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Some of the best and most effective solutions for our planet are right in front of us! In this episode we explored how we can leverage the power and brilliance of nature to help us make our cities more sustainable.
It is easily forgotten that nature is the best first line of defence, whether it’s against natural disasters or mitigating the effects of climate change. In fact natural organisms have much to teach us and provide room for nature-based innovation. For example the dung beetle in Namibia with respect to harvesting water in arid environments, Shanghai wetlands using nature to clean and manage water pollution and Laura’s example of plants being the best template for solar panels
Policy is essential and can help support existing initiatives whilst also encouraging re-allocation of resources both human and financial capital to better urban design. It is also essential to highlight the importance in redefining and amplifying the positive impacts of nature on our health, wellbeing and city lives.
If we learn from nature we can create ecosystems that can thrive rather than struggle to survive.
While these 2 National Geographic articles are about villages, rather than towns and cities, it is a warning of what could happen. Richard mentions the chimps “eating children” in Uganda.
Richard James MacCowan
Founder and Creative Director,
Richard loves to explore fresh ideas and concepts and is ever curious about the environment around him. He is an award-winning designer and has worked worldwide in cities, manufacturing, food systems and product design.
Richard’s passion is to develop innovation models to reduce costs and improve efficiency and resilience in the design and manufacturing process. He taught at some of the top design schools in the world: from The Royal College of Art (UK); The Pratt Institute (USA); Vellore Institute of Technology (India); and the Budapest University of Technology and Economics (Hungary).
Richard is also the founder of the non-profit Biomimicry UK, an equine technology startup, Smart Stable Limited, whilst sitting on several advisory boards. He combines design work with research development via the Design Society and the ISO Standards in Biomimetics.
SVP of Agriculture - Research, Education, and Community Outreach,
White Owl Spa, Cornell University, VidaLuz Development
Laura Shiels is passionate about finding and creating solutions to social and environmental challenges. Across universities, K-12 and community education projects, nonprofit organizations, research labs, B-corp industry, and living around the world working closely with local communities, she has helped communities, organizations and individuals attain betterment goals in diverse environments. She is fascinated by exploring the human condition and truly functional ways for people to live in harmony with their changing ecosystems and in the face of globalization, while blossoming in their humanity. Laura has lived and worked in Namibia, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Spain, Hawaii and now Colorado, studying and working with local communities to improve capacity building, documenting traditional and local knowledge about sustainably interacting with ecosystems, studying with local healers, conducting community outreach, and working to protect local ecosystems. She is thrilled to bring her skillset to VidaLuz to collaborate on projects that will shape development of eco-communities and travel destinations in an ecologically-friendly and culturally-supportive way.
For this episode we will be supporting Nula Carbon by donating £100 for Every 100 Listeners which will allow :
80 mangrove trees to be planted from 4 species
4 community members to be trained to give mangrove awareness
Nula is on a mission to make sustainability accessible and embed positive action into the workplace. Their new platform allows every employee to engage with action from emissions reduction to investing in biodiversity through nature-based solutions to help push forward the drive for a net positive world.