EXCLUSIVE: Humans steadily ‘unplugging’ own life support systems

Humans have been steadily unplugging our own life support systems, many of which are provided free-of-charge by ecological systems, according to Autodesk's head of sustainable solutions.

Speaking to edie, Autodesk’s Emma Stewart said the continued deterioration of these systems, which include climate regulation, water purification, and air filtration, are now in need of urgent revitalisation.

“One need only scan the newspapers to see China’s poor air quality shut down a city of 11 million people in Harbin and cripple the capital city of Beijing, flooding in North America create Federal Disaster Zones of Boulder and decimate the once hedonist center of Acapulco, and wildfires threaten Australia’s most populous city,” she said.

However, Stewart says she is motivated by the vision that humans can revitalise these systems while achieving a good quality-of-life, and see the profit motive of the private sector as a “powerful and elegant mechanism by which to accomplish that”.

She also highlighted the current media attention on “resilience”, which she says may help elevate consideration for environmental opportunities like green stormwater management and microgrids.

“However, it could also lead to a singular focus on reacting to environmental disaster, rather than preventing it, which is a risk,” she warned.

Read the whole interview with Emma Stewart in our ‘In conversation’ series

Leigh Stringer

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