Viva Local!

I really enjoyed the video we watched in class on living local communities. It’s hard to imagine our world not being global because there are so many things that play a factor in globalization, mainly politics and money. Yet, I think living local is a great step towards a more sustainable way of living. While I do think the limitation of regional resource availability will determine the viability of a living local community, there are many aspects of living local people can take part in to make a difference.

The world seems to be focused on a one solution fixes all type of miracle find, but it’s going to take many different things to maintain a sustainable world. We can’t just fix one area of our daily lives while ignoring the others, much like shopping online while in sustainable design class, just talk about it will only get us so far. While no community can probably be 100% local, just like one solution will not be 100% perfect, if all communities were doing 100% of what was possible in their given area, we would see a positive impact. Also, the definition of local would be different depending on region.

In BedZED report effort is made to source building materials within a 35 mile radius. This article also addresses how this is not always possible. On occasion it is mentioned increasing the radius for materials and having to seek out manufactures who will work with reclaimed steel from another area. There are so many aspects of daily life that are needlessly transported thousands of miles. One example that has always bothered me is wedding flowers flown in from other countries, or transported thousands of miles to get just the right ones.

The BedZED article talks about construction materials and places there properties for energy efficiency above the level of sustainable content. They don’t ignore sustainable content however. This project seems to be really finding a great way to balance energy and material source in the construction industry. So often, industry professionals seem to focus on one or the other. The article also mentioned several tax laws in the UK that are encouraging the use of reclaimed materials. Taxes on virgin materials are something, I think, is needed in the US.

It has become increasingly clear to me throughout the semester that solutions are not going to be coming from the government. We can’t wait on legislation in the US to make people change. The people have to want it. The people have to do something about it, and we saw many cases where people are.

 I will have to be the bad guy and say I didn’t really think the L.O.L.A show this week was very helpful. I know it’s not the ‘polite’ thing to do to not automatically tell people they did a good job, regardless of the truth, but how does anyone learn that way? While the articles were somewhat interesting, I don’t feel most of them actually feel into the biomimicry category. Echoing or being inspired by nature is not the same as biomimicry. A ‘vacation home’ that blends well into its environment doesn’t mimic how natural systems operate. I found the articles to be close to, but not quite biomimicry (as I understood it), and none of them touched on industrial ecology in a meaningful way. And, while some products covered in the article were interesting, they also didn’t all seem sustainable or practical. I digress. This post is long enough already.

 
I’m not sure what I want to learn next. I’m kind of at a crossroads. I would love to hear more about what people are doing to make a difference because those stories make me feel hopeful. At the same time, I’m afraid there are so many more obstacles to sustainable changes that we aren’t discussing in class (most of which fall outside the scope of class, so that’s understandable). I’m intrigued by where we are headed, but not sure where I want to go next.

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1 Response to Viva Local!

  1. Andy Samburg says:

    I have to say, not to be rude, but I 100% disagree on your perspective of the LOLA show. I think that most of the presentations were exacting to biomimicry. In my opinion the house mimicked nature completely. I know you didn’t see it relevant, but you can’t consider having this exact house yourself. You have to think about how to apply these concepts in a small way to houses here in America. Like if a house here in America used the same concepts (such as mimicking the materials and colors of nature) in a sun room for example. I also really loved the article over the cars! I think designing a car off of the same principals of a fish in nature is exacting mimickry as well. I hope this opinion helps but you are free to keep yours 🙂

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