As the world’s population climbs toward eight billion and people continue to use up the earth’s natural resources to nurture its inhabitants, movements that advocate for sustainability and environmental preservation are growing stronger. The world realizes that it needs to make food, power or energy, and natural resources last to ensure the survival of future generations.
To illustrate the point further, imagine the earth’s land surface area — only three percent of this is urbanized, and around 55 percent of the entire population is concentrated here. These resulting megacities are major centers of consumption.
It is important to zero in on our habits related to consumption because we all need to learn how to interact with our environment in such a way that both our needs and the needs of our planet can be met.
One possible path towards this healthy balance may be seen in the de-growth concept, which is really all about the transformation of communities for environmental justice and the creation of a good life for everyone. There is wisdom in prioritizing social and ecological well-being, to counterbalance the prevailing focus on consumption. This will produce happier citizens and a cleaner environment in the long run.
Of course, the economy needs to grow so the world itself may continue to develop. However, it’s not enough to focus on this alone as economic growth is not the only parameter in measuring development and wellbeing. Society must likewise look at education, health, environmental sustainability, the protection of the weaker sectors, and so on, and look for holistic and lasting solutions at the earliest possible time.
Every individual has an important role to play as far as environmental protection and resource management go. As private citizens, there are actions we can take every day — in our homes or place of work, in schools, together or alone – such as lessening consumption, and resisting media messages to consume indiscriminately. In our other capacities, more opportunities arise to make a difference by harnessing our creativity and other skills. As an architect, I believe strongly in the power of design and smart planning to make an indelible imprint on our lifestyles and quality of living.
Well-designed habitats are perhaps the most important “product” that we consume, as they directly affect our consumption patterns (through efficient performance in ventilation, natural lighting, and lightness in space, things that may otherwise demand heavy electricity consumption).
In addition to environmental responsibility, inspired architectural design also delivers comfort, wellbeing, and style.
All efforts, however, whether big or small, share the same essence, which is our sincere desire to save the planet and improve quality of life for all.
About Architect Romolo Nati
Romolo Valentino Benedetto Nati known as Romolo Nati or RVN, is a multi-awarded Italian architect and businessman with interest in sustainable development (energy and real estate). He is the current Executive Chairman and CEO of Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC), an Italian-Filipino real estate development firm that specializes in the design and development of sustainable buildings. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Philippine renewable energy company Constellation Energy Corporation (CEC) that focuses in acquiring, financing and developing small to medium-scale renewable energy projects across the Philippines. Follow Architect Nati on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.