising above the Green Wash A recent article in Strategic Management Journal 2 shows that while there are considerable financial ben1 www.natcapsolutions.org/businesscasereports.pdf 2 Michael L. Barnett and Robert M. Salomon. 2012. Does It Pay to Be Really Good? Addressing the Shape of the Relationship between Social and Financial Performance. Strategic Management Journal, 33, 1304–1320.
efits to corporate social performance, the benefit varies widely depending on a company’s level of commitment. By plotting social performance versus financial performance, the authors discovered that the financial pay-off for sustainability forms a U-shaped sustainability curve3. In short, they found sustainability pays off when it is completely “baked-in” to a company’s strategy: dabbling in green strategies leads to mediocre performance. Companies to the right of the sustainability curve that have embraced corporate social performance as part of their core business strategy financially outperform their less responsible competitors. The Risk of Standing Still Companies to the left of the curve – those who ignore sustainability – may feel that it’s best to stand still, not take risks and continue their current business practices. This approach is short-sighted at best: in a competitive marketplace, leadership and a long-term sustainability strategy are crucial for success. In fact, business as usual entails its own risks. The regulatory environment or consumer preferences for healthy products can shift rapidly, leading to diminishing markets, expensive factory upgrades, and potential legal liability.
RISK FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE
b y james connelly
SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE
3 Chart Adapted from Barnet and Salomon, Figure 1
Not all sustainable strategies are created equal: superficial green efforts (i.e. green washing) are not ultimately profitable.
The sweeping California Air Resources Boards (CARB) limits on formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products are a prime example of the risks industry faces from new regulations and the costs of standing still. After these regulations were enacted, all composite wood product manufacturers that wished to continue to sell in the largest US market were required, for some at significant expense, to change their production methods and institute strict testing protocols.
nificantly more profitable than “low-sustainability” firms. In fact, an investment in 1993 of $1 in a high sustainability firm grew to $22.60 in 2010, compared to $15.40 in a firm without a commitment to environmental and social performance. The authors found that the key attributes of high sustainability firms are a willingness to share their sustainability efforts with stakeholders, integrate performance into their public reporting and engaging external sustainability auditors. In short, embracing transparency and stakeholder engagement On the market-driven side of the coin, Google’s adop- as a central feature of their business strategy, then ention of the Living Building Challenge Red List in 2011 gaging external parties to verify their claims. shows how rapidly evolving consumer preferences can impact an industry’s bottom line. In 2011 Google The authors argue transparency is central to a longwas opening 40,000 square feet of office space per term and profitable sustainable business strategy. week, and they pledged that every square foot would Public disclosure facilitates the critical conversations be free from toxic Red List chemicals.4 The new pro- necessary between a company, its suppliers, and key posed Material ingredient reporting in LEED V4 is stakeholders to inform intelligent strategies rooted proof that a concern for healthy building products in the realities of the market and customer demands. has now become mainstream. Transparency is start- Public disclosure programs, like Declare, add legitimaing to shift the marketplace, and smart companies are cy to these transparency efforts and help distinguish a firm from their competition. getting ahead of the curve. Benefits to Transparency
Transparency and Declare
A 2011 working paper from the Harvard Business School5 found that “high-sustainability” firms are sig-
So how does a company move to the right of the sustainability curve and make more money by doing more good? It starts by coming clean with its consumers.
4 http://sustainableindustries.com/articles/2011/04/google-drops-red-listbuilding-materials-vendors-listen 5 Eccles, R.G., Ioannou, I. & Serafeim, G. 2011. The Impact of a Culture of Corporate Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance. Working paper 12-035, Harvard Business School.
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As part of a growing movement for toxic chemical analysis and disclosure that is fundamentally transforming the market for building products, Declare, is a case study for how transparency can and will continue to impact a manufacturer’s bottom line. The first step to participation in Declare is putting together a comprehensive list of every intentionally added ingredient in a product to ensure there are no materials on the Living Building Challenge Red List, which includes 13 worst-in-class chemicals with damaging effects on human health and the greater ecosystem. For many companies, simply putting together this ingredients list is instructive: a detailed inventory of chemical contents facilitates a much deeper understanding of a product’s chemistry, production process and supply chains. Often, manufacturers who engage in this process realize that they are already capable of developing healthier, safer products by using readily available alternatives. Transparency within a company or supply chain is the first step toward healthier products.
Another key aspect of Declare, and what distinguishes this program from other green product labels, is a requirement for disclosure of at least 99% of all intentionally added ingredients. Unfortunately, some companies view this public disclosure as a risk, fearing that competitors will copy their formulations or that they will experience a consumer backlash. In the short term, some of these fears may be justified: disclosing publicly that your product uses a chemical of concern, or identifying a proprietary ingredient, seems risky. However, in the long term, greater disclosure and transparency is a critical aspect of a successful and profitable sustainable business strategy. The sooner a company realizes that it is using harmful chemicals in its product formulation, the sooner they can begin developing alternatives, avoiding the risk of regulation. Leading companies that have embraced transparency have found that more stringent environmental regulation and consumer awareness are not risks, but opportunities.
Moving a company from a culture of secrecy to one of openness, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement involves hard work. Retooling a production line or introducing a new formulation to eliminate toxic chemicals can be expensive and time-consuming, but that investment has huge benefits: competitors will necessarily have to go through the same process to catch up. Companies who conduct the hard work now, preempting regulation or shifting consumer sentiments, position themselves months or even years ahead of the competition.
closed, and found the greatest benefit to transparency is the opportunity to collaborate with their key stakeholders to innovate new and better products.
Interface continues to demonstrate leadership in the transparency movement by listing two product lines in Declare. The Declare label provides a platform to communicate critical ingredient health and sustainable sourcing information to their customers, and distinguish their products from the myriad of confusing labels and certification schemes. One Interface product line, which is completely Red List free, has already Interface: a case study of transparency been installed in our offices at the new Bullitt Center in Seattle, and with the Declare label they will have the Interface has long been a leader in corporate sustain- opportunity to connect with a growing list of groundability, and their late CEO Ray Anderson was a true breaking projects using the Living Building Challenge pioneer in demonstrating that a genuine commitment Red List for material selection. to sustainability can also be great for business. Nonetheless, Interface encountered criticism from members The Transparent Economy of the green building community in the mid 2000â€™s due to the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). However, by From the new LEED V4 materials transparency credits acknowledging legitimate concerns about this ingre- to the rapid adoption of the Living Building Challenge dient and embracing transparency in order to start an Red List, a transparent materials economy is quickly open and honest dialogue with their key stakeholders, moving from a dream to a market reality. Those that Interface has been able to rebuild trust and goodwill join the movement now are poised to capitalize on with the green building community.6 Public disclo- this opportunity, and those that lag behind will face sure of their product formulations has facilitated a seri- increasing risks. The case for disclosure is becomous conversation about the cost and benefits to using ing clearer every day; transparency is simply good PVC. After listening to feedback from their customers for business. Interface has now articulated a long-term strategy to begin moving away from that product formulation. Through transparency, Interface has regained its position as a sustainability leader. This path to transparency and stakeholder engagement was not always easy.7 At first the company faced significant hurdles to disclosure: moving beyond a culture that was uncomfortable disclosing any information about chemicals of concern was a challenge, and Interface had to learn exactly how to report detailed chemical data accurately without divulging trade secrets. They now have 95% of their products fully dis6 http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/09/14/plastic-icebergs-navigatingpvc-conundrum 7 http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2012/06/30/what%E2%80%99s-yourproduct-learning-love-transparency
James Connelly is the Living Building Challange Coordinator at the International Living Future Institute.
Research contributed by Sam Wright
SUSTAINABILITY INNOVATION DESIGN
Carraig Ridge Passive House, Alberta R + D led to the creation of 8 x 14 foot R-14 frameless glazing.
LIVING FUTURE Topic Discussion:
Biophilia Moving from Theory to Reality
Biophilia suggests human beings have an innate affinity for the natural world. It explains why listening to the sound of the ocean leaves us feeling refreshed, and taking a walk in the park helps us relax. Now architects, building owners and researchers are working to incorporate the aspects of nature that most impact our satisfaction into large-scale corporate offices. Join sustainability experts Mary Davidge, Chris Garvin, Margaret Montgomery and Amanda Sturgeon for a discussion on the topic at the 2013 Living Future (un)Conference. LIVING FUTURE (UN)CONFERENCE May 15-17, 2013; Seattle, Washington http://living-future.org/register
To belong to the most powerful green building movement in North America (and quite possibly the world) you need to act like it and plan to up your green building game. We all know the sobering reality: climate change is upon us and national-level action remains weak at best. If we want to have a positive effect on the environment, our best bet is to act locally. Cascadia Green Building Council is dedicated to leading the charge here at home. So if you live in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington or Oregon, this is a critical time for you to re-engage here in bioregion.
the rules of re-engagement
I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward. To belong to the winningest sports team, you need to practice and bring your best game. That means you need to be active and functioning in an operational state of industry consciousness. If you’re not playing on the field (or haven’t had game in months) then you know how imperative it is get into gear. Follow these four rules of re-engagement, and you’ll see why 2013 will be the year you embrace your professional regeneration with the Cascadia Green Building Council.
Rule #1: Do something I’m talking about involvement, and no, this isn’t buying a box of your neighbor’s Girl Scout cookies. Engagement in Cascadia means that you’re investing in YOU, your professional status and your firm. Join your local Branch Collaborative and help design the programming that plays a leading role in your industry and your region.
Rule #2: Educate yourself In our bioregion’s largest three markets for green building, there are thousands of LEED Green Associates, Legacy AP’s and AP’s with specialty. To be specific, Vancouver, BC has over 1,000 registered LEED AP’s or Green Associates; Portland, OR has just shy of 2,000; and Seattle, WA has beyond 3,000. It is clear that there are plenty of people investing in their professional development and Cascadia has plenty of programming opportunities to further this venture, starting with your Living Future Accreditation. Each month our Branch Collaboratives host a variety of workshops, tours, seminars, Living Building ChallengeTM Petal events and networking opportunities that offer GBCI approved education. It’s time to cut that 100 level green building umbilical cord and start swimming with Cascadia’s robust education network. See what’s on tap this month. Rule #3: Join the party Name me one organization that provides stronger connectivity to your industry for an equal or less cost to you than Cascadia and I’ll buy you a pint; this is a serious offer. There is no better way to invest your social capital for professional growth than by joining Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute, Cascadia’s umbrella organization. In addition, there is complete reciprocity between the Institute and Cascadia; joining one automatically grants you access to both. Cascadia and Institute members receive the same discounts on event registration (including the Living Future unConference), Ecotone books and virtually all Cascadia Branch workshops. Engaged membership means you directly support Branch activities: 50% of every membership fee goes directly to Branch operating budgets in your area. The remainder underwrites the efforts of Cascadia staff to support and connect activities throughout the bioregion. Consider this your official invite, so join the party.
Available May 15
Genius of Biome
for the Temperate Broadleaf Forest
A plAce-bAsed design resource for Architects And plAnners
Co-created by HOK + Biomimicry 3.8
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Rule #4: Represent Take a look at the example set by GLY Construction, which recently decided to reinvigorate staff efforts to integrate sustainability into their practices and processes in every business sector and across all job disciplines. In pursuit of this goal, GLY Construction has partnered with Cascadia and the Institute and is opening their doors to be a “Sustainable Learning Center” on Seattle’s Eastside. GLY’s Eastside training studio will host a myriad of LEED training courses, continuing education opportunities and Living Building Challenge workshops. For a full list of these events, keep an eye on the Cascadia Eastside Leaf Facebook page and be sure to visit our friends at GLY Construction. Effectively, GLY Construction has racked all four rules of re-engagement into one deck. Kudos.
This year, Cascadia and the Institute invite all partners, colleagues, friends and clients to learn together. Challenge your firm to do the same and re-engage.
3/28/2013 3:55:23 PM
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN FOR THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Nicholas Hartrich breathes/sleeps Community Engagement for Cascadia and the International Living Future Institute. He blends creative thinking and strategic judgment to drive leading change in the bioregion.
Come see our presentations at
LIVING FUTURE 2013 MAY 15-17, SEATTLE, WA
SERAPDX.COM ARCHITECTURE INTERIOR DESIGN YOU
URBAN DESIGN + PLANNING SUSTAINABILITY RESOURCES
JOE PINZONE, 5.16.13 Blanchet House of Hospitality: Using Water and Energy Conservation to Achieve Social Resiliency CLARK BROCKMAN, 5.16.13 From Master Architect to Master Integrator A New Role for Architects in the Sustainable World LISA PETTERSON, 5.17.13 Resiliency in the Electrical Grid: Is Your City's Electrical Grid Net-Zero Ready? KATE TURPIN, 5.17.13 The Translator in Integrative Design
Ideas From you, From us Exchanged, challenged Better together We better the planet Together, We Build to Improve Lives
Learn more at xlconstruction.com
The net-zero energy certified Hood River Middle School
Regeneration Creating educators for the future within the built environment. opsis architecture LLP
Moving Upstream & maKing waves PERKINS + WILL Named one of British Columbia’s Best Employers We at the Institute have known for a while that Perkins + Will Canada is one of the best in many categories,
and are delighted to share that they have been selected as one of BC’s Top Employers for 2013. This special
designation recognizes the British Columbia employers that have lead their industries in offering exceptional
places to work, examining criteria such as community involvement, physical workplace, training and skills
development, and health, financial and family benefits.
FEMA’s Resilience Innovation Challenge FEMA (US Federal Emergency Management Agency)
Recently hosted a Resilence Innovation Challenge, the goals of which were to foster community resilience by identifying needs; mobilizing partners; and creating
innovative, motivational, and effective solutions that can
Aral Sea Recovery? The Aral Sea, a once rich, vast sea adjacent to modern
fwd: read this! CLICK
day Kazakhstan, was whittled down to 1/10th it’s original
Defining Community Resilience
size by poor water management and other forms of human
instigated environmental degradation. But given the chance,
the natural world will overcome any obstacle, as is illustrated by the return of fish, among other things, to this place that was so recently a desolate wasteland.
A Step Inside the Bullitt Center
Resilience, while finding it’s wings in the built environment, is a concept that has deep roots in academia. This paper presents a theory of resilience that encompasses contemporary understandings of stress, adaptation, wellness, and resource dynamics in our communities.
After much anticipation, planning and packing, we’ve arrived at our new digs in the Bullitt Center. This extraordinary
building represents a the manifestation for a bold vision; a
world in which modern, mulit-story office buildings generate
their own energy from renewable sources, harvest and treat water onsite and provide healthy, delightful spaces to work and learn. Learn more and come pay us a visit!
be grown, sustained, and replicated to the problems facing community development in the United States today.
The value of Resilient CLICK Communities: ‘whatever the problem, community is the answer’. Exploring biomimetic solutions to community problems through strategic relationship and community building since 1991, The Berkana Institute’s blog highlights some of it’s staff and friends’ accomplishments.
making progress? Do you have a lead on cutting-edge green building progress in the region?
76 Minutes of brilliance from Bill Reed, on Architecture and Design’s role in regenerating our planet, what to do after creating a planet full of Living Buildings, and how to ‘work with life as a living organism,’.
The Potential of Regenerative Medicine: A TED Talk by Alan Russell
Ailments and diseases for which we have little to protect ourselves against may be a thing of the past, if we can find a way to speed and aid the body’s healing process, re-generate damaged tissue, limbs, even organs. This TED Talk by Alan Russell provides valuable insight into the ways this is being explored in modern medicine.
FWD: READ THIS!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with “Moving Upstream News Lead” in the subject line.
From Sustainability CLICK through Regeneration: Whole Living and System Design
If you have something that should be included here please send it to us at email@example.com.
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MAY 15-17, 2013 SEATTLE, WA