An Ode to the Woman Serving All
By Alyson Laura
LEED AP BD+C, O+M
In honor of International Women’s Day, March 8th, I aim to inspire you to awaken your gratitude for the woman who unceasingly nourishes the entire Earth and all her inhabitants… Mother Nature. Let’s start by loosely defining Mother Nature as eco-system services. Mother Nature as a collection of natural systems and intangible processes that support the balance of the Earth’s evolution.
What exactly is an ‘eco-system service’ and how does it relate to ‘Mother Nature’?
Eco-system services are the passive, natural process that the Earth moves through on a constant basis: filtering water through soil, turning CO2 into O2, reforestation after a fire, and the creation of coral reefs. Imagine how your own body pumps blood, breathes air, and separates toxins all without your permission or command. The Earth also engages in conveyance, respiration, and cleansing on a 24/7 basis, all to support our lives as human beings. For the sake of brevity, I’m naming this collection of eco-system services, ‘The Magic of Mother Nature’.
When measuring the impacts of green buildings, the professional users primarily focus on metrics like energy consumption or potable water demand. Environmentalist measure resource depletion and waste accumulation. Humanist quantify fair wages and free access. But who is championing Mother Nature? She is working harder than any other woman on Earth to clothe, shelter, and feed us humans on a daily basis. How can we say thanks?
We can honor Mother Earth by supporting regenerative processes in our built environment. The science term for this is biomimicry. Think of this as the feminine path. For a concrete example, let’s go straight to the most unapproachable reality of our built environment-sewage.
Mother Nature has no word for ‘waste.’ Sewage is an input of the nutrient cycle for soil and plant growth. When there were fewer humans on Earth, we just deposited these resources directly into the soil. This is no longer safe in our highly populated and dense cities we live in. The masculine solution we have been using for the last century is to mechanize and centralize the task by pumping the sewage to a facility to chemically treat the resource. Recently, I’ve begun to see outstanding examples of passive, decentralized solutions that use constructed wetlands to filter the toxins and return beneficial nutrients and water back into the soil and aquafers.
How can you show some love to the most powerful women in your life? Compost vegetable scraps rather than using a garbage disposal which ends up in the landfill anyway. Make sun tea rather than using fuel. Plant a tree for every life you bring into this world to ensure fresh air for their lifetime. Or simply take a moment to say thank you, she’s listening 😉
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