These are interesting times, and it's bad enough having to look after your own stuff without having to check what's going on at the next desk or over the garden wall. But the trouble with this sustainability business is that we really do need to know what's going on with things that don't seem to have much to do with us. Because everything is connected to everything else, we do get the occasional canary-in-a-coalmine moment. Such as a new report that's been published by the Stockholm International Water Institute; Feeding a Thirsty World: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure world.
SIWI tells us that we need to reduce the amount of animal-based protein that we eat by 75% and give over pasture-land to arable farming if we're to stand a chance of balancing our water and food needs. And it's not just the Swedish; we're hearing the same from organisations such as OXFAM, the UN and the International Water Management Institute. Now join up a couple of other pieces of this jigsaw: commodity values for things like wheat and corn have risen nearly 50% since June of this year; agricultural land values in the UK are set to rise by 37% over the next five years, having already risen to 6000/acre but that's financial speculators for you. They want food prices to rise to justify their investments.
So, a future that's free of breakfast bacon and egg sarnies and lunchtime steak baguettes, although possibly lots of pommes frites. What is an industry supposed to do? What should we be reading into all of this doom-laden vegetarian future? As I say we need to be looking out for these canary moments, because they tell us an awful lot. The experts in the water industry are warning us of a shortage in a vital natural resource that's being created by a burgeoning global demand. Well, I think we have a similar situation developing in our own backyard, if we're only prepared to look at it.
The drive for a low-energy economy has been focused on the need to reverse the effects of climate change that has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels. The lighting industry responded wonderfully to that challenge and we've enabled enormous improvements to be made in the management of energy in the built environment. Of course, it's done damn-all to alter the global situation in respect of climate change because we have our own burgeoning global. And we haven't come up with any answers to the burning of natural fuel resources other than to destroy yet more of the natural environment to find more of the raw material.
And it's not just the energy resource used to drive our lighting that's under stress. There's the issue of what we make stuff from, like the metals and minerals used in fixtures, light sources and general electronica, as well as all that oil that goes into creating an awful lot of plastic. At some point, can we expect to read a report about the need to limit the amount of lighting equipment that we can afford to make. What will be the industry's equivalent to the bacon sandwich and the sirloin steak?
Here's what I'd like to hear about from you. Which part of the architectural lighting design palette would you be prepared to abandon? Exterior building lighting, maybe? Sports stadium lighting? Street and amenity lighting?
Greenwashing: a guidline for good behaviour
The elephant box in the room
What Lighting Designers Should be Looking For . . . and Asking For
The Children's Fire
Products That Last - Redux
Products That Last - Review No.3
Products That Last - Review No.2
Products That Last - Review No.1
Products That Last
Talking about Waste - as we were . . .
Sustainability - They Seek it Here, They Seek it There . . .
Sustainability - the core message
The Life and Times of the LED - a series in ten parts
Sustainability: They Seek it Here; They Seek it There . . .
John Bullock writes a regular column for lighting magazines. You can find all of the archived pieces here.
BLOGS - LIGHTING DESIGN
John Bullock writes about all things and anything concerning architectural lighting design; new technologies and old lamps; anything,really.
HOME LIGHTING CONSULTANT
John Bullock designs innovative lighting designs for people's homes. By working closely with clients he is able to deliver solutions that meet - and exceed - their expectations.
BLOGS - CPD RIBA CORE PROGRAMME 2015
John Bullock will be presenting a seminar on latest lighting design and technologies as part of the RIBA CPD Core programme 2015
BLOGS - SUSTAINABILITY
John Bullock believes that the UK lighting industry needs to embrace a sustainable way of delivering good quality product through good design, fabrication and end-of-life management.
BLOGS - LIGHTING HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Lighting has a vital role to play in our health and wellbeing.
CONDUIT (6) - Lighting for Winter Gardens
CONDUIT 5: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (2)
FX Magazine: Lighting Focus - Sustainability (Issue 258)
CONDUIT 4: Home Lighting - LED Lighting (1)
Can Smart Lighting Save The Planet?
CONDUIT 3: Home Lighting - The Bathroom
Can Lighting Save Us From Ourselves . . . NO!
CONDUIT 2: Home Lighting - The Dining Room