Learning from the past – three ways of finding more sustainable paths

We need to learn from industrial mistakes, and instead use nature know-how + new technology to design our paths to a better future

Text and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Innovation is often about  standing on the shoulders of what came before, to look further, as the science legend Issac Newton explained after he came up with a theory about why apples fall to the ground ( The force of gravity ) Here are three ways we can stand on the shoulders of existing ideas and technologies, to find new trails ahead: 

#1 Climb the long dirty chimney of industrial production to face the problems and look further

Industrial production can teach us a lot, not least about what not to do, we should take a long deep look into that +200 year long chimney, and then take a look around and face the consequences of it. From the wasted lives, that went into producing all these products, to the exploited landscapes, the now dead zone lost ecosystems, the oil covered birds, the lifeless suburbs, and the stressed out fast-food shacks along the highways, that chain-strings our communities.

Drawing of a chimney with moon and stars, and a man climbing to the top
We need to climb above industrial logic and production, but also learn from it…

#2 Learn from nature to, to create smarter modular solutions

Nature use only a few time tested, sustainable and refined techniques, and modular designs, using natural materials, that can be reused again and again to create a lot of different landscapes, life forms and experiences.

Designers and architects are starting to learn from this way of creating, making more sustainable “Lego like” plug in, structures, that can be repaired, maintained and reused in better ways and with less waste.

Drawing of an modular micro park, being placed in the city
Using modular designs we can create new and more sustainable architecture and places

3# Make use of big data to get a better overview of the complex challenges

There is an gigantic and fast growing amount of digital data and information available today, that make it possible for us to better understand and visualize flows, energies, zones and solutions, and to test the strengths and consequences of new designs and ideas, before we put them into reality. We can use this technology and new digital tools to create better trails, less roads, more nature, wild food experiences, support ecosystems and optimize the frame around hiking, thrive and living in new and better ways.

Drawing of people looking at a data visualization on a laptop
New digital tools, let us visualize and experiment better with layers in flow, results and designs before turning the designs into reality

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