Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Future of Shelter

When I was thinking about shelter, I couldn’t help but think about this article that surfaced about half a year ago: “France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels.” I remember it going around Facebook, and so many people praising France for it’s decision.
The article states, “Green roofs have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer. They also retain rainwater, thus helping reduce problems with runoff, while favoring biodiversity and giving birds a place to nest in the urban jungle, ecologists say.”
This article also made me think about a law that Germany passed a couple years ago requiring that all new buildings either get at least 15 percent of space and water heating from renewable energy, or dramatically improve their energy efficiency.
The pessimist in me likes to think that laws like this would never get passed in America because we have a population of 318 million (versus 80 million in countries like Germany). We also have a larger divide between the wealthy and the poor, making things like this more difficult to achieve nation wide.
However, that’s not to say we can’t start small. What if we made it a priority? I could actually visualize (for those of us that are financially stable enough) people making garden roofs or solar panel roofs a “home improvement” priority if the desire is there.
Imagine: garden roof tops, that could then be utilized not only for reducing energy and retaining rainwater, but what if bee/butterfly flowers were only planted? This could help save the bee and butterfly crisis we are currently facing.

Looking even further into the future: Every home is required to have a garden roof. It has been statistically proven that humans interacting with nature helps mental health. We could potentially help treat mental illnesses while simultaneously saving the planet.

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Just keeping things on the up and up since this is for my students to communicate first.