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More change, as ever..
Dawn Danby, 29 Dec 05

2headeddawn_small.jpg A strange, fascinating and intense year, with several sea-changes and more suitcase-living than before. And suddenly, people are turning their ears to things that had once been out here on the margins. It’s an amazing time to be paying attention. More and more people with solutions seem to be emerging out of the woodwork: I have my fingers crossed for all of you.

With the Green Corridor team out in Windsor, Ontario, we wrapped up our pedestrian bridge design, and then over the summer it rapidly sprang up, half-naked from new construction and waiting for the plantings to settle over the road. Our first helical wind turbine arrived last month, and should make it up onto the bridge in the next few months. We’re looking forward to the time when the whole thing fills in: kinetic, self-powered, and overgrown with biomass.

I’d had some great opportunities to look hard at the space between design and sustainability in the last months, but certain things kept coming up – so (curiouser and curiouser, and surprising even myself) this art kid went to business school. This fall I started an MBA in Sustainable Business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, way out west and 2870 km from home. Despite the absurd commute, I have the amazing privilege of working with a staggeringly active and committed group of people. Bouncing between Toronto and Seattle has me obsessively calculating the green tags I owe to balance my flight emissions (like little hail-marys to the carbon gods). I’m also trying to ignore the strong seduction of the pacific skylines.

I spent more time in the sky than usual, with whirlwind trips to Brazil and Newfoundland. Headed out to TED Global in Oxford, met more interesting people than I could even keep track of, and then took the train out to Wales. In Machynnleth I biked around the picturesque deforestation, around tiny communities where the wind and solar was well-established enough to feel worn in, part of the landscape.

There’s plenty to do. We’re hoping to make o2 Canada really get established, so this is my open call to all Canadian ecodesigners to give me a shout: let’s build the sustainable design network that our country deserves. In the meantime, go read John Thackara’s In the Bubble (more people, less stuff), and Bruce Sterling’s tiny, excellent Shaping Things – the two best design books I read all year, de-jargonified and visionary.

Looking forward to a deep breath or two this year. Last winter we modified some insurance signage into some very serviceable sleds, so we’re back hitting the ravines and quarries again. This is highly recommended, if you have the temperature and topography. Urban tobogganing is best served at 2 a.m. with flasks of whiskey and a few new Canadians.

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Brazil and Newfoundland?! Couldn't you find countries closer together? :-)

Good meeting you this year, Dawn. Stay sane - but don't tell anyone.

Posted by: Taran on 30 Dec 05



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