Friday, April 10, 2009

Ecocities as a concept of sustainable future

1. Why is it important to do something new to reach sustainable development?

In the era of the information society we can find a lot of material how to do things- but how to do it in reality? Some people mean that this is a problem that will fix itself cause our way of living is not a way that can go on forever- We will destroy the planet with garbage, materials mix together by human, in the same time we have problems with security for water, soil loss- erosion, deserts are spreading and more people will enter the slums in the cities. Some people mean that our concern will grow- we will demand more environmentally friendly products. Ecological modernisation will help the society to be more stable. But is that really true? Products have to develop, be constructed- find new solutions- people have to change their stuff to have the last environmental best product. Is that sustainable? Is this a time when we have to broader our view- looking at the whole spectra from natural resources to what and when to use it to how to recycle it? Is this the era we have a wider view then just looking for profit and to see what people really need and make it available? Is this the era when government, international politics, organisation and local people will do something together to make a more pleasant world to live in?

2. The role of environmental communication for sustainable future

When you working with environmental issues you have to consider other perspectives than the "classical model of communication"- the model that is common used in marketing. Information is not enough. People often have to be involved in the action to actually change their attitudes and behavior. Then people do things together- even if it just to come up with the suggestions- they participate and feel more involved in the decision. Information from a lecture can give new perspectives but a workshop where participants came up with things, agree or disagree give them a feeling of what is difficult and also the complexity of thoughts and the power of group; the group is more than the sum of the parts. It gives great ground for new ideas. More and more make workshops, role play or other activities for giving this feeling. But then- that to do? Community-based social marketing (CBSM) give an answer; when you know the barriers you can give solution to the problem or more over; build the right environment and people will act in the right way- but to know what is wrong, you have to ask people that is involved in the issue. Another approach is the "adaptive governance of ecological system" goes a step longer and sat that interaction between actors, experts and organisation will give a trust , vision and meaning for the problem. People from the local have better knowledge of the local conditions, greater ability to enforce rules, change rules and have higher sense of responsibility.

3. About Ecocity Builder, a short background for the organisation

Ecocity Builders is a small non-profit organisation that says that they have a big message to get out to the world. Richard Register, the founder of the organization says in the conference 1990 "Cities and town is the largest things human built and the way we are building then destroying the planet. Why not instead build cities in balance with nature?". The organisation is founded in 1992 but Register have a longer background than that. 1975 he founded the organisation Urban Ecology. He have now more than 40 years of experience and are also the author of the book "Ecocities- Rebuilding the cities in balance with nature". In page... you can read "transportation is what you do, when you are not where you want to be". The concept of ecocities is broader than just focus in the sustainable energy use or more green spots. The organization argue that cities have to be rebuild, be denser, have less cars, fewer parking lots, more stores closer to everyone, produce food in the cities, building should be higher, the picture of the city should be 3- dimensional with more space for meeting between the houses. House should be bigger and should be built upon ecological principles, use light where there is light, use the heat, use squares and balconies for people to meet. This is the concept of ecology. To collect people in the in cities, see that they feel good and then the area around the cities can be healthy as it should be.

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