In the annual Chapman University Study on American Fears, the fear at the top never changes. In 2016, when people were asked about 79 different fears, giving a presentation is number one among personal fears, followed by heights and crawly things. Lowest: clowns.
As my family, friends, and colleagues know all too well, this isn’t a problem for me now. It wasn’t always this way, but now I love to talk to groups of people. One of my favorite things is to give presentations on integrating nature into our every day lives. It’s a passion, not a phobia! (I don’t have a problem with heights creepy crawly bugs or snakes either).
In the last 20 years, my presentation schedule has increased a lot. Thanks to seeing me at industry events and conferences, and through exposure online including social media, the word has spread about my interest in talking with people about biophilia and biophilic design.
Earlier this year, I’ve spoken at the national Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) in Nashville, Last year it was the International Facility Managers Association (IFMA) and two years ago to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) in Boston. I seemingly speak every year at the annual Cultivate conference in Columbus, Ohio or the Tropical Plant Industry in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a highlight of the summer and January for me! But I also enjoy speaking to local garden clubs and horticultural societies just as much.
This week I had the opportunity to speak to a full house of people at Carrier Johnson, San Diego’s largest architectural firm. The architects, interior design team, and also many newly graduated design students gave me their undivided attention as I talked about the importance of biophilia in design, and the philosophical and economic reason behind biophilic attraction.
Biophilia is new concept to a lot of people, even building and design professionals. It’s fun to share something new with people! Often the one thing they’ve heard about is Biomimicry, the practice of using models and systems based on nature to solve complex human problems in engineering, medicine, transportation, communication, – and yes, architecture. It’s a good place for me to start.
What I’m really excited about is the realization by building and design professionals just how much biophilia affects our health and wellbeing, and by incorporating principles of biophilic design, we can actually make people healthier, happier, and more productive. This is something they all have the skills to make happen and the creative possibilities are endless.
Everyone’s favorite part is the show and tell, and it’s where I have a chance to use photos of Good Earth Plant Company’s living walls, moss walls, and green roofs to illustrate three key concepts of biophilic design: nature in the space, nature of the space, and natural analogs.
Nature in the Space describes the way we can include elements of nature like plants, water and animals in the built environment. Living walls are a perfect example. They provide us real, living natural elements into our homes, businesses, and public facilities. Living walls allow us to have a visual connection with nature and the rhythm of the seasons.
Nature of the Space describes a built environment simulating the things about nature we gravitate to through our biophilic connection as people to nature. prospect, refuge, mystery and/or risk. Broad vistas, Multiple levels, architecture that mimics the plains and savannas humans evolved in. Our work creating green roofs best exemplifies this biophilic concept.
Natural Analogues are elements in our built environment that simulate nature when we can’t bring in the “real thing.” It can be as simple as introducing floral patterns in wallcoverings or furniture, or using materials like deep grain in wood floors. They give us the feeling of nature in our presence.
Moss walls are a natural analogue. They aren’t alive and growing like traditional living walls, but they are a natural element with texture and colors straight from nature.
Once people see some of our projects, they have all kinds of great questions. This is my favorite part. Maybe I was a teacher in another life. This way I get the best of two jobs: working with nature and teaching others about it. Have presentation, will talk!
While my most common audiences are professional groups, I have also spoken to garden clubs, the San Diego Horticultural Society, Master Gardeners and other organizations interested in nature. I’m eager to spread the word to as diverse an audience as I can. If you’ve got a club, organization, professional association, or Meetup group and would like to have me join you, please get in touch. It doesn’t matter what your everyday mission is about. Nature and our relationship with it affects us all.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 858-576-9300 and I’ll bring my green road show to you!