What ideas should we take from this lecture? Designing cycles, not dead ends.
This lecture was very relevant to our design task, Fluid City. As my group continues to design and establish a place to teach and learn sustainable living, permaculture is just that; a system of sustainable living.
As guest lecturer Nick Ritar stated we need to design systems using cycles. These extremely complex systems are made more complex when we looked at how to take a existing problem and solve it with permaculture. That problem was Sydney. A huge hungry, waste creating machine, living off standard agriculture. Our energies and resources are coming from kilometres away, even off shore. And our waste is being spat out in a supposedly controlled and considered manner, if you call dumping sewerage off our popular city beaches controlled.
Nick’s sustainable living culture is difficult to implement into a world already degrading, however at the fault of our own selves. We know this, and yet we can’t stop ourselves. Many of us have grown up in a world and state of mind thinking that we can take and take and never replace or conserve. We don’t play with our plastic toys when we are little thinking of the limited supply of oil and how it is used to make all our toys. We don’t think about where the water comes from when we turn on the tap, or jump in a back yard pool. And as we grow older and fill our cars with fuel, we know the facts, but can we stop driving? Can we remember to turn our computers and aircon off when we don’t need to leave them on?
We’re just not brought up to be sustainable. Some of us had vegetable gardens, but how many of us continued to create our own as we left our family home?
Photo: author 2010
There are stereotypes and stigmas attached to permaculture, being eco friendly and sustainable design. Saving water might mean “if it’s yellow let it mellow” or drinking recycled water. Some people can’t imagine doing either of those. Eco friendly seems to relate to ugly, poor quality products screaming hippy or geek, neither are necessary.
Designers have a huge challenge to design out stigmas, but I believe needs to be done through education and your up-bringing. Whatever you are surrounded by, chances are you believe it is the norm.
It’s time to make cycles fashionable and palatable.