There’s not too many out there who doubt we need to reconnect with our environment big time. The more we make our cities, homes and work places like mass produced supermarket items the more we surround ourselves by crude shapes, non-living materials and environments that increasingly stress us out. What’s more, many of these items take a lot of energy to produce, have short lifespans and siphon away valuable resources thereby reducing our quality of life and threatening our futures.
There is an alternative. If we throw our minds forward, start imagining what we want our future to look like and start putting the environment back into our constructed worlds we improve the quality of life for us and future generations. But hey, if we are only looking at the financial side of things it still makes sense. Here’s just a few ways that designing homes, schools and cities with the environment in mind can save us dollars.
- Health – Clean air, less noise (particularly in the suburbs), lower stress levels and exercise are but a few free benefits we get when we put some thought into how we design our urban environments. Plan your garden well and you can create a low maintenance environment that stands out from the crowd and potentially saves you from a unnecessary visit to your local GP (http://www.beyondblue.org.au/resources/research/research-projects/research-projects/beyond-blue-to-green-the-health-benefits-of-contact-with-nature-in-a-park-context-literature-review).
- Water – Gardens, public landscapes and farms use water right. Sure, but they are also an important part of the water cycle and, if managed correctly, increases water captured and stored onsite therefore saving dollars. Water tanks are great (especially plumbed inside), but don’t forget soil which can store more water by far. Be smart and build healthy soil and your being smart with water.
- Energy – Trees planted with the suns seasonal arc in mind protect buildings from the increasingly harsh westerly (and sometimes easterly) sun in summer but let sun in during winter. This can have huge impacts on how buildings heat and cool and the amount of power used to control temperature internally.
- Food – Where does your food come from? Huge food miles, dodgy human rights records, poor agricultural practices (http://www.foodmag.com.au/news/where-does-the-food-sold-in-australian-supermarket), poor nutritional quality, high prices…what else are you supporting when you buy all your food from supermarkets. Grow some of your own, enjoy the health benefits and bragging rights and save some cash. It’s very hip!
- Environment – In less than 2 human generations (since 1970) population sizes of vertebrate species have reduced globally by 50% (check the Living Planet Report). Rebuild environments and you not only help overt impending doom but you’re creating millions of jobs for tiny workers (animals, plants, bacteria and fungi) who love nothing better than improving your health and reducing your fertiliser and (highly toxic) pest control bills. It’s a win-win!
Stay tuned for more articles on how to create healthy environments…and let me know what’s important for you. This blogs just for you!