A Quarterly Journal from McLennan Design. Rediscovering our relationship to the natural world. Volume 2 Issue 2
THE PATTI SOUTHARD ISSUE
NEWS! McLennan Design + Christine Lintott join forces. Read.
ASPIRE A tribute to Patti Southard. Read.
INQUIRE How to truly make America great. Read.
s I sit outside this time of year, it’s hard not to appreciate the wonderful extension of our days and the abundance of light. In the summer months, the Pacific Northwest becomes one of the most attractive and near-perfect places to live—not too hot or cold, but just right. I feel good tending my garden as the first produce is already starting to reward my efforts. May saw yet another successful Living Future Conference— an event that I started thirteen years ago now!—which feels hard to believe. The event attracted over a thousand leading practitioners from around the globe. There was a strong focus on youth leadership, which gave me reason to hope despite the overwhelmingly grim environmental news. The conference was also a place where I said goodbye to a dear friend and fellow green warrior, Patti Southard, who passed away in April. Patti was a force for good in the world, using her platform at King County to provide leadership around green building, unmatched at the county level anywhere in the United States. Patti was someone who was never afraid to take on tough issues and tell it like it was. I miss her dearly, as do so many others. Her friendship and leadership inspired us to dedicate this as The Patti Southard Issue of our magazine. This one is for you, my friend! As the long days achieve their maximum effect, I also look towards a positive future with the firm—now made stronger through the merged partnership with my great friend Christine Lintott and her talented team out of Victoria, BC. This issue marks our first as a combined team, now over 20 strong and focused together on creative living examples of regenerative design. Watch what we do together! This issue shares all sorts of interesting work, ideas, contributions and our usual mix of news and case studies. We love hearing from you, too—so please share your thoughts! Warmly, Jason F. McLennan
JASON F. MCLENNAN
KRISTINA AVRAMOVIC OLDANI, GALEN CARLSON
ELLEN SOUTHARD, ADAM ROBB, ABBY STORROW, COAST FUNDS, JOE BREWER, MARY REYNOLDS, JOSHUA LAWRENCE
YOU ARE ON
Suquamish + Duwamish USDAC.us/nativeland
Artwork by: Lightning Waq Waq, Ty Juvinel (Tulalip Tribes)
McLennan Design respectfully acknowledges the Suquamish and Duwamish peoples, who, throughout the generations, stewarded and thrived on the land where we live and work. June 2019, Volume 2, Issue 2 LOVE + REGENERATION is a quarterly publication of McLennan Design, LLC. Copyright 2019 by McLennan Design. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Content may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission and is intended for informational purposes only. 4
Whose examples have we aspired to in our work toward a regenerative world?
A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of our Friend Patti Southard
A tribute to Patti Southard celebrating her connection to water. Patti the Mermaid by Ellen Southard
What do we have to learn from our global neighbors on the subject of Reconciliation? How to Really Make America Great Again by Jason F. McLennan
How can an educational model engage and empower kids to take active leadership roles in their communities? Kids These Days by Adam Robb and Abby Storrow
How are we as a firm pushing for the Living Future we want to see come about in this world? News from McLennan Design
What does a closer examination of the controversy surrounding Elon Musk surface? To the Critics of Elon Musk... by Jason F. McLennan
How Coast Funds is empowering First Nations through Indigenous-led conservation finance. Reflecting on 10 Years of Conservation Finance in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii by Coast Funds
How can a study of the word â€œregenerationâ€? shed light on the potential impact of work in a regenerative lens? Some Ways to Frame Regeneration by Joe Brewer 5
A Celebration of the Life + Legacy of our Friend, Patti Southard APPRECIATIONS FOR PATTI FROM HER FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES WHO WORKED ALONGSIDE HER IN THE PURSUIT OF A LIVING FUTURE I will always remember Patti for her generosity of spirit, great sense of humor and strong drive to make the world a better place. The large outpouring of love and support at the time of her passing is a testament to the greatness of Patti Southard. Rest in Peace Patti. Anonymous +++ Patti was one of the first people I met when I came from Operations, out in the field, to King Street Center. Her warm, charmingly vibrant personality made me feel right at home and our subsequent work activities were always entertaining, informative and highly valuable. Anonymous +++ Patti Southard will be greatly missed but her contributions to the green building community, in the region and beyond, will continue to impact us all. Her unstoppable exuberance and action-oriented approach has shaped us. Anonymous 6
I remember the last time I saw Patti; it was the Friday before we lost her. She gave me one of her big enveloping hugs....I felt so fully supported. It was a Patti hello... Her outspokenness is something that I’ve learned a great deal from as an employee and in every day of my life, as many of those around me notice. I speak the truth to power without looking back, because looking back would make me frightened… So I move straight ahead. She inspired me in that way. I miss her pretty much every day and I speak of her often to myself and to some of my coworkers. We miss you so much Patti. Gerty Coville +++ Patti was really something special – a mentor to many of us and someone who fearlessly held people accountable from a place of love. We need so many more like her. I will miss her very much. Anonymous
Patti was a tireless and passionate force for progressing green buildings in the Cascadia region. I first met her in 1999 when she worked for the Environmental Building Center and then we worked together while I was at the City of Seattle to get green buildings legislated in Seattle and the State. Anonymous +++ Patti Southard will be greatly missed but her contributions to the green building community, in the region and beyond, will continue to impact us all. Her unstoppable exuberance and action-oriented approach has shaped us. Anonymous +++ From my vantage point, it all seemed to start with wood. Patti’s passion for wood, for example, moved Forest Stewardship Council product certification forward and kept lesser certifications from gaining much of a foothold (thank goodness). Every time I see the FSC logo on products, I think to myself, Patti’s driving force helped make it successful. If you want to know what a real “influencer” looks like, take a look at a photo of Patti Southard. She worked doggedly to make good things happen. Anonymous +++ I have the honour of being a Living Building Hero. But so does Patti. When I think of Patti, hear about Patti, or read about Patti, I know that Patti will always be the greatest hero of them all. Dale Mikkelsen, SFU Community Trust 7
Every time Patti was in the room there was an elevated sense of energy, openness and acceptance.
Although I only interacted with Patti through the ILFI conferences, she was always smiling and happy to engage with anyone. In the 2018 conference she attended a session in which I participated as a speaker. After the Q&A, she stayed at her table talking to a friend. I sat down with them and talked for a while on the potential that every city has to bring to life the local ecology. She was a true visionary looking into the horizon with certainty and hope, and with her feet and hands standing strong and working hard on the present. I only interacted with Patti a few times, and I know that I already miss her. Juan Rovalo, Biohabitats +++
Patti knew how to connect with people. I’m so grateful for every wide smile and hug Patti gave me — and she gave a lot to all of us — because the incredible work she did and the community she built was so personal. She gave her heart and soul. Every time Patti was in the room there was an elevated sense of energy, openness and acceptance that I could never explain and you certainly can’t replace. I can’t imagine the next Living Future or green building event without her… I will miss her so much. Anonymous
The first thing I noticed about Patti were her glasses. They were bold, bright, and a little weird just like mine. We were eye glass sisters and often compared our looks whenever we saw each other in the hall at work. We both had multiple pairs and liked to switch out our style. It was our thing. She was fun, open and full of life. She is missed. Anonymous
Patti was a shining light for implementing green building and social justice in our community. I will miss her firm insistence on keeping project teams focused on regenerative design, and the sincere kindness and love she brought to each moment. Patti brought out the best in those around her, and her commitment and legacy should be an inspiration to us all. Jason Wilkinson
Patti Southard [was] a driving, visionary force in regenerative design and social equity here in Seattle. Patti served as Program Manager at King County GreenTools, championing for green buildings. She was instrumental in advocating for Living Buildings, spoke at the Living Future unConference every year, and was honored as a Living Building Challenge Hero. But Patti was also so much more than that. Our staff will remember her larger-than-life laughter, her passion for justice, and the bright light she brought with her everywhere, welcoming us all to this community. Amanda Sturgeon, CEO ILFI
This morning I had a dream that you were mad at me for still being asleep. You told me, “Wake up, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done.” On my way in, there was a full rainbow over Puget Sound. I knew that was your way of telling me you’re alright and to keep your work alive. How can I be writing these words for you? We had plans sister. Plans to take over the world, to fight climate change and environmental injustices. Plans to party, go to concerts, spend family Christmases together. I weep because we can’t see those plans through, because I won’t ever feel another hug or kiss from you, because I won’t hear your laugh again or feel your warmth. I weep for the people who will never know you. I am comforted knowing I am a lucky one who did get to experience your love, friendship, your amazing energy. People everywhere loved you because you were real, genuine, loving, fun, and you truly cared about everyone you knew. You are a rare example of living a life led with significance and not success. You never cared about status or money, but rather about people and your deep connections to them. You were my colleague, my friend, my family, my sistah, my inspiration, a goddess, a warrior, a soulmate. The world lost the most beautiful soul I have ever encountered. I hope one day to be a fraction as groovy as you Patti Southard! I love you so much and can’t believe you are gone. Written the day after Patti passed away by friend and colleague Jessica Engel +++ Patti was a force of nature. She lit up the room with her smile. Every greeting was a warm, delicious hug. She had a gift for letting you know that you meant the world to her. And she meant the world to us. So grateful that I was one of the lucky ones. Anonymous 9
Patti the Mermaid BY ELLEN SOUTHARD
aybe it was being in the womb together floating around in amniotic fluid or our many baths together as infants, but water was always a special place for Patti and me. It is where we were most comfortable. Born in June under the sign of Cancer, we had a natural curiosity around water—a place that offered a sense of familiarity and comfort. I’m writing this from Maui, an island we loved and visited over 20 times together. It stole our hearts and penetrated our souls and supplied another connection to water. It has been a bittersweet trip without her. A trip that began on Kauai with a group of friends we called the Kitty Cats: Deirdre, Caroline and Annie, an adventure we had planned for many years. The goal was to spend the first week with the Kittens and the next ten days on Maui with our cousins Helen, Val and Nick. Maui was very much part of us, a continuation of our water obsession that began as early as I can remember. Our family lived a humble life in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Exotic vacations and travel beyond the east coast would not come for us until later in life. That said, we lived in this ideal place of beauty, a place that nurtured in us a reverence for the environment and a deep abiding sense of responsibility to protect this delicate earth. Our parents instilled in us a love of the places in which we could afford to recreate and relax with one another, where we spent our free time: outdoors in nature. Our family’s life in summer revolved around water. We swam almost nightly in the creeks and streams of the Pine Barrens. Dad would return home from work; we’d take dinner in the car and off we’d
go for a swim. He taught us to be brave in the water, but to understand its power. The cool clean water was a resource for enjoyment and the life’s blood of our farm that was run by my Mom ever since Dad went off to WWII. It was not a working farm, but it was our main source of food and added income by leasing the fields and by trading or selling some of the excess produce my parents grew in their 1-acre garden. It was managed gingerly because we had artesian wells throughout our land. That source of water was to be safeguarded for years to come, as all water in the Pines was protected.
Above: Patti at the stern, paddling the Flathead River in 1986.
Besides the lakes and streams we also swam at the Jersey Shore. Some of our fondest memories were at the beach. Patti and I bobbed around endlessly on rafts or body surfed until we were wrinkled from the salty water. We were beach babies through and through. It became our greatest pleasure. A pleasure we still enjoyed as often as possible. A place where we continued playing with our cousins. The cousins were a key part of our water story, always together at any beach adventure throughout our 11
Facing page: some of Patti’s favorite places and ways of spending time on the water, clockwise from top: the Blackfoot River in Montana; a canoe; the Society Islands of French Polynesia. 12
lives. We held boogie board, head stand and body surfing competitions well into our fifties and the older cousins into their seventies. After all who doesn’t feel younger in the water? It made kids out of all of us. We loved the beach more than any other place. All we had to do is look at one another and we would run into the water together. We could read each other’s minds and know it was time to cool off. No matter how old we became we still loved bobbing in that water, always giggling and challenging one another to a new competition. Even last year when we came to Maui in the Spring of 2018, we came up with a new synchronized swimming routine with our friend Carol. It was silly, but it was us. Our water story also involves canoeing the Pine Barrens. We started young with Dad, probably around age 5, as a way to give Mom a break and Dad his one-on-one time with his little mermaids. The canoe trips were also a rite of passage in our bucolic hometown. At age 16 we went on our first big trip with the cousins from my Dad’s side of the family and all the local girlfriends. There would be many a trip, some with legendary rebellious stories of teens in the wild. Patti excelled at paddling. She was fierce at the stern and if there was an odd number of girls, she insisted on paddling her own canoe. Paddling the easternmost parts of the Pine Barrens is no easy feat. The creeks and rivers are tidal regulated and if you dallied too much you paddled against the tides. Patti was strong and confident and fierce. She read the tides and would lead us out to the marshlands. She would most certainly kick our butts if we didn’t leave on time and would complain to no end if we got caught
in the rising tide. Patti was also a strong swimmer, stronger than me. She was fiercely competitive. She loved swimming ahead of me and daring me to come out further in the ocean or any lake. That said she would always turn around and make sure I was OK. Although she also loved swimming in pools, she did not encourage competition there. I had a better kick turn and it would piss her off when I beat her swimming laps. She was not a second-place mermaid, but she would give me my due and understood that I had to win every once in a while. Patti’s sense of fairness allowed her to be humble, but just in the pool. We lived apart for 3 years: me in Montana going to University of Montana and her in New Jersey going to Stockton State. In the time I was in Montana without her, I gained a love of white water and gained some decent paddling skills. By the time she joined me at UM, I could keep up with her. She was proud of me for learning without her and soon the whitewater would become a new bond between us. Many of our college friends were water adventurers too and the stories continued on the Flathead, Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers. The waters of those rivers were at her life celebration, testament to the indelible connection she had with water. It was while we were at UM that Patti would be recruited to be a canoe instructor at Camp Four Winds Westward Ho, on Orcas Island. That first summer there she fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. We would move there together the following year. While at Four Winds,
Facing page: Patti and Ellen Southard grew up paddling the waters of the New Jersey Pine Barrens, pictured here from above with the Oswego River winding through. 14
Patti also learned to sail the famous boat Dorade. She thrived there. Her strengths and skills were a thrill to watch. She would take out 10 kids in what were called “war canoes.” They weighed over 300 pounds when their old canvas skins soaked up the water like sponges. Patti read the tides and the ferry schedules, so she knew what wake was coming their way. She became an expert on the little islands that dotted the San Juans. Her coworkers looked on in amazement. They would all learn from her and experience the joy of paddling with her. This was a strong, capable and safe paddler. She applied the same passion to sailing and, in the summers of 1987 and 1988, would work the dock at camp so she could be close to Dorade. Sailing offered her a new and different sense of teamwork and speed and viewpoint of the water than the canoes had. In 1989, we took sailing lessons together and the water bond took a new chapter for us. Three years later we would sail in Tahiti and through the Society Islands together. It was the trip of a lifetime. We had grown up seeing photos of Dad’s years serving in the South Pacific during WWII. Those photos were emblazoned in our memories: our parents’ one dream that they had planned for their retirement which was never realized when they died young. It would be our task to live that dream for them and we did it with great joy and amazement. On our way to Tahiti we stopped over in Hawaii together and the spell was cast. We’d return to these islands another 20 plus times. Sometimes we’d come three times per year, sometimes we’d come for up to a month. It’s a place that captured our hearts like no other.
The memories are many and with a wide combination of friends who adventured with us and others who moved here because they took up the addiction, too. Hawaii brought out the best in our water bond; swimming, snorkeling, body surfing, paddling, and of course the laughter we infused in one another when we bobbed around in the waves floating like those babies in the womb. Although we all miss her terribly on this trip, we are taking solace in our memories of her in the water and we are finding the strength to start over. She of all people would want us to continue the adventures for her the same way we lived the dream for my Mom and Dad in Tahiti. The water is as blue as ever, it is healing, it is challenging, its beautiful. Moving forward I swim for both mermaids. I will cherish each time the way I cherish her. It is in all of us to continue her water story. To love it and protect it. To find ways to encourage others to do the same. When you are out in the water think of her. She will be with you. Although I find myself in tears as I write this passage, I also find myself laughing. I want to leave you with light hearted thoughts. For those of us who truly knew her, we knew her also as a mischief maker and rebel. For all the memories of canoeing and swimming there are many of wild abandon, too. She did not take kindly to those pool signs that say “hours 7:00 to 9:00.” She did not believe in the convention of always keeping your bathing suit on either. There was never a resort pool that she didn’t like to skinny dip in during the late hours of the night. There are legendary tales of her pulling security guards into the hotel pools as they tried to get her out. This
woman was also known for jumping off of bridges in the Pine Barrens bare-ass naked, landing in a flotilla of boy scouts in their canoes. Her escapades were more of the ways she challenged us to live life to the fullest, to dare me to be a rebel too, to make us all laugh and to let go of the rules. Water presented her with a canvas to be her own true self. ELLEN SOUTHARD has 29 years’ experience in the A/E/C industry. She was an early adopter of building and site certifications and a founding member of Cascadia Green Building Council. Her firm Site Story is focused on social capitol building for
community planning and furthering green building practices. In 2016 Ellen was named Sustainable Seattle’s Community Hero and Hero of Salmon. She volunteers for Girl Scouts of Western Washington leading and is an Oxfam America Ambassador and a member of the Puget Sound Partnership Environmental Caucus. She is currently attending Cornell University studying Diversity and Social Inclusion. 15
Sea to Cedar Summit MCLENNAN DESIGN PARNTERS CHRISTINE LINTOTT AND JASON F. MCLENNAN RECENTLY TRAVELED BY INVITATION TO NIMMO BAY AND ALERT BAY NEAR THE NORTHERN TIP OF VANCOUVER ISLAND TO PARTICIPATE IN A WEEKEND OF PLANNING WITH THE MUSGAMAGW FIRST NATION. IN A Q + A WITH MCLENNAN, WE DISCUSSED THIS OPPORTUNITY AND THE AMBITIOUS GOALS OF THIS PROJECT.
Q: TELL ME HOW THIS TRIP CAME ABOUT. WHAT WAS ITS PURPOSE, AND HOW DID YOU END UP ON THE INVITE LIST? JFM: Power to Give, our host for this trip, supports community based health and wellness initiatives, particularly focused on Canada’s northern communities. This particular trip I was invited on because their Director of Giving, Tim Cormode, heard me talk in Victoria. He had already been working closely with Christine when we met. Christine and I were part of a larger group of people from all over Canada—funders, influencers, people with specific relevant skills—funded through Power to Give to attend this three-day brainstorming session. The Musgamagw First Nation in the Broughton Archipelago—just across from the tip of Vancouver Island, BC—has a dynamic young
chief, K’odi Nelson. Chief K’odi has a vision of reasserting their presence on this traditional territory, reestablishing their stewardship role, and reconnecting to their traditional culture and language. In addition to wanting to stem illegal logging and poaching, there is a strong desire to also protect cultural assets. Their language is dying out as the elders pass on; there are less and less fluent speakers every year. So Chief K’odi has this idea to put together a cultural center and eco-lodge on this ancestral land that would establish a physical presence for programs of stewardship and also provide a place for a language training and cultural immersion.
The delegation, including Jason F. McLennan and Christine Lintott, with tribal edlers in the Big House at Gwa-yas-dums. Photo by Brodie Guy and used with permission.
Our job is to support the design process for creating the necessary infrastructure for the Nation.
Chief K’odi has a vision of reasserting their presence on this traditional territory, reestablishing their stewardship role, and reconnecting to their traditional culture and language. Q: BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THE PROCESS OF GETTING TO NIMMO BAY.
The 1930s Grumman Goose at Nimmo Bay.
JFM: Getting to Nimmo Bay was a process because all my planes got canceled from weather. I ended up having to drive to Vancouver, which was not how I was supposed to get there—I was supposed to get there
by float plane. They chartered a little jet that took us from Vancouver to Port Hardy, which is where the road ends on Vancouver Island. And then from there we took a really cool 1930s Grumman Goose float plane to Nimmo Bay where we landed in the water. Then we were on boats going to the Big House on Alert Bay, then we were on a helicopter, and another boat… Q: UPON ARRIVAL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE SPIRIT OF THE PLACE AND THE PEOPLE GATHERED THERE? JFM: We visited Alert Bay where the Musgamagw have a cultural center and where there was a residential school. Later we visited the Big House in Gwa-yas-dums village on Gilford Island where we met Chief Robert Joseph, Bobby Joe, who talked about reconciliation, which
was incredible. We also met with several elders and they shared their support for the vision. When we first arrived we were welcomed by a whole group of Native elders drumming and singing us a welcome. We were greeted with an unbelievably warm welcome—very formal—with speeches and certain activities for which we don’t have any analogues in our culture; it felt so thin compared to theirs. Then we went by helicopter to the proposed project site at the end of Bond Sound to get a sense of the land there and hold a ceremony. There’s a ritual for everything. It was palpable; this is the culture that has been subjugated and yet they are the ones that still have the stronger culture. How is it that the supposed conquered is the stronger culture and the conquerors have the weaker culture? It was obvious in a profound way that we needed them more than they needed us. We had more to learn. When you think about reconciliation it’s about the apology, we’re apologizing to you. But it’s also, or more like, we have something more to learn, it’s for our own good. It’s much deeper. You don’t realize that until you’re really presented with it. That was really the spirit and highlight of the trip. Q: DESCRIBE THE LAND—FROM THE SKY, FROM THE WATER’S EDGE… JFM: From the sky, when the clouds parted and the sun came out, it was one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. Imagine the view you get when the Olympics are out—that sort of “wow!” Make them twice as big, almost, and closer, and you’ll get a sense of what I
saw. And then if you think about what you like about the islands here in Puget Sound, multiply that by ten in quantity. In the foreground you have hundreds of rich green, forested islands, and the backdrop is a wall of glaciers and snowy peaks. And the other difference is, there’s nobody there. It’s pure wilderness. It doesn’t have the annoying bit where you look down and you see a bad development. just the wildness and untouched nature of the place was really powerful.
Musgamagw Big House in Gwa-yas-dums village, Gilford Island.
The power of the tide was also on full display—because there is no development, and because the original forest comes down to the water, there’s a knife’s edge perfect line that runs around everything. It’s this incredible effect, like someone put a level up and drew a perfect line. It’s the fluctuating level of the salt water that creates this effect, which leaves a line on the rock and draws a sharp vegetation line as well. I don’t know why, but it really stuck with me. Here we’ve interrupted these boundaries. I kept using the word epic the whole weekend. It was so big—larger than life.
Editorial photo: shutterstock.com 20
How to Really Make America Great Again PARTICIPATING IN DEEP NATIONAL HEALING BY JASON F. MCLENNAN
f we’re really serious about making America great again, then the path starts through reconciliation.
Sitting in the Big House (a traditional indigenous community gathering building) in Gwa-yasdums on Gilford Island along with a group of leaders from across the region and beyond, I listen to Chief Robert Joseph (Bobby Joe) of the Gwawaenuk First Nation in British Columbia speak about Canada’s process of Reconciliation and what it means. He speaks about reconciliation with the Canadian Government and about the experience of the residential schools. This sad chapter in Canadian history dishonored whole communities and ancient cultural practices and brutally separated families in order to force language, religion and a different culture on first nations people across the country. As if the intended cultural genocide wasn’t enough, abuse was rampant in the residential schools, and the treatment of students dehumanizing. Bobby Joe lived through that process and has emerged as one of the most influential and eloquent speakers around healing and reconciliation.
Reconciliation really, at the heart of it all, is this idea of love: of loving yourself, of loving others, and we all can be driven by that as we try to determine what that looks like, and where and how and when it will start. Reconciliation isn’t just for Aboriginal people and churches and governments, it’s for all of us. And so we need you, we need you to be a part of this great dream, this idea that we can live together in this country, together as one.
-Chief Robert Joseph
Yet when he spoke there was no anger in his voice. Only love, 21
wisdom and perspective. When he finished there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Reconciliation is a way of living and being he said, and through his message I began to truly understand what he meant. When we fundamentally come to terms as a people and nation with our past, it is not a passive thing; it is not merely apologizing or acknowledging past wrongs but instead a process of deep systemic healing. And it isn’t something that is done “for them” it is something that we do for “us.” The healing process is for all of us—the culture that has suffered, but also for the culture that has imposed itself and caused the suffering. And it is an ongoing, living process, not a once and done spectacle.
A process of reparations and mature national dialogue starts with an acknowledgement of a different view of history: that America is only ‘great’ because it was built on the back of a lot of suffering, exploitation, genocide, racism and environmental degradation.
What surprised me the most as I experienced Chief Robert Joseph’s words, was how deeply they affected me. As someone who already supported the idea of reconciliation, having seen how reparations and reconciliation processes in New 22
Zealand were strengthening the culture there, I was not prepared for how powerfully impactful bringing the process home in my heart to my own country, reflecting on my own nation’s history would be. And yet, this article is not about Canada, it is about the United States – a wonderful country that I have called home now for longer than I lived in Canada. A country where I have built a life, family and career. And a country that perhaps more than any other in the world, needs to come to grips with its past and to build an authentic and sustained process of reconciliation with multiple cultures and people from whom the American Dream has been withheld. As a Canadian who has now lived in the US for 27 years, married an American, and founded businesses here, I have really begun to understand this country. I love the people, the culture, and the innovation. But I also cringe at many other things. In some of the stories Americans tell themselves, I see alarming, propagandist national myths. Every nation has them, but the USA’s are particularly strong— perhaps directly proportional to this country’s wealth and power. Canadians are the perfect observers of American culture, especially “clean cut” Caucasian Canadians like me. It’s like being invited into the backroom; people assume I’m American—I look and sound American—and as a fellow white male they let down their guard fully. I’ve been privy to goings on in the business world that would shock and upset a lot of people; I’ve heard the locker room talk and the true state of commerce, and yes, the very real white privilege that exists.
There is shocking white privilege in this country. Yet, since I am Canadian and not American, when I go abroad, I also get a true sense of how other nations view America. “Oh, your Canadian, I thought you were American,” they say, and then they proceed to tell me what they really think of the United States. I do think this is one of the greatest countries in the world, perhaps one of the greatest in modern history. There is much to be proud of, and yet almost every nation cringes at the rhetoric that routinely comes out of the US political landscape about just how superior this country is or was depending on which mythology is being championed. But what is generally left unsaid, is the US is a
country with a deeply checkered past and troubling mythologies that hold it back by propagating significant pain and division, manifesting nowadays politically. For America to truly be “great again” (to play on the crazy rhetoric of the Trump campaign tagline), it needs to examine the excessive white male privilege that is ingrained within its institutions and cultural norms. The false nostalgia for social simplicity with cultural norms and institutions that prop up that privilege are the very qualities that have diminished America and keep it from greatness today. These are also the very qualities of the American empire that trouble most of the world.
Above: Native American tribes came together in 2016 in unprecedented solidarity to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. Editorial photo: shutterstock.com
From my vantage, to truly make America great requires beginning a deep process of healing and reconciliation that can only be done through a sustained, honest and at times painful dialogue that truly recognizes the injustice of the past and present, and acknowledges how these injustices continue to affect its people today. A process of reparations and mature national dialogue starts with an acknowledgement of a different view of history: that America is only “great” because it was built on the back of a lot of suffering, exploitation, genocide, racism and environmental degradation. The US is the world’s top empire currently. Empires are only ever built on the backs of people and the environment; that is a core part of the definition of empire because it requires the dominance of multiple cultures and peoples with a centralized ideology and power structure. America isn’t unique in this regard. Exploitation is the M.O. of any dominant empire, and the British, Spanish, French, Portuguese (to name a few) have modeled this to devastating global effect in pursuit of the far-flung empires they controlled—including, of course, this country. A lot of this suffering stemmed from Europe, and these countries need their own major processes of reconciliation. But it was carried on willingly and ruthlessly by Americans for the next couple centuries. True greatness and the realization of many of America’s healthiest and loftiest ideals will only be realized through a new, authentically honest national dialogue about its past and an honest accounting of who was held down so that others
could be lifted up. Emerging from that dialogue we’ll need a multidecade process of active reparations and reconciliations—the process through which a whole nation can greatly heal from its past, honor and acknowledge who has suffered the most, and advance the nation together as a whole. New Zealand as we know it today had a similar colonial start as part of the British empire, whereby a white, Christian culture subdued native peoples and took over another cultural tradition entirely. Recently, New Zealand has invested in the kind of process of healing I am promoting the US undertake. Their reconciliation process has resulted in a more beautiful, culturally rich nation. It’s not perfect, and they would admit they have a long way to go, but it’s bringing cultures together in a new and regenerative way. The Australian “welcome to country” that opens every meeting and discussion in that colonial country is a constant acknowledgement that reconciliation is not done once and forgotten, but is a living tradition of respect, apology, forgiveness, and unity. More recently, Canada has begun this journey of reconciliation, which has included returning significant native lands to indigenous control and admitting to and apologizing for terrible policies enacted on first nations people, like the horrific policy of residential schools and reservations. Reconciliation in the US will perhaps be a more nuanced and complex undertaking than in most countries where the need exists; the legacy of pain is wide and deep and multifaceted here. The complexity and daunting nature of the issues here
Facing page: the Black Lives Matter and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women social justice campaigns have brought attention to basic social inequities that plague America today: racism and the intersection of racism and violence against women. 25
result in a nation that generally skirts around the issues at best or denies them altogether. Avoidance is an immature and dangerous trend to carry in the national psyche decade after decade, as it allows for extreme and dangerous views to stay alive that manifest as hate crimes and violence. It also means that the country is at risk of toggling between two ends of an unhealthy spectrum: unapologetic racism on one end and a hyper sensitive political correctness on the other. While the latter approach may at times serve to shine a light on the right issues, it also tends to paralyze and polarize by using shame and blame instead of unity, forgiveness and love. This country has had its moments of greatness. Perhaps America will find its next MLK: someone who can lead the nation in the kind of honesty that will elevate it to true greatness where the rights and freedoms of all people are upheld, and ideas and values worth emulating are advanced, perhaps finally approaching what its framing documents set forth as aspirational. I don’t know if this leader should be black, white, brown or yellow, man or woman or transgendered. I do know that white men of substance— those who still represent the culture and gender that has benefited the most from the exploitation of minorities—will have to step up in large numbers. This reconciliation process requires establishing a sustained movement, building on the momentum of various recent social justice campaigns like Black Lives Matter and the Womxn’s March, that somehow reaches across the aisle in a more fulsome, complete, and deep manner. It should not be the black community alone proclaiming that
Black Lives Matter; it should not be women alone marching in the streets for gender equality. It is imperative that those who have historically held them back—privileged white men— join in these causes. Reparations do not mean that any single individual today is responsible for the actions of their ancestors. I am not suggesting people should feel shame and guilt and despise their own history in order to elevate the history and culture of historically oppressed peoples. I am quite proud of my Scottish and French heritage! Trading negative energy for negative energy will not be generative. Looking to the past for reparations is an act of healing, whereby we can truly acknowledge the pain inflicted by our ancestors on other people. This reflection is not mutually exclusive with being proud of the many wonderful things our culture has produced. Maturity requires we sit with this nuance and complexity. History happened. It must be acknowledged and stripped of the kind of energy and power that has held this nation back in so many critical ways while no longer allowing it to be forgotten or brushed under the rug. Part of that process requires recognizing the patterns and shackles that still exist today and a willingness to break cycles that continue to repeat and hold many back. Currently, because of the unacknowledged pain and lack of reconciliation, a healthy conversation about race in America doesn’t exist. Here people can’t talk about race without being labeled racist, and so they don’t. In America, people can’t share their experiences freely without touching places of unspoken anger and resentment. In America,
1944—These four pilots flew domestic routes in World War II with the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, whose mission was to relieve their male counterparts of domestic duties for overseas combat. Stories like this demonstrate admirable American mythologies worth celebrating and emulating. Image: Public Domain and courtesy of the Department of Defense.
If you must have mythologies, these are some good ones: this country’s wonderful ability to create community, its unmatched levels of volunteering and charity, its incredible entrepreneurial spirit and plucky can do attitude, its sense of justice and obligation to safeguard all people’s inalienable rights and freedoms, its intolerance of bullies and willingness to protect the few from the many, its belief in merit based achievement, its understanding of the need for a separation of church and state—many of the ideas of the founders, really. 27
From the book Revelations of a Slave Smuggler, published in 1860. Illustrated here is the hold of the slave ship Gloria.
everything gets labeled and pushed to one side of a political or social or racist divide or another. Mansplaining, whitesplaining, blacksplaining—these words are effectively ending fledgling dialogue by negating the legitimacy of the contributions of entire groups of people around issues that affect us all. This is not the hallmark of maturity or greatness. America can do better. America should embrace the path of reconciliation fully because we are stronger together, we are more resilient together, and we are greater—indeed only great— together. America is great because of its diversity, its immigrant history and its roots as a haven: “Bring me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” These words have been
forgotten. Too many falsely imagine themselves as the original inhabitants of a land that was in fact stolen from other peoples. They imagine a culture that couldn’t have been created— American food, music, art, clothing— without the contributions of people from all corners of the world. Reconciliation requires we reexamine the dangerous or unhealthy mythologies that hold this country back. I believe the US is easily the most mythologically based culture in the world, rich with stories about individualism, manifest destiny, the role of faith in society, consumerism and consumption, American exceptionalism, self-protection vs. community protection, etc. In my opinion, each of these stories weaken the nation and undermine
other healthier mythologies that should be nurtured and held as core to what it means to be American. What are the mythologies we should champion? If you must have mythologies, these are some good ones: this country’s wonderful ability to create community, its unmatched levels of volunteering and charity, its incredible entrepreneurial spirit and plucky can do attitude, its sense of justice and obligation to safeguard all people’s inalienable rights and freedoms, its intolerance of bullies and willingness to protect the few from the many, its belief in merit based achievement, its understanding of the need for a separation of church and state— many of the original ideas of the founders, really. So, where do we begin? Anywhere might be fine and multiple places at once, too. We might consider building a reconciliation in chronological order, beginning with reconciliation and reparations made towards the indigenous peoples of this country. There must be a public reckoning of the genocide, the cultural appropriations, the outright theft and murder, of millions of people who were the first inhabitants of this land. Land grabs and relegation to marginalized places, broken treaties and the decimation of cultures, knowledge and language— these atrocities take many, many generations to recover from. And healing cannot begin until the ongoing diminishment, debasement, and lack of respect afforded to our first nations people in this country is acknowledged and reversed. The truth needs to be held in the sunlight and taught to our children for years, not hours. Reconciliation needs to then
There then needs to be a reconciliation with African Americans, and an acknowledgement of the brutal history of slavery that built this country and still echoes here today in the form of violence, upheaval, vicious racism, and the marginalization and segregation of black families. transition to Reparations. The first step in repairing right relationship with America’s indigenous peoples is to begin honoring the treaties we’ve made with these sovereign nations. This restores dignity to these nations and lays the groundwork for the repair of our relationships. We now have many examples of what the process of reconciliation and reparations might look like. No approach is perfect, but we have much to learn from the world in this regard. Looking to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee that guided that nation through a healing process from the devastating effects of Apartheid, and to New Zealand, Australia, and Canada’s reconciliation processes with their indigenous populations will provide us with frameworks and lessons on what has worked and what has not. There then needs to be a reconciliation with African 29
Americans, and an acknowledgement of the brutal history of slavery that built this country and still echoes here today in the form of violence, upheaval, vicious racism, and the marginalization and segregation of black families. Again, the admission of the ongoing racial profiling, policies of incarceration, and economic injustices suffered by African Americans is foundational to repairing relationships. Next, we need a reconciliation with the Mexican and Hispanic people of this nation—an acknowledgement that much of the United States was
Above: The Womxn’s March in the United States in January 2017 saw as many as 5 million people take to the streets across the country with a simple message: women’s rights are human rights. Below: Reconciliation with Mexican and Hispanic peoples requires a hard look at racist immigration policies today. Editorial photos: shutterstock.com 30
taken by force from others who had begun to build a nation in huge areas now within the United States. Recognizing the broad and rich history of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and how a lack of acknowledgement of wrongdoing continues to fuel racist policies of immigration and attitudes towards Hispanic people is again necessary. Once a healthy reparation and reconciliation is in progress, it will become easier to acknowledge all aspects of a history: how Asians were brought over in the 1880s for cheap and dangerous labor and
simultaneously marginalized, and how wave after wave of various immigrants from eastern Europe, the middle east, and Asia have been mistreated. This can then lead to an honest acknowledgement of American foreign policy, especially since WWII, when the US’s global empire took its full shape. For many nations on the receiving end of disastrous US foreign policies, in which we’ve interfered in unscrupulous and immoral ways for political gain, we represent the very opposite of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” espoused in our founding documents. Living with the complexity of admitting to our faults while simultaneously celebrating all the wonderful ways America has made the world better— like its role in ending WWII—is a difficult but necessary step in maturing as a nation. Finally, a true process of reconciliation must cross from discussions of race and nation to gender and gender orientation, with a full acknowledgement that women, who have also built this nation, have done so while having to bear the burden of servitude, violence and marginalization. This is not a clarion call to collective shame. You do not tear yourself down when you acknowledge the past, you build everyone up equally together. This recognition is a prerequisite to building a more perfect union. There is white privilege because of history, because of things our ancestors in this country did. We’ve inherited privileges at the expense of many. White Americans can still stand tall and proud of so many things and can maintain pride in their ancestors’ positive accomplishments, good deeds,
Chief Robert Joseph addressing the Sea to Cedar Summit group in the Big House in the village of Gwa-yas-dums on Gilford Island in May. Photo: Brodie Guy For more information on Chief Robert Joseph’s work, visit the Reconciliation Canada website: https:// reconciliationcanada.ca/about/team/chief-dr-robertjoseph/. Click here to see Chief Robert Joseph’s bilingual TEDx Talk.
great inventions, and achievements. The many kindnesses and acts of compassion from our history deserve celebration and emulation. For here is a fundamental truth: all peoples, all around the world, have done good things and bad, saintly things and ghastly things. Much is lost to history, but no race or culture has a perfect or entirely imperfect record of deeds. In this country, right now, these are the issues and the history that is undealt with and must be addressed. This is the path to greatness for the earnest and dominant world empire.
JASON F. McLENNAN is a highly sought out designer, consultant and thought leader. Prior to founding McLennan Design, Jason authored the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive green building program in existence, and founded the International Living Future Institute. He is the author of six books on Sustainability and Design including the Philosophy of Sustainable Design, “the bible for green building.” 31
Kids These Days
BY ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION STUDENT ABBY STORROW (WORDS IN ITALICS) AND EDUCATOR ADAM ROBB
n May 1st, 28 high school students and 4 chaperones, including myself, arrived in Seattle (Duwamish Territory) on a perfectly sunny, spring day after a 15-hour bus ride from Calgary, Alberta (Treaty 7 Territory, traditional home of the tribes within the Blackfoot Confederacy). The stated purpose of this field trip was to learn more about green building technologies and green design. The unstated purpose of the trip was far more than that.
Above: Educator Adam Robbâ€™s Energy and Environmental Innovation students at the Amazon Spheres on their recent visit to Seattle for the Living Future unConference. 32
After spending fifteen or more hours on a bus, we ended up in Seattle to attend the Living Future unConference. Although the ride was extensively long, the importance behind being involved in change for this group of students far outweighed
the inconvenience. I co-teach (with Lauren Elliott) a public high school program called Energy and Environmental Innovation in Calgary. The program is available to all high school students across the city through a unique career pathway strategy started by the Calgary Board of Education years ago. This Energy and Environmental education is not a common program style offered to students in Calgary or in the province. In fact, we are one of three remaining Natural Science based programs (other than ecoclubs) in the province. That being said, our students accomplish an amazing amount. They all work on real community-based projects to improve everything from food security to Indigenous rights to
energy efficiency. Our program, and school in fact, has been recognized by the Canadian Green Building Council as the Greenest School in Canada. Thanks to the work of our students, I recently received the distinction of Canadian Environmental Educator of the Year. The Office of Economic Cooperation and Development and America Achieves recognized our program as “world-leading.” The list goes on and on from the last six years that the program has existed. In my eyes, it’s quite simple. We are demonstrating that by simply giving an opportunity to students to create real solutions for real problems, amazing things can happen. We’ve collaborated on projects with various Environmental NGO’s, government agencies, major energy
companies (Enmax, Cenovus, Suncor, Chevron, BP, etc.), other schools (at all levels), local Reserves and many more. One of the only rules around the project-based learning that we have in place is that for every project, students must work with an outside expert or organization to help create real change. All this takes place in an amazing multi-purpose lab environment filled with grow stations and construction space. Every adult that visits our living laboratory says the same thing: “I wish I had this when I was in school.” The program attracts students from every end of every spectrum and everywhere in between. Approximately 10% of the students identify as First Nations or Metis. We throw them all together and offer great outdoor experiences as a way to get everyone together. After this,
Below: Adam Robb’s Energy and Environmental Innovation Classroom.
they seem to love coming to class. All that being said, the general tone in our class discussions is defeatist. In response to events in the news we talk about, I regularly hear things like: “People are so stupid and selfish.” “I would never bring kids into this world.” “We’ll all be dead by then anyway.” Even students who are making real change, who are seen as leaders in our community, say things like this. From what I can tell, these anxiety and fear-based statements come from a place of distrust. The feeling that even with all the evidence in the world, decision-makers will still not help to create change. They have a strong feeling that their voices don’t matter. Being an Albertan youth environmentalist with a family background of oil and gas and living in a place where roughly a quarter of jobs are related to oil and gas, you can imagine how hard it is to feel like my voice is being heard.
Facing page, clockwise from top: youth climate actions are happening around the world and Friday school strikes have reached Alberta, as well; Energy and Environmental Innovation student Simon with a honeycomb panel; oil sands development in northern Alberta. 34Alex Mondau image:
Alberta currently holds the 3rd largest proven reserve of oil in the world thanks to the rich deposits along the Athabasca River where the oil literally seeps out of the sand along the banks. Climate science, while accepted by most major energy companies—many of which have headquarters within 5 miles of our classroom—is still a debatable issue amongst many in our province. Days before our departure, Alberta held its election. The focal issues of the election were centered around the energy industry as you might expect. The United Conservative Party won a decisive victory on a platform that promised to cut the
carbon tax, expedite new pipeline projects to get our resources to tide water, cut red tape (Ministry of Red Tape Reduction – not in conjunction with Monty Python) around the energy industry, and create a $30 million war room to fight misinformation coming from opponents of the oil and gas industry. The war room would be funded mainly from the remaining levies on major industrial emitters. I (heart) Alberta oil stickers have become the most common bumper sticker. Concurrently, a youth awakening in the climate crisis has occurred worldwide. Led by the courageously stubborn Greta Thunberg, Friday school strikes have reached Alberta too. Perhaps these strikes and marches aren’t as big as in other places, but they are happening. Some of our students help organize these #fridaysforthefuture. Most of our students say they prefer not to hold signs and march. Simon said he’d rather learn to become a beekeeper and was helping his family get their first hives this spring. The reassurance that there are people who care about the same issues we are passionate about and who work on projects that make actual money while moving towards a green future is refreshing. Riding 15 hours on a bus to visit Seattle and attending such a forward-thinking conference was indeed an attempt to refresh and reassure these students. It’s not that some amazing green advancements aren’t happening here; ironically while in Seattle we learned about the Calgary Zoo’s panda exhibit earning petal certification! As many of you know, the right field trip experience
Attending and presenting at the Living Future unConference as a high school student made me realize that if the voices of small town youth have the potential to be truly heard in the company of such inspiring change-makers, then no effort to raise your voice is ever wasted. Today, I work as a Public Outreach Education Officer for Parks Canada at the Palisades Stewardship Education Centre in Jasper National Park. As part of the education team, I share my passion for sustainability and outdoor experiential education with people of all ages, through multi-day environmental stewardship and nature-immersion programs, with a special focus on elementary through high school grades. I aspire to mentor youth to become critical thinkers and responsible global citizens, by raising their collective voice to effect change. â€”Theresa Westhaver 36
Theresa Westhaver presented at the Living Future unConference as a high school student in 2011. She now is an environmental educator with Parks Canada. 37
during your formative years can have a lasting impact and help you better understand your own home. I brought them to Seattle, a city that is working to embrace living future principles, so they could see examples of what they had been studying and working on in real life. I wanted them to walk the stairs in the Bullitt Center, perhaps the worldâ€™s greenest office building. I wanted the wonderful people at MillerHull Architecture to change their perception of normal. I wanted them to hear about all of these changes in society from somebody other than me.
Jason F. McLennan and educator Adam Robb at the 2019 Living Future unConference in Seattle, Washington.
We needed to meet with someone like Jason McLennan, a hockey playing Canadian kid from a mining city, who is out there making real, tangible change in the green building industry. I wanted them to hear his story and to hear him swear and get a sense of how much of a stubborn idealist he is (or just stubborn depending on who you ask). So we met with him and he answered every question they had. Most of the questions were anxiety or fear-based questions. When asked about how to maintain hope even though we see and hear so much wrong with the world, McLennan (to paraphrase) told them that he remains resilient through action. As long as he keeps acting to better things and working with good people, heâ€™s going to stay hopeful. Students can identify with him both because of the swearing and because they feel that if they had his knowledge, they would have started something as well. They would have listened to the warnings from scientists and done something. They can see themselves in him and I think
SPACE RESERVED FOR VIDEO PIECE OF BEN ASKING QUESTION OF MARY ROBINSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF IRELAND
Energy and Environmental Innovation student Ben Russell asks former Irish President, Mary Robinson, a question about hope at 2019’s Living Future unConference.
vice versa. After listening to a majority of passionate speakers one main message came out of it: hope. With the work that we do in our class, mainly community projects or construction pieces that are sold locally, sometimes we struggle to see whether we are having an impact. Seeing examples of living buildings was inspiring. Hearing of corporations or governments that are working tirelessly to motivate climate action was also inspiring and we want to join in. This was not my first time to Seattle to visit Living Future with students. Bringing students in the past had some tremendous outcomes. Having high school students sit and even present for Living Future attendees is a winning educational formula that I had gotten away from. When teaching in one of the world’s most beautiful towns inside Jasper
National Park, I wanted to give these students some “know-how” of how to sustain their unique mountain home for generations to come. The results were incredible. So many of those students who attended those conferences in their high school years have gone on to do some amazing things. When I returned to Seattle this past spring and saw the impact it had on our students, I was reminded of all these incredible outcomes that are possible when students are given the opportunity to take part in these conversations. As an educator, green building is the jackpot of educational value. Essentially, the Living Building Challenge forces us to look at problems from many different angles. Creating a certified living building is the ultimate problem to be solved and it requires passions for a variety of things. Such a “problem” can only be solved with a community effort involving designers, artists, builders, 39
scientists, doctors, inventors, manufacturers, government representatives, elders and children. The Living Building Challenge forces us to value the diversity of talents and interests of people in order to respect the diversity of the ecosystems we are impacting. After touring the Bullitt Center and then meeting with the team at Miller-Hull Architects we started to understand living buildings and all of their purposes. I started thinking about how we spend so much time at school, a time and place where education is meant to be at the forefront, but we are so disconnected from anything living. We can’t move forward with improving education until we start to accommodate for the fact that we are part of nature, not isolated from it because it’s unnecessary or too distracting. Now, our class is more ready than ever to spread these movements in our own communities. The timing couldn’t have been better. Seeing our new political powers starting to move into action, pushing for pipelines without a climate plan and the backtracking of our education system, our youth voice is needed more than ever. We are beginning to be part of school climate strikes, and that’s just the beginning. More than anything, the school strikes across the world, along with some other youth-driven campaigns demonstrate that there are some major misconceptions about youth in our society today. The most common misconception of youth is that they don’t care and that they would rather play endless amounts of video games or take a million pictures of themselves. I’ve also heard that this generation is entitled and soft. 40
I think it’s important to remember that most of a child’s behaviors were taught to them somehow. They are not naturally addicted to technology or social media. They are addicted to finding connections and finding selfworth. The thing to know here is that these behaviors are signs that part of their lives are not being fulfilled. They have hungry brains and hungry hearts (let alone how much they eat). They want meaningful experiences and to feel that they themselves are meaningful. Herein lies an opportunity at an educational level, but also in terms of how we view youth in our society: Let’s get students working together to solve the major issues facing our species. Let’s create opportunities where they can meaningfully contribute to the design and sustainability of our buildings, parks, schools and more. That is what we are doing here in our program. Just giving the opportunities and supporting the students on their own journeys. We also thought about how the school strikes across the world, our country, and our province are inspiring. However, we also need youth to step up wherever they are and demand more of a living future. Students can’t rebuild their own schools, but they can help to make changes inspired by the petals of the Living Building Challenge. As we rode the bus home (another 15 hours), when not sleeping or binge-watching The Office, we contemplated a way to bring the energy of the Greta movement to the reality and chaos of real change. How could we help inspire real, community-supported actions behind the school walkouts?
Attending the Living Future conference inspired me to pursue a career in engineering so I could work on cutting edge technical solutions to the challenges that face our world. In my former role at CadMakers, I worked on a project that made use of Virtual Reality and Machine Learning to help automate the design process and improve how buildings are built. I am now a co-founder of Studio Technologies, a startup focusing on solving hard problems in creative industries. â€”Doug Matthews 2011 unConference Presenter and Energy and Environmetnal Innovation Student 41
Abby and others talked about the potential of schools achieving petal certification within the scope of what students can help to control. What standard could we apply to schools that would be stringent enough to reflect LBC, but would also recognize limitations to student control over a building? How can we have more living schools? When making projects, students could learn connections to the petals, and how each student’s work could be recognized as part of a bigger movement. We think this involvement will lead to bigger innovations in the future. A living future requires students to have more knowledge of their place in the world. This includes more of a sense of culture, connections, and knowledge of land. Traveling to Seattle and having such experiences gave our students a better sense of their place in the world and the motivation to share this knowledge with other youth. They’ve had this incredible experience of seeing what’s possible in a living future while becoming more aware of the challenges our home communities face in order to get there. There are no easy answers to sustainability. However, getting the opportunity to create a brighter future for their family and friends will push these students to do some pretty amazing things, I’d bet money on it.
Everyone we meet wants to support these youth change makers and are envious of the opportunities that these students have been given. So perhaps the best way for voices to be heard is to just start working on the solutions. Youth need to understand where they come from. They need to understand how they live impacts the environment and their own health. They need more connection.
Facing page, above: The Energy and Environmental Innovation cohort at Living Future 2019. Below: EEI students and teachers start each year by getting into the mountains, in this instance cannoeing on Lake Edith in Jasper National Park.
Abby and her classmates are ready to get going at the start of next school year. They are collaborating with the Alberta Chapter of the Canadian Green Building Council to get youth from across the province to participate in this year’s Alberta Sustainable Building Symposium. They are working to create an indoor community garden on our school site to make up for the fact that our grow season is so short. They have an order in to change all the bulbs in our school to LED’s. They applied for more solar. They are planning a “Canadian Rockies Youth Summit” to talk about the future of national parks like Banff, Jasper, Yoho, Glacier and Waterton. They are pushing for more education like their own across the province. And so much more. They are doing real things, solving real problems and, as we all do in the real world, making real mistakes. But they know what a living future can look like and this makes such a big difference. The drive was worth it.
Despite being up against some difficult odds in a difficult political climate to push for environmental change, they don’t seem as melancholic as they did before. What’s interesting is that the more the students do, the more our own community throws support at them. 43
SPACE RESERVED FOR VIDEO PIECE ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION CLASS
Environmental Educator of the Year award. Adam is attempting to create the type of high school program that he wants his daughters to experience when they get of age.
ABBY STORROW, at 16, has become an environmental leader in the province of Alberta because of her ability to get all types of people on board and excited about new environmental initiatives. For her work, she was nominated for the City of Calgary Youth of Distinction award. This is only the beginning of the influence and change she hopes to inspire in her community and beyond. She is also an accomplished multisport athlete from a great and supportive family. 44
ADAM ROBB is a Calgary-based public-school teacher attempting to help youth acquire the experience and skills needed to become active changemakers in their own communities. A career highlight was receiving the Living Future Hero Award in 2012 for generating Living Building Challenge awareness for youth to take action in their town, and abroad. For these efforts, he also was the recipient of the 2013 Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2018 Canadian
The Garden of Secrets ill age w p t s i a r th g th e n i y a n l e eo p n op d i o v p r u lay e fo c p a y l p l s tica a m o aut
y sitting down and observing and paying attention to [nature], you start to notice specific adaptations,” says McLennan Design Partner Christine Lintott in a new documentary, “The Garden of Secrets.” The creative media studio at Vancouver-based Tealeaves, in partnership with UBC Botanical Garden, crafted this piece, which features a number of Biomimicry experts expressing different facets of a shared vision for a future in which humanity engages with nature in a more respectful and regenerative relationship, informed by the principles of biomimicry. “As a designer, for me, [nature provides] massive inspiration for thinking about a building, because buildings themselves are also very much in place. And if we do our buildings right, they’re adapted to all those same conditions,” continues Lintott. “The Garden of Secrets” premiered on May 18th at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City, followed by screenings in San Francisco and Vancouver. 45
MCLENNAN DESIGN AND CHRISTINE LINTOTT JOIN FORCES New Combined Architecture Firm Launches
KANSAS CITY, MO
CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL PRESS RELEASE.
McLennan Design is pleased to announce that it is forging an intentional alliance with Christine Lintott Architects (CLA) in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The two firms are integrating to deliver on their shared mission of expanding the boundaries of regenerative architecture, planning, consulting and product design work all over the world; thought leadership manifest in actual projects. The combined team, which will continue to be known as McLennan Design, (except in the Canadian market where Christine Lintott Architects will maintain its identity) has effectively doubled each practice’s size, capacity, experience and impact. The alliance now has three partners— Jason F. McLennan, Christine Lintott, and Dale Duncan—with offices in Seattle, Victoria, and Kansas City. After multiple successful collaborations over the past several years, the two firms have committed to formally aligning their processes and services in order to scale each firms’ impact and outreach. The combined firm, marketed as McLennan Design, works in multiple sectors including higher education, K-12, environmental centers, hospitality, retail, housing and corporate office. Moving forward, the expanded McLennan Design will put its combined team to work on net zero, living building, and other industry leading, transformative projects and strives to create new models of architecture, design, and project delivery that are beautiful, regenerative, highly effective, and impactful.
HOME DESIGN FEATURED IN SPRUCE MAGAZINE Haro Strait Residence Designed by Christine Lintott
photo: Joshua Lawrence joshualawrence.ca
Featured on the cover of the summer issue of Spruce, a home and design magazine based out of Victoria, BC, is a custom home on Haro Strait designed by partner Christine Lintott. Author Danielle Pope writes, “From the road, the house flows seamlessly into the landscape, with the sweeping curve of its roofline echoing the environment…the home appears so comfortable in its setting.” CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL PIECE IN SPRUCE
Christine’s signature undulating lines and natural materials palette are complemented by the home’s performance; it is oriented to optimize daylight and has a high performance envelope dramatically reducing its heating and cooling needs paired with radiant floors and HRVs powered by 100% renewable energy via rooftop solar and heat pump. Responsiveness to place is celebrated through both materials and landscaping, with native plants and grasses and the special conservation of an elder cedar. Grounding the home in place are various wood elements—furniture, cabinetry, ceilings, and siding— made from Cowichan Valley cedar and maple milled from the building site. The home also features one of the first installations of a wood curtain wall system. “We are surrounded by an abundant ecosystem on the West Coast, and we believe humans affiliate closely with natural materials,” says Lintott in the piece. “We wanted the very fabric of the building to be the finish, and it’s both animated and accessible.”
SILVER ROCK AND HERON HALL OPENED FOR TOURS 70+ Living Future unConference Participants Visited LBC Homes
Early May saw the thirteenth annual Living Future unConference, hosted by the International Living Future Institute, in Seattle, Washington. This year’s conference—on the theme of Collaboration + Abundance—broke all previous year’s records with 1,300+ attendees.
CLICK HERE TO SILVER ROCK’S WEBSITE AND BLOG. READ ILFI’S RECAP OF THE UNCONFERENCE HERE.
As part of the conference, guests were invited to take the 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle’s downtown to Bainbridge Island, home of McLennan Design and two LBC homes designed by the firm—Heron Hall and Silver Rock. About seventy-five participants accepted this invitation and toured these homes, guided at Heron Hall by architect and homeowner Jason F. McLennan and at Silver Rock by contractor Brant Moore and one of the nearly completed home’s owners. These tours provided guests with an inside look at the various alternative systems and carefully vetted materials required to meet the Challenge’s stringent standards in both a completed and under construction context. In a blog post entitled “Silver Rock Welcomes ILFI Conference Participants” from the home’s website, the owners write that their vision for their home was one of close collaboration with and participation in the Bainbridge Island ecosystem. “We dreamed of a home that would inspire change, produce more energy than it would consume, and restore the ecology and habitat of island land infested with invasive species.” They continue to describe how the Living Building Challenge was chosen as a framework for its conceptually holistic approach, taking into account all factors of building, from social equity issues to ecosystem regeneration considerations.
An Ideal Biophilic Design Process age will p t s i a h h yer t pening t a l p no ideo o v p r u o lay ef spac atically p autom
Biophilic Design is intentionally doing things with design to put people back in a meaningful relationship with nature. —Jason F. McLennan
hipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has just released a brief video piece introducing their unique, integrated design approach to bringing the principles of biophilia into their designs. “An Ideal Biophilic Design Process” chronicles their journey from creating the certified living Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes to contemporary projects, where the integration of biophilic principles has been more rigorously pursued from the inception of the design process. The video highlights the intense integrated design process achieved through five biophilia charrettes that are informing a new project, The Phipps Garden Center at Mellon Park.
To Elon Musk Critics: Fuck Off! A MEASURED RESPONSE FROM AN INDUSTRY LEADER BY JASON F. MCLENNAN 50
have been watching the media and business and auto experts poke at Elon from every angle, criticizing every off-script message or sentiment he makes. Each misstep on Tesla’s part, and every single mishap and malfunction in its cars, is pounced on, often ruthlessly, only sometimes accurately, and mostly unfairly, hypocritically and agenda driven. I’ve further seen direct character assassination from groups tied to other automobiles and the oil industry—in other words people scared of his influence and threatened by his success. To that I have to say— unequivocally—Fuck Off! Here are some things I’d like to underscore to put this in perspective: UPENDING AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY The auto industry has been dominated by a few giant companies for decades now. In their corporate leadership they have a history of trying to squash progressive legislation including everything from the incorporation of basic safety features like seatbelts to increasing vehicles’ efficiency. Their vehicles’ emissions make hundreds of thousands of people sick each year. They have often banded together with oil companies to spread lies and misinformation to the public about climate change and to cover up the deleterious impacts of their industry in truly alarming fashion. Further, many have a history of treating their workers unfairly, fighting their unions, and a terrible track record of abandoning the communities that support them (e.g. Flint and Detroit). Volkswagen very recently engaged in a multi-year campaign to deliberately mislead the US government and
its customers on the cleanliness and emissions of its diesel vehicles, criminal actions for which they are now being punished, yet with very little public focus on their executives who committed these crimes. And it’s Tesla we trash? VASTLY SUPERIOR TECHNOLOGY I first started driving electric cars in the early 2000s. The technology was terrible, the range sucked, and the quality was lousy. Musk and his talented team at Tesla changed all that. Their cars are now the best vehicles in the world—and not by a little, but by a lot. I am someone that travels and rents a lot of cars. I have driven just about every make and model of vehicle out there. I have owned vehicles made by Volkswagen, BMW, Toyota, Chrysler and Saab. When the First Tesla Model S came out, I bought one, and was shocked at how far ahead of these old, large companies it was. The car is the safest on the road—better than a Volvo. It seats up to 7 (if two passengers are little kids) and has more storage space than any vehicle in its class. It goes zero to 60 in just a few seconds, making it faster than a Porsche. It produces no tailpipe emissions. Its driving assist technology has helped me avoid at least two minor fender benders in the last two years. And it upgrades itself over the cloud, making it the first car that improves after you buy it. In four years of Tesla ownership I have had to get one thing fixed—a window that got stuck because of an ice storm. It requires zero maintenance and boasts several hundred less moving parts than an internal combustion engine. And in just a few years its price has dropped 51
from about $90k to about $50k (with more and less expensive versions available). Its range has increased to over 300 miles and its speed potential is now ludicrous (as Elon puts it), with some models topping 160mph and able to accelerate from 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds— putting it in rarefied supercar performance levels. I could care less about driving that fast, but it is a nice way to shut up anyone who might be hanging onto the notion that electric cars are inferior to gas ones. The cars are beautiful and comfortable and quiet—some traditional cars are still superior in creature comforts, but that’s about it. SYSTEMIC THINKING Most companies only think about their own bottom lines and market share. Certainly, no automotive company since the first Ford Model T has set out to change the world for the better. (I should acknowledge that it is better to bike and walk than to drive even an electric car by a large factor, but given the way we’ve designed our cities—which also needs to change so that cars are less needed—cars are still very necessary.) Elon Musk is a person who is thinking systemically, which is so rare and so needed today as global issues like climate change press on our global society. Musk and Tesla didn’t just build a car—they built a network: they have installed thousands of Superchargers around the world, a true network across the country that increasingly makes needing a gas car and gas stations obsolete. Thanks to this system, I can drive coast to coast and not pay a cent. My car charges in a matter of minutes, and I haven’t
had to visit a polluting, stinky gas station now in three years. Talk about a better experience—gas stations have to be one of the worst blights of urban and rural landscapes. Given this groundwork, it is now actually plausible that electric vehicles signal the end of the internal combustion engine. Further extrapolated, that could mean the end of the military industrial complex, lives lost in the protection of and fighting over oil supplies, and unwarranted tax cuts to oil companies. Though he’s fumbled, Musk paid his debts back, mere pittance compared to what we as tax payers underwrite to ultimately bolster the oil industry via the military industrial complex. Having poked through the perception barrier, Musk has changed the entire industry—and every automotive company in the world is now playing catch up. He’s also paving the way for autonomous vehicles to reduce accidents and fatalities caused by human error and improve the functionality of our urban landscapes. And finally, he’s completely changed the battery industry—with repercussions reaching beyond the automotive industry into the building industry—allowing for changes to how we use other fossil fuels like natural gas and ultimately providing greater autonomy and resiliency. This is no small feat as it completes the roadmap for us to wean ourselves off fossil fuels for good. Climate change is both scary and very real— we need to decarbonize yesterday. We need to be fully electric with no combustion as quickly as possible. While Musk’s work in solar is yet to be perfected, the fact that he’s tying
our whole energy paradigm together is powerful. Disruption breeds resilience. CULT OF PERSONALITY You want to know why he’s attacked? See everything I wrote above. No wonder. He’s upending an entire industry and perhaps changing the world more than any other industrialist has to date, and this time, for the better. Musk is a polarizing character, to be sure. I’ve never met the guy, so I can’t comment on him from personal experience, but what I know is that it takes someone with a large and not typical personality to revolutionize an industry. We let stranger people off the hook for much worse. We ignore auto executives that have proven criminal actions. We voted in Trump as president despite him having said many things that are truly reprehensible, sexist, racist and polarizing (making Musk’s “bonehead” comment seem elementary at worst). Yet we go after Musk. I hate that he made flamethrowers (Elon—bad idea), but put this in perspective; I could care less about his celebrity status, what he does in his spare time. I care about what he does for the world. Before resorting to complete character assassination, look at what Musk is doing to change entire systems in our society and an industry that has caused considerable harm to our world. Take a look at the science behind climate change and realize that we need to get off all fossil fuels as soon as humanly possible. Who else is doing so much and not merely talking about it?
Elon—keep bringing it on.
JASON F. McLENNAN is a highly sought out designer, consultant and thought leader. Prior to founding McLennan Design, Jason authored the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive green building program in existence, and founded the International Living Future Institute. He is the author of six books on Sustainability and Design including the Philosophy of Sustainable Design, “the bible for green building.” 53
Reflecting on 10 Years of Conservation Finance in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii CONTRIBUTED BY COAST FUNDS
en years have passed since Coast Fundsâ€™ board of directors first approved funding for a First Nationsled conservation project. More than twice that time has elapsed since First Nations, the Government of British Columbia, and forestry companies sat down to negotiate what would become the Great Bear Rainforest agreements.
Facing page: A welcome pole greets visitors in Klemtu, Kitasoo/Xaiâ€™xais territory. Photo: Laura Hope 54
Those multi-year negotiations resulted in the creation of a $120 million fund that would later become Coast Funds. When Coast Funds was established, it presented an opportunity for permanent conservation and sustainable development in the region.
Coast Funds was, at the time, the only Indigenous-led conservation finance organization in the world. Through sound investment of the original funds raised, the organization would operate in perpetuity, and support sustainable development and stewardship across First Nations homelands. To this day, Coast Funds serves as a model for how conservation finance can and should be led by Indigenous Peoples whose territories are at the centre of land, marine and resource management decisions. Most importantly, the Coast Funds model demonstrates how to link a healthy environment with the prosperity and well-being of Indigenous Peoples.
To serve that purpose, Coast Funds needed to work in partnership with the First Nations we serve to support their conservation and development goals. In late 2008, the board approved its first funding application. The conservation fund invested in Coastal First Nations, an alliance of nine First Nations, to develop a model for stewardship departments along the coast and a plan for building capacity for implementing conservation-based initiatives. SOCIAL EMPOWERMENT As a key element of conservation and economic development initiatives, First Nations have invested $40.5 million in local family-supporting salaries through projects supported by Coast Funds. Incomes provided from sustainable economic development and conservation projects help ensure that First Nations members donâ€™t have to leave their communities to find jobs. ECONOMIC PROSPERITY First Nations in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii are leading the revitalization of their economies and ensuring resilience through diversification. With support from Coast Funds, First Nations have invested over $286 million into the diversification of their economies. Diversification means supporting innovative businesses, creating conservation capacity, growing employment and skills training for community members, and ensuring benefits from businesses are returned to the Nations and their community members. 55
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION Through their Coast Funds investments, First Nations have established 14 Guardian Watchmen and regional monitoring programs. Those programs cover an average of 2.3 million hectares annually. Coast Funds’ conservation endowment fund was created to provide resources to operate stewardship programs, like the Guardian Watchmen, in perpetuity. It has proven to be a hugely successful model for financing First Nations stewardship. Guardian Watchmen have often been called the “eyes and ears” of their communities. Patrolling the lands and waters of their territories, the men and women of the Guardian programs protect and monitor their Nations’ resources and cultural assets. CULTURAL VITALITY First Nations are enabling Elders to transfer cultural and stewardship knowledge to youth through a wide range of projects. First Nations have led 64 projects with support from Coast Funds to facilitate the transfer of Elder knowledge to youth. First Nations have rich oral traditions and customs which make up their unique cultural identities. First Nations are working to ensure that the lessons, history, language, and knowledge of their cultures are passed from Elders to youth to maintain the traditions of each Nation into the future. The teachings of Elders and education of youth enables young people to become the future stewards of their territory and knowledge-holders of their Nations’ cultures.
Facing page: Haida women support their relatives in raising a carved monumental column by master carver Kilthguulans Christian White at Hl’yaalan ‘Lngee. They join their community in blessing the pole using eagle down and feathers. The pole was raised in 2017 at Hiellen Longhouse Village, a promising venture in cultural revitalization and economic development. Photo: Brodie Guy 57
Left: La’goot Spencer Greening gestures towards the ancestral Giga’at village site at Laxgalts’ap (Old Town) in Kitkiata Inlet. Photo: Brodie Guy Right: The Haisla Fisheries Commission conducts research, monitoring, and restoration work throughout Haisla territory, and ensures Nuyems (Haisla traditional laws) are incorporated into all resource management and development decisionmaking. Photo: Mike Jacobs, Haisla Fisheries Commission 58
Ten years later, Coast Funds’ board of directors has approved funding for a further 352 projects—$81.6 million in total. Each endeavour makes a difference to the longterm well-being of First Nations communities. Those benefits take many forms: 1033 permanent jobs, 108 new or expanded businesses, and management plans for 26 protected areas. Each project grows capacity for First Nations to steward their territories and enhances opportunities for self-determination. Coast Funds is thriving today because of the collaborative and focused work of many individuals from many backgrounds. Together, we are achieving a shared vision: that the First Nations of the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii
enjoy strengthened community well-being while maintaining their coastal ecosystems. 10 years in, that vision has guided us to success and recognition as a global model of Indigenous-led conservation finance.
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Photo: Panda Passage, Calgary Zoo | Pursuing LBC Certification
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Some Ways to Frame Regeneration BY JOE BREWER
uman activities have degraded ecosystems globally to the point that Earth is now in overshootand-collapse. We need to restore ecosystem functions in the coming decades in order to safeguard our collective future. This will require us to regenerate the environments on which we depend. I have been working with the Regenerative Communities Network to cultivate bioregional-scale projects that do this very thing. One of our challenges is that most people have not been trained in regenerative design practices — including how we frame regeneration itself. The purpose of this article is to lay out some of the ways that
regeneration can be framed… helping us conceptualize what we are doing and communicate more effectively with our partners in the field. My intention is not so much to be comprehensive as it is to stimulate further discussion. We need to have conversations about the language we use to work together, especially when conflicts arise, and it becomes necessary to navigate through diverse points of view. For starters, to re-generate means there must previously have been processes or mechanisms for generating outcomes in the first place. All living systems have built-in feedbacks for creating the conditions necessary for their survival. This is done moment-to-moment. It is dynamic.
In a word, it is ALIVE. Every organism must generate its conditions for metabolism and homeostasis. And so every organism must reproduce these conditions in its environment as it goes about its life. Here is the beginning of how we frame regeneration. Consider your skin as a membrane on your body that is necessary for keeping you alive. It has been known for a long time that human skin sheds its cells completely every 30 days — while continuously regenerating the skin tissue in a process of ongoing replacement. If a person becomes sick (for example, after a severe burn) they may lose this ability to replenish their skin and a cascade of harms quickly follow: shivering, infection, hot flashes, burning sensations, and more. The lack of regeneration is measured as poor health. So our first framing of regeneration is a living organism’s ability to regulate itself and remain healthy as it goes about its daily life. It is interesting to think about how stem cell researchers discuss regeneration: “Regeneration means the regrowth of a damaged or missing organ part from the remaining tissue.” Some tissues that become damaged are able to regrow. This has been observed with starfish and worms, salamanders and frogs, and yes also for some human tissues like those found in the liver. Here we are talking about an organism’s ability to repair itself. This moves us into the realm of resilience and adaptive responses. Regeneration can also be framed as the ability for a living system to repair itself after harm has been
done. In a management sense, it is about putting in place the feedbacks and learning mechanisms to handle an emergency and respond to it appropriately. Think about what happens to a city that is hit by a hurricane. Can the people living there regenerate the vital functions of their community? What about the food production in a place like Syria where climate change (due to land use practices) has created chronic drought? How can the people living
Above: A lizard in the process of regenerating its tail—yes, they can really do this! As can starfish (below).
there regenerate the soils and forests to again become self-sufficient? Now we are getting into the realm of regeneration as it is practiced in human systems. A third way to frame regeneration can be found in the management of agricultural systems: “Regenerative Agriculture is a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves watersheds, and enhances ecosystem services.” Note how this third way of framing regeneration is as a management or design framework. With scientific or indigenous knowledge about how to restore landscapes, it becomes possible for humans to intentionally shape their relationships to the land such that regeneration occurs. Now we are in the realm of thinking in concrete terms about how to deal with planetary overshootand-collapse. Restore vital ecosystem functions in the human management systems themselves and the landscapes gain the ability to regenerate themselves. Remove human hands entirely and
it is an open question — sometimes regeneration occurs and other times degradation intensifies, depending upon the feedback dynamics of the systems involved. This opens up an interesting question about spirituality and ethics. How should people find right relationships with their surroundings? I was pleased to discover that regeneration has an essential framing in religious practice too. Here is a quote from a discussion about how regeneration relates to the Bible in the Christian tradition: “After regeneration, we begin to see and hear and seek after divine things; we begin to live a life of faith and holiness.” In a spiritual sense, how we relate to the world (and to ourselves) can either be regenerative or damaging. This framing of regeneration is about cultivating the nourishment of healthy relations with the divine. Live as a spiritual healer and you may also be healed. I am especially struck by how the scientific and the spiritual achieve
frame resonance on this point. A person can come from a religious or scientific perspective and still find common ground — literally — in the direct human relationship to the land upon which our livelihoods depend. So I leave you to ponder this: how might you bring these frames of regeneration into your daily life? What are you doing currently that hinders the life flow of energy and nutrients to the world around you? What hinders how you nourish your inner world of spirituality and personal ethics? We humans have not been living in right relationship with the world. Those of us who try still find ourselves dependent on management systems that violate the conditions of thriving for living systems. So we must somehow make a transition from daily routines that do harm to daily enactments that restore and regenerate the world. Onward, fellow humans.
How might you bring these frames of regeneration into your daily life? What are you doing currently that hinders the life flow of energy and nutrients to the world around you?
JOE BREWER is a change strategist for humanity as we navigate these unprecedented times. He is founder of the Center for Applied Cultural Evolution and capacity cultivator with Regenerative Communities Network. You can also connect with him on Facebook or LinkedIn.
The Forest Garden REPRINTED FROM ‘THE GARDEN AWAKENING’ ISBN 9780857843135 BY MARY REYNOLDS BY KIND PERMISSION OF GREEN BOOKS AND BY THE ILLUSTRATOR RUTH EVANS
nce you have completed the healing and design work on your land, the foundations are in place and your intentions are deeply held by the land. The next step is to address the land’s needs alongside your own. Each individual patch of land longs to evolve into a healthy, self-sufficient grown-up, the same as any child. Even without your presence as guardian, the piece of earth you are working with has a strong intention of its own — a fierce need for stability and growth. It has the core intention of working towards harmony, balance and health.
It’s just plain silly to work against the intention the land has for itself. Most of our gardening energy is spent trying to stop our gardens from becoming what they want to become. We call it ‘maintenance,’ and a ‘lowmaintenance’ garden is one that brutally smothers life out of the land. If we work to facilitate the land’s needs, managing it just enough to allow our own expression and requirements to be part of the process, we are working within the flow of life.
Maturity is reached when nature is allowed to move through all the various stages of succession until it has settled into a balanced ecosystem. Most land that has been
Land can bond with the people who work with it, but that doesn’t mean it always does. The special relationship between you and your land is the same as the bond that develops between a parent and a child. The parent can choose to love, cherish and support the child, or treat the child harshly and without respect. The quality of their bond will be forever shaped by the quality of love, care and attention the parent puts into it. Cleared land is like a mirror: it reflects the love and attention it receives from us. Children, in large part, develop their self-image through their interactions with their parents. In the same way, if land receives the message that it is valued only as long as it looks pretty, it will try to contort itself to wear those ill-fitting garments you may insist on as the standard for beauty. But I guarantee, it will not want to stay clothed in an enforced planting scheme of colourful annuals, lavenders and roses (for example) forever. It will inevitably burst out of the seams you have imposed — sometimes gently, sometimes not — and its true character will emerge. The land simply cannot help itself; that is its nature. When walking through woodland, have you ever felt uncomfortable, as if someone was watching you? You might also have noticed an unsettling undercurrent of distrust and anger. It
can feel unnerving, even dangerous. These are the dark woods from which frightening fairy tales are made. They are wild woods, with no good memories of healthy relationships with humans. You are not trusted here; not welcome. Alternatively, in a happy, healthy forest where land has been treated with respect and has been allowed to pursue its destiny, you will experience the opposite sensation. There is a special energy about such forests that has both light and magic. It feels similar to the exhilaration children feel at Christmas time — less intense perhaps, more of a stable joyful undercurrent. People have been a positive factor in the growth of these woods; here you will find sanctuary. Wild places that have regained their natural form (or were never cultivated to begin with) can be likened to mature adults: they are independent, solid beings that have a strong character and life force. However, when land is stripped of its natural covering and its soil is mechanically disturbed, it becomes vulnerable, as if it were an infant again. Its established, complicated structures and relationships are removed, and it is left alone and naked, without the ground networks that support and nourish each other. When that happens, the land must depend upon you, the person who is in control of its immediate destiny. If left alone in that condition, the land would eventually find its way back to maturity, but you can and should aid the process. By encouraging that ‘child’ to become what it wants to become, a strong bond between you will naturally emerge… and this is where the magic lies.
photo: Conor Horgan
inhabited by people (apart from landscapes such as savannahs, wetlands and flood plains) would naturally revert to woodland over time, if allowed to do so. Forests have evolved over millions of years to become the most efficient and balanced growing system possible.
MARY REYNOLDS is the youngest woman to win a gold medal at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. She is an Irish garden and landscape designer, famous for her wild gardens at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in London and worldwide. Her life has been the inspiration for a film: Dare to be Wild. 65
ABOUT MCLENNAN DESIGN McLennan Design, one of the worldâ€™s leading multi-disciplinary regenerative design practices, focuses on deep green outcomes in the fields of architecture, planning, consulting, and product design. The firm uses an ecological perspective to drive design creativity and innovation, reimagining and redesigning for positive environmental and social impact. Founded in 2013 by global sustainability leader and green design pioneer Jason F. McLennan and joined by partner Dale Duncan, the firm dedicates its practice to the creation of living buildings, net-zero, and regenerative projects all over the world. As the founder and creator of many of the building industryâ€™s leading programs including the Living Building Challenge and its related programs, McLennan and his design team bring substantial knowledge and unmatched expertise to the A/E industry. The firmâ€™s diverse and interdisciplinary set of services makes for a culture of holistic solutions and big picture thinking.
ABOUT JASON F. MCLENNAN Considered one of the world’s most influential individuals in the field of architecture and green building movement today, Jason is a highly sought out designer, consultant and thought leader. The recipient of the prestigious Buckminster Fuller Prize, the planet’s top prize for socially responsible design, he has been called the Steve Jobs of the green building industry, and a World Changer by GreenBiz magazine. In 2016, Jason was selected as the Award of Excellence winner for Engineering News Record- one of the only individuals in the architecture profession to have won the award in its 52-year history. McLennan is the creator of the Living Building Challenge – the most stringent and progressive green building program in existence, as well as a primary author of the WELL Building Standard. He is the author of six books on Sustainability and Design used by thousands of practitioners each year, including The Philosophy of Sustainable Design. McLennan is both an Ashoka Fellow and Senior Fellow of the Design Future’s Council. He has been selected by Yes! Magazine as one of 15 People Shaping the World and works closely with world leaders, Fortune 500 companies, leading NGOs, major universities, celebrities and development companies –all in the pursuit of a world that is socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative. He serves as the Chairman of the International Living Future Institute and is the CEO of McLennan Design – his architectural and planning practice designing some of the world’s most advanced green buildings. McLennan’s work has been published in dozens of journals, magazines and newspapers around the world.