Future Ecology Designed

Sustainable design theory manifested in products, infrastructure, and graphic representation. A utopian glimpse of a future New Zealand where environmental considerations are of tantamount importance, and society is designed to accommodate the native ecosystem.

Care to Change?

Hello, yes I'm still in existence.
I thought ill kick things off again a little by picking up a subject I had touched on in a previous post regarding societal commitment & change. The problem of grass root change & and acceptance for new processes.

Not a new problem, but very much worth taking into consideration in this context. No amount of planning, innovation & technology will succeed if the group asked to adopt these have no part in its conception & upkeep.
Sure you can say that in our current political & social model there are processes in place to involve the inhabitants in their environmental development. However I'm thinking more than merely voting on the new pattern of your local pavement in a council meeting. This would be more an intrinsic connection & feedback system with first, you direct environment such as your home (the personal phase[]space).

But coming back to the issue of the psychology of change. For all the innovation, technology & interactive feedback systems, it comes down to wether people can actually be bothered. You could take the approach of forced improvement, build the enhancements right into the product or system, so not using them is actually harder and more costly. A new car or office building is most likely more energy efficient without the user necessary having a desire for such properties. But this can only go so far and I believe that any considerable change requires more involvement. People have to care to change.

So how do you do that? How do you get Mr Bow Jones, driving his brand new red Holden SS, housed in an uninsulated oversize home to care about Co2 emissions, installing a wind generator and reducing his global footprint? The problem with the majority is not that they do not care, but that they probably just do not know any better. We are just too detached from our surroundings to realise the effect we are having on it. Being 'in tune with nature' is a key factor of environmental change for the better, be it through growing your own organic vegetables or being virtually synchronizing with the status of your surrounding. There needs to be some way to directly link inhabitants back into their surroundings. Our current societal model is built on the notion of having to 'conquer nature'. There is us, and then there is Nature which is intrinsically nasty, dangerous and out to get us.

I came across an interesting concept in 'Green Architecture' by James Wines. 'The system of totemic identity, as a condition of dualities where one's soul is shared by a self and an alter ego in nature, has intriguing implications for ecology'. The totemic identity was common in Aborginal culture, which has facinating human <> nature relationships (which in my mind are very much ahead of their time, so much so we still can't quite comprehend them). The Aboriginal totem acts as a conscience, guiding tribal and individual relationships with the natural environment. Quite how this can be applied yet I am not sure yet. However it relates well with my ideas of interactive phase[]spaces. It is about getting people to have a relationship with their surroundings, inviting involvement and direct improvement.
Totemic identiy could pose and excellent model of a societal monitoring system.