Creating buildings that generate 100% of the energy they consume is beginning to be seen as realistic. In fifteen years, it will certainly be an accepted part of a normal reality...It is essential to create structures to manage networks…We are talking about functional structure. Our aim is to work in a network. Guallart, V. (2009) Sociopolis.
We all breathe the same air, we drink from the planetary water sources, we are all fed from the same land. We all depend upon the stability of the natural ecosystems that we are part of, and we are all an important part of the living earth. We are, in effect completely interdependent with our world, we are connected. But each of these nodes of connection are under serious threat. We have, in modern times, come to a form of society which seems to have the idea that the more we consume, the better our lives will become. Consumerism is our principal habit, out zeitgeist and our ideology rolled into one. But it comes at a huge cost. Every act of consumerism threatens the very ecosystems upon which we depend for survival. We are at a point where there are reported stresses in almost all of the important drivers of our consumer world. We operate vast, industrial scale agribusiness in a way that has created enormous problems with soil composition leading to desertification; we have destroyed vast forests in our need for wood and mineral deposits. Reports suggest that our supplies of oil have peaked, and yet our daily energy needs continue to function as if this resource were infinite. We have in some parts of the world, pumped so much water from the aquifers that there is none left to irrigate the soil (Brown 2009), and we are witnessing the legacy of the industrial revolution starting to effect the very atmosphere upon which we depend.
Our transition from pre-industrial to industrial activity was, in the span of time, a short moment of a couple of hundred years. We are now at the peak of the pinnacle of that industrial heritage, and from that pinnacle we face choices. We may choose to do nothing, and continue upon a pathway for a little longer fixed to the technological solution, but this ultimately is the same industrial mind at work which has put us into the crisis situation we face. We may choose to explore a new way forward, a marriage of nature and spirit which puts us on a trajectory that is more benign, as William Wordsworth described a wedding between human mind and ‘this goodly universe.’
To get there I have suggested that we need to learn new capabilities, but these capabilities are nothing new, they are simply hidden, behind the façade of modern living. If we scratch the surface, we discover that the connection, between ourselves and our world, is intact, it was just hidden form our attention as we are dazzled by the glamour and glitz of our own making. We can reawaken this knowledge and skill and understanding of what it is to be of this place, we just have to observe, and respond by reconnecting.