Nature Needs People
On The Occasion Of World Nature Conservation Day On July 28, Realty+ Takes A Look At The Inherent Connection Between Nature And People.
People lack of experience with nature has often led to apathy towards environmental concerns. Almost 60% of the species have declined over recent decades and there doesn’t seem to exist enough concern across global community. richard louv, author of “the nature principle” and “last child in the woods” said, “Our society has developed such an outsized faith in technology that we have yet to fully realize or even adequately study how human capacities are enhanced through the power of nature.”
Indeed, till now we had only read of disease outbreaks, wars, and famines as part of history. Very few had anticipated a Pandemic to disrupt the world as the Coronavirus outbreak of present times. In 2005 George Bush Jr spoke on such a prospect. Bill Gates of Microsoft sounded a similar alarm in 2018. Kartick Satyanarayan, Co-founder, Wildlife SOS had stated that Covid-19 pandemic is a result of humans not respecting space that wildlife needs. “As coronavirus sweeps across the globe, it lays bare an oft-repeated but disregarded linkage emphasised by scientists: climate change, biodiversity loss, and outbreak of newly-discovered diseases are interconnected. The global warming, rise in ocean temperatures, human-wildlife conflict, extreme heat and flood situations – are a direct result of disproportionate human activity. “This is a global wake up call,” he said.
Nature enhances our lives, helps us feel better and has positive impacts on our social skills, all in addition to providing food, air and water that we need to survive!
Nature conservation is seldom considered a pressing global issue but in-order to scale back the frequency of future pandemics, conserving and restoring the environment is the first place to begin with. Suruchi Modi, Professor and Programme Head (Pg Studies), Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Ansal University stated, “Principles of sustainable development ought to be strengthened adequately by adding new management strategies. Responsibilities have to be taken at all levels, from government, private sector, communities and individuals if we are to successfully meet goals of our social, economic and environmental well-being. The world should seize the opportunity and push for a model of redevelopment based on low carbon emissions, climate resilience and inclusive systems.”
Architect Anjali Mangalgiri, Founder, Grounded was of the view that the world will emerge from this life-changing event bruised but overall resilient with a strong sense of respect for humanity. “While all our energies are focused on this crisis, there is a bigger elephant in the room where humanity has been on a war footing for some time now, that of climate change as a result of human activities,” she cautioned.
TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE GROWTH POST COVID-19
The pandemic has got the entire world to rethink the way it wants to reboot the economy. It has also raised the concerns of nature dependent on the individuals and organizations committed to finding solutions to protect it. Dr Hariharan Chandrashekhar, Founder Chairman, BcIl Limited and alttech.foundation in a recent seminar had mentioned, “Virtual meetings, online education and work from home have become the norm. The miracle of technology disruptions that has enabled such developments is a gift for the future. Clearly we are at the cusp of a major change which will impact the next twenty years. This is in a manner of speaking, the net or Near Net Zero way of life that this century will lead us into. Here lies a story of hope, and of redemption.”
“We have been given another opportunity to plan for a sustainable future. The “De’s” will have to be converted to “A’s”, the “New” to the “Re”. The future road map would need four levels of engagement – Regional Level, City Level, Area Level and Unit level in order to have a far reaching effect. At the regional level, the tier I cities must be marked as fully developed and should be moving towards achieving a carbon neutral status. With proximity to the workplace no longer being a significant factor in deciding where people live, the pandemic has further battered the benefits of living in big cities. The focus will have to shift to tier II and tier III cities to shelter and employ people. They will need to become the engines of economic growth, offering amenities and pleasure opportunities and enabling a better quality of life,” added Prof. Suruchi Modi
BRIDGING GAP BETWEEN SUSTAINABILITY & EXECUTION
First and foremost, to pursue sustainability, we must try to conserve the natural resources through rain water harvesting, renewable energy use and grey water recycling, use of local & recycled/upcycled materials and employ design ideas that reduce the use of air-conditioning and heating, artificial lighting and reduce the water use in bath and kitchen fittings. These strategies are easy to achieve with minimal cost escalation in the process.
“To achieve actual impact, we have to think about sustainability at every stage and factor it in every decision during the design and construction process. The industry and consumer outlook also must change. We have found that most industry and product vendors still lack awareness on the importance of sustainability and green features in their products. Our perceived association that virgin materials are of superior quality, and reused materials are inferior, needs to change,” said Architect Anjali Mangalgiri.
Elaborating further, Prof. Suruchi Modi expressed, “The city administrations should adopt the build back approach, following the redevelopment model for future. Afforestation need to be adopted with attention to the type of species in order to rebuild a large medicinal reservoir for the city. Redevelopments in inner city areas achieving optimal densities while maintaining liveability standards is the way forward rather than extending city limits to accommodate influx. Inclusive methods are required which consider all stakeholders for an evened out recovery. With technological advancements and emerging trends, designers and developers will need to include capacity strengthening in their agenda of work.”
In conclusion, the community of designers need to focus on inclusive and intelligent neighbourhoods, public spaces, buildings and infrastructure. New approaches in design need to be based on the principles of sustainability with embedded technology and smart solutions. Urban farming and a host of semi-private zones to accommodate for lack of outdoor spaces need to be planned in the city life.
Also the infrastructure of the city needs to be made sustainable with renewable energy sources like solar panels, wind mills and other technological advancements, put to use with appropriate policies and strategic business plans. Thus, embracing smart operations and green technology will help people move towards a zero carbon footprint.