There has been a huge amount of coverage in the media, and indeed across social media on Ash dieback disease, but little as yet related to the built environment, and the role we may have played in the spread of the disease or the potential impact it may, no will, have on the built environment.
Despite the UK Government (DEFRA) slow response, not to mention odd instructions to wash boots dogs and children after visits to the countryside, the causes of Ash Dieback seems to be emerging as:
- Climate Change
- Bio Security, or lack of
- Demand for instant landscaping
The built environment is accountable for around 40% of climate change issues (waste, transport, carbon, energy etc) but its the increase in demand for instant green that may be our biggest contribution. Odd isn’t it that efforts to plant trees and plants to provide green landscapes and green roofs in response to CO2 and biodiversity issues may have opened the door to yet bigger problems.
There is of course a great example of complexity theory at play here, we can no longer rely on cause effect thinking, but need to consider wider, biodiversity consequences. As Muir is quoted as saying ” when we tug at one part of nature we tug at the whole of nature”
- We face a tidal wave of diseases with over 30 damaging pathogens identified poised, ready to threaten UK trees and plants. See Guardian article.
- We face movement and transport restriction on timbers from Ash, Scots Pine and other plants, both in landscaping and use in construction, finishes and furniture.
- We need to rethink, and fast
I am reminded of my visit to UBC CIRS building in Vancouver last year and the gorgeous timbers in the atrium and main hall, timbers ‘salvaged’ from local forests affected by pine beetle disease and closely monitored by the Living Building Challenge.
As we launch Living Building in the UK with a UK collaborative, it may well be that the certification of future green buildings in the UK is through standards such as the Living Building Challenge, that give hard earned recognition to buildings and facilities that, like plants, contribute to making the world a better place.
The CIRS Building was recently profiled in our CKE Green Vision series with a presentation from Max Richter at Perkin+Will.
Green Vision is a key driver in launching Living Building thinking into the UK. Look out for more announcements at the next Green Vision conference event on the 12th Dec in Leeds and across the web. (Hashtag #GVis2012)
For more information on the Living Building collaborative in the UK, leave a comment, get in touch or pop over to our Living Building UK Collaborative page on Facebook and say hello.