We need to think about expanding the use of engineered and restorative natural systems

Global GreenTag’s CEO and Program Director David Baggs opened the panel session Disruptive Sustainable City Technologies at The Star in Sydney today for Sustainability Live asking, among other questions, if engineered and restorative natural systems are being considered for our cities to address the emergency of climate change.

David set the context for the session, saying:

11,000 scientists declared this week that the world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society

They declared clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency and that To secure a sustainable future, we must change how we live.

This entails major transformations in the ways our global society functions and interacts with natural ecosystems.

The Climate Emergency is happening faster than predicted with a number of impacts that were predicted being worse than predicted..and unexpected unpredicted events being realised regularly…

So our focus on carbon needs to be a LOT more urgent. Hence the current push for awareness of the Climate Emergency.

The thing is that we are only now starting to focus on reducing carbon impact embodied in built environment.. and many smart technologies have come with huge Embodied impacts.. just think of the 1000s of kilometres of copper cabling required in wiring every light power and data point with individuals wires in a simple house let alone a large multistorey building…that then the Fitouts churn every few years.

We need to focus on disruptive smart technologies that don’t create unintended Negative consequences. We also need to expand our awareness beyond the technologies we seem to default to because it’s easier.

I’m glad to hear my old mate Bill Reid and his Restorative Sustainability being quoted by Roger in his keynote this morning and I’m particularly glad that Atlantis is a late addition to our panel … because I would like you to open your minds when you think about technology and what it means.

We should not default to only IT based wires and equipment engineered technology. We need to think about expanding the use of engineered and restorative natural systems, because biobased systems are typically the only way we have of creating restorative outcomes that aren’t just about reducing the size of an increased impact, not creating overall benefit in the outcomes … taking existing impacts out of the system.

The industry panellists were:

  • Susanne Pini, principal and national director of retail and mixed-use at HDR
  • Nicci Leung, founder and creator at Lifepod
  • Davina Jackson, writer, editor and curator
  • Paul Burgess, Atlantis, Business Development Manager.
  • Aidan Mullan, sustainability manager at Interface

The lead questions were:

  • Which ‘disruptive’ and ‘sustaining’ technologies can contribute to sustainable cities’ transition?
  • How can we facilitate transition to these technologies?
  • Are projects are around now that we can use to case study these technologies?
  • How do we de-risk changes to these technologies?