When you think of an ideal nature, what do you think of? What is it that you see and how far are you from this ideal situation? Do you even think it is still possible that nature can be in such an idyllic state? My thoughts wander off to the story of Adam and Eve and how practically impossible it seems to be returning to such a situation. Since men, this ideal got lost. But through time we came up with new initiatives. We have been damaging nature for quite a long time now, but we also have come quite far with technological developments. By now we can get everything back on track and hopefully things can start improving.
Staatsbosbeheer and the University of Wageningen have done research, which shows that 67% of The Netherlands would prefer being outside more. This is two out of three people. The bad weather and lack of time are the main reasons why this seems impossible. But not only the Dutch prefer more feeling with nature. It is manly the new generations, the Millennials and Generation Z, which see the value of this.
If going outside is not an option, we could also bring the outside in. Ikea came up with the indoor gardening kit. Besides from the kit, all you need is seeds and water. Soil is superfluous by this farming method, hydrophonics. The kit contains everything you need to grow your plants. Easy does it. Supermarkets in Berlin have also been using a similar concept. They placed vertical micro-farms in the supermarkets, by which they produce their own freshly grown vegetables. Except from the fact that they can sell fresh products all the time, it also is a way to get rid of transportation costs. This also helps to preserve nature, as there will no longer be greenhouse gasses as well as gives it an extra dimension to the shopping experience.
Of course we can be innovative in other, bigger ways than just inside our home or neighborhood supermarkets. Many people are thinking about developments on self-sufficient communities. These can be designed in different ways. EFFEKT came up with Dubbed ReGen, of which the first pilot will be launched in The Netherlands. In these villages houses, greenhouses, public buildings and vertical farms are built. The villages will be completely self-contained. One of the EFFEKT partner states: “The technology already exists, it is just a matter of applying science into the architecture of everyday life.”
Except just thinking of the environment, we must also think about the inhabitants of the cities. They are the ones that must play their part in this story. Singapore is designing a public space that responds to the needs and values of their seniors together with sustainable living. The complex that is built consists of several levels, ” ground-level farms and gardens open to citizenry as well as individual, upper-level plots that retired persons can work at their leisure.” Elderly are brought together and loneliness is reduced together with spending a lot of free time in a very useful way.
These new habitats contribute to an ideal nature. However, nature without people occupying the land, might even be better. Other initiatives like this have been developed. An ex-RAF pilot came up with the idea to convert old fighter planes so they can plant new trees. Seed bombing, a method that makes it possible to plant 900,000 trees per day. The “seed bombs” are a la grenade-style shot to the earth’s surface where the sprout can continue to grow. Now these fighter planes are used for a greater good. Another company, Dutchman Industries, came up with several tools and machines that move trees, roots still attached, without the tree getting damaged.
Not everyone works at a company that is driven by improving the Earth and therefore can not contribute in the same way to nature conservation. However, everyone can still contribute, but not everyone is aware of how to do this. In the Israeli city of Yeruham you find mountains of glass that is to be recycled. This is where photographer Oded Bality created a new project. The photo series he shot show mountains of green, blue and brown glass. The surface of this glass landscape is the size of several football fields. It is an impressive picture but the message Oded wants to deliver is that people become aware of recycling materials.
Another way to get people thinking of and contributing to a clean nature came from Precious Plastic. On the company’s website you can find how to give plastic recycling a boost, why this matters and what their plan is. “A solid version of machines, instructional videos, and blueprints shared open-source for free. A complete package that enable signals people to start recycling.” That’s right, the blueprints are shared for free, which makes the project accessible for anyone.
If we like spending time outside, or in the presence, we need to put effort into preserving it. The above mentioned innovations can contribute to this and make possible that we can all enjoy nature in our own, ideal ways. Whether inside or outside, surrounding yourself by nature improves your health as well as the health of others and our earth.
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