This might not come as a big surprise, considering my recent idealistic posts on community living, our office culture, and the future change of our cities. A new initiative has been launched by me, Michaël and Laura, to play a leading role in a new push towards a New Earth under the name: Office for the New Earth (ONE). A few weeks ago we launched our brand new website at https://new-earth.one, with a small description of our vision, our mission, and our projects. This includes the ones we completed on the Greek islands Lesvos and Chios of last year.
We are focussing on the people: “Trust moves people forward”, in which the word ‘trust’ is the key. It is to create and nurture this ‘trust’ between people which, ultimately, will be the strong foundation for a conscious shift towards this New Earth. With this in place, people are more likely to collaborate, share openly, and find solutions for difficult social and demographic problems in our society. It ‘moves’ people ‘forward’ in their consciousness, in the creation of meaningful connections, and towards a future ‘better’ world.
Why, how, what
Why are we putting energy in the transformation to our New Earth? Let’s be honest, what is the alternative in this crazy, constantly busy world? We as a human species have created many problems of which climate change might be the biggest one. We have massive global pollution, mass extinction of animal species, huge deforestation of rain forests, extreme weather patterns around the globe, incredible grasshopper plagues destroying crops and causing huge famines, unequal wealth distribution between continents, the ever-increasing use of chemical materials, crazy mass consumerism and fast-fashion, our reliance on age-old energy production systems with fossil fuels, the presence of racism in every part of our society, the lack of trust between neighbors, the increasing loneliness in our societies, the rise of burnouts at young ages, the increasing pressure on young adults to be meaningful and perform, the over digitalization of our surroundings, the political and financial instability in many countries, and I can continue this list with many more items. I feel a pain in my heart if I look at the massive problems ahead. I feel this urge to change the world for the better and I feel a huge responsibility to do so.
How are we going to make improvements in this world considering the massive task at hand? We are here to inspire, create energy, sustain hope, and increase awareness by means of architectural interventions all around the world. It is to create points of light in this sometimes dark world. This awareness, both inward and outward, is crucial to our forthcoming change. Firstly, inner reflection and self-realization are needed before the shift towards a full connection with the outer world can be made. Only with more outer awareness, people start to realise the massive problems at hand. It will start to resonate in their hearts and steps can be collectively taken. We have an idealistic picture of our New Earth in mind: one in which people are strongly connected, in which the natural world is seemingly integrating into our lives, where all material loops are closed, and people trust and share openly.
What does this practically mean? Making architectural interventions seemingly connects with our background in the building and creative field. The exact ‘physical form’ will for sure change over time but a good comparison is the projects we did in Greece for the refugees. We created, in a difficult and highly emotional environment, something that is changing the perception of people. Amid monolithic containers, a beautiful, elegant, multifunctional outdoor classroom made from timber, was constructed to inspire and wake people up from their difficult lives.
The five pillars for the New Earth
In the last few weeks, we started to summarise the above story into five pillars that we as ONE find crucial for the transition to the New Earth. Let me give a small description of each aspect.
- Reconnect with nature: it is to integrate and support nature as part of our cities, our indoor spaces at home and at work, and in every part of our lives. This can materialise in green roofs and facades on buildings, large windows with natural light pouring in with view on nature, the use of natural materials and patterns, and office floors which look more like a jungle.
- Ecological attunement: this is at any moment to find a balance with the natural world around. With the flow of natural materials (think of circular economy principles) and the balance in our food production (permaculture-based). In this future economy, more reusable and ecological materials as earth, timber, bamboo, limecrete, straw, and reed are used for our construction projects. It is crucial to start to rebalance the ecological processes in our environment if we want to create harmony with our Earth.
- Local empowerment: this describes the transition to a more local economy with the use of advanced technologies as 3D printing, CNC milling, and laser cutting. It is the transition towards mass customization instead of the standardization we have seen in the past century. Food and energy production will become more local and many other processes will follow.
- Social re-valuation: it describes a value transition in our society towards trust, openness, and a deep connection between people. It is to bridge the large gaps between races, classes, religions, political views, and come together as one collective society.
- Self-actualization: it describes the transition from only satisfying our needs towards sharing and helping our fellow people and precious earth. It is about becoming conscious of the full impact we have as human beings. It is to wake up as a society and support each other in the transition towards this New Earth.
We have a long way to go but it is worth it for sure! With this post, I would like to do a call for feedback on all our statements, idealistic visions, and underdeveloped ideas. Please be free to contact me, Michaël or Laura!