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…the sustainable way to build … Code for Sustainable Development – Cracking the Code Wednesday 14 th March 07 Ecology and the built environment Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "…the sustainable way to build … Code for Sustainable Development – Cracking the Code Wednesday 14 th March 07 Ecology and the built environment Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 …the sustainable way to build … Code for Sustainable Development – Cracking the Code Wednesday 14 th March 07 Ecology and the built environment Professor Dr Michael Benfield PhD University of Wales Newport + Benfield ATT

2 Overview Ecology – the 15 minute Expert Definition Background – Trees as a proxy Implications - Human Ecology Sustainability – Triple Bottom Line Regulating for Ecology – economic, social, environmental …the sustainable way to build …

3 Definition of Ecology oekologie - coined 1866 by German biologist - Ernst Haeckel - Greek οικος (oikos, "household") + λόγος (logos, "study") - So, "ecology" = the study of natures household Scientific study - distribution + abundance of living orgs + how their interactions with environment affect these …the sustainable way to build … "The Earth has an abundance of everything, but our share in it is only what we really need. Sir David Attenborough Organisms environment = all physical abiotic factors e.g. insolation (sunlight), climate, and geology AND all other organisms sharing its habitat Humankind = just 1 interacting organism Although "ecology" often used for environmentalism and ecologic" or "ecological" often = env. friendly. Actually = the complex interaction of everything on earth

4 Trees as a proxy for these interactions Life on earth evolved in the oceans Land plants 460m yrs ago – trees 370 m (fern) Paved way for animals – O 2, CO 2 …the sustainable way to build … Roots break up soil – diversity > bugs (plant eaters) > mammals 100,000 tree species today – 8,000 threatened Trees vital to world health - ecosystems - biodiversity - economics Key forest functions - climate regulation - nutrient cycling + distribution - raw materials and resources - cleanse air + provide oxygen - water retention in soil - shield animals / plants from sun / elements - habitats & beauty

5 Forests … 50-90% of terrestrial species. Tropical forests over 50% m species (EIA) Rainforests cover 2% Earth's surface / 6% land mass Technically, deforestation only when land totally converted to other use …the sustainable way to build … Dinosaurs 140 m yrs after trees appeared All Earth's oxygen produced by plant photosynthesis (CO 2 +H 2 O = glucose + O 2 ) Only 1.6 acres of forests / person living (FAO 2000) 15,000 forest plants /animals = foods, medicines, etc. (EIA) Natural Tree anti-freeze chemicals = F in some species. Each tree absorbs ave. 10 lbs pollutants p.a. from air inc 4 lbs ozone 3 lbs particulates (Friends of Trees) 3 trees planted around ave home can aircon bills 50% Wind shield trees heating bills 30% (EIA) Costa Rica – birds nests leaves, roots, berries American High Bush Cranberry

6 Human Ecology Relationships between human, natural, social and created environments Human Ecology investigates human interactions with nature & environment All flora & fauna interdependent to evolve, grow, become healthy Some must die out to allow others to live and evolve - Dinosaurs –v- Forests -v- Humans Since Ind. Rev.- exorbitant demand for land inhabited by trees. Health & technology unparalleled population growth Demands for Earths resources exponentially 1990 – 2000 lost 2% world's forest - 10 m ha – not recovered Developing nations worst EXCEPT China - 1.2% p.a. forest area "The whole sustainability world is thinking about tradeoffs. What will humans give up to have something else and still keep the environmental goods and services we need? Emily Mathews, World Resources Institute, Washington DC Can we be smarter about development in the future? Healthy cities - to ensure ecological, economic + social sustainability need Tree canopy coverage 40% ave. Rural area goal = min 50% American Forests Planting trees = cost-effective way to capitalize on healthy ecosystem services …the sustainable way to build …

7 Ecological / Environmental Sustainability the triple bottom line Triple Bottom Line sustainability - economic > growth? - social > education / communities - environmental > consumption …the sustainable way to build … Interactions of all of these PLUS the natural world why? how? equity? - for other humans - for flora and fauna - for GAIA herself Gaia hypothesis – controversial ecological theory Named after the Greek earth Goddess (Prof. James Lovelock) Proposes that:- - living and nonliving parts of the earth are a complex interacting system - thought of as a single organism - promotes life overall - all living things have a regulatory effect on the Earth's environment Global EcoVillage network

8 Regulating for Ecology Economic Sustainability Whose economy? - local? (centre decline, compact city) - regional? (megalopolis/city regions) - national? (N. S. E. W. divide? - international? (economic migration) …the sustainable way to build … Whose generation? - present? - children / grandchildren? - 7 generations? What economic activities? - manufacturing? - service? - agriculture, forestry, fishing? - construction? - research? - tourism?

9 Regulating for Ecology Social Sustainability Whose society? - local? - regional? - national? - international? - children / grandchildren? …the sustainable way to build … Which generation? - present? - 7 generations? What culture? - education? - employment level? - leisure & sport? - retirement?

10 Regulating for Ecology Environmental Sustainability? Carbon Dioxide - energy – embodied, in use, maintenance, decommissioning, demolition, removal - energy – provision, efficiency, reliability, cost - recycling – selection, disassembly, reuse - manufacture – methods, handle-ability, transportation Renewable – can you harvest it? …the sustainable way to build … Site selection – location, transport, mobility, facilities, - amenities, - impacts Design - architectural – practical and aesthetics - planning – linkages, orientation, surroundings - engineering - structural - waste – off-site and on-site - project management – site layouts, provisions, logistics, etc.

11 Summary & Conclusions Ecology = complex interaction of everything>> humans as only 1 organism Trees as Proxy for interactions = Evolution, CO 2, O 2 >> climate change Vital Importance of Forests >> habitats, atmosphere >> home benefits Human Ecology >> population growth, resources, tradeoffs, die off ? >> Healthy Cities Tree Cover Trees needed for healthy ecosystems Triple Bottom Line = Economy, Society, Environment >> who, what, when Regulating for Ecology >> economic sustainability >> human settlements & migration >> social sustainability >> whose society? which generation? what culture? >> environmental sustainability >> energy, renewables, site selection, design …the sustainable way to build … -v-

12 …the sustainable way to build … How Green is Your Organisation? Finally, if you really want to Crack the Code you need to ask yourself a final, thought provoking question


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