Envisioning 2020


This year’s TEDxGuelphU conference, envision 2020, will convene leading thinkers and doers of the community:

This is the second TEDxGuelphU, a student run initiative at the University. Props to this year’s organizing team for putting together an awesome event. Tickets for the live audience are sold out. The event will be livestreamed on on the TEDxGuelphU homepage.

Architecture that knows where you are and how you’re feeling

In other news, I’ve been doing some reading up on Phillip Beesley who is an architect and a prof at the University of Waterloo.

He spoke at tedxwaterloo this year.

His most recent works are a mashup of architecture and sculpture, and are both creepy and beautiful. I think they speak loudly to what the future of architecture and design of physical space and information can (and should) become, a sympathetic environment responding to the individual who is experiencing it – have a look.

I wonder if he might be an interesting addition to the accessibility conference next year.

Here’s what I learned from #a4a10

Coming down from a conference high. #a4a10 – Aiming for Accessibility: meeting standards, making change was a tremendous event. Congratulations and thanks to the speakers, attendees, organizers and sponsors.

Word clouds from the event:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s (some of) what I learned and was inspired by:

  • “Meeting the requirements of the AODA really isn’t the goal in itself…we need to nurture a culture of accessibility and inclusion, which is different than simply accommodation and compliance.” (Mike Ridley)
  • Chronic conditions are the health care challenge of the 21st century.
  • Accessibility means revenue. People with disabilities are an untapped resource.
  • Apple & Accessibility
  • WAVE toolbar
  • D2L & Accessibility
  • Accessible Course Templates cc: No Rights Reserved License)
  • Vanilla Ice references have a place at most conferences (e.g. “Stop. Collaborate and Listen”, “If there’s a problem, yo, I’ll solve it.”)
  • Simply Accessible (Derek Featherstone). Design ideas for disabilities.
  • “It’s more than getting into the interface. It’s about being able to participate.” (Stephen Hockema)
  • Good design is accessible design.

See you next year!

Green Energy. Here’s 25$ to get you started.

I’m writing to tell you about a great way to support clean, renewable power. Our home has switched to Bullfrog Power. It’s a practical and meaningful way for individuals to help clean up our air quality and reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. All of Bullfrog’s power is sourced from clean EcoLogo-certified sources.

We’re proud to be a bullfrogpowered home. If you would like to become bullfrogpowered with 100% green electricity too, sign up your home online at www.bullfrogpower.com. It only takes about 10 minutes, and you don’t need any special equipment or wiring to make the switch. Plus, you can enter my personal promotional code (KYLE1753) to get $25 off your first Bullfrog Power bill.

Bullfrog Power Gift Certificate

Having An Environmental Movement

we use them and they’re great.
from the website…

gDiapers loves the Earth.

For the last 40 years there have been but two choices in diapers. Cloth or disposable. That’s it. Now gDiapers offers a third option. Flushable. gDiapers puts waste where it belongs, in the toilet. Not the landfill.

gDiapers have no elemental chlorine, no perfumes, no smell, no garbage and no guilt. In fact, flushables are so gentle on the Earth you can even garden compost the wet ones in one compost cycle, approximately 50 – 150 days. Just think of the standing ovation you’ll get from the planet.

Cradle to Cradle.

cradle to cradleWhy are gDiapers good for the planet? It is simple. Our flushables are designed using the Cradle to Cradle design principles of Bill McDonough and his firm MBDC. That means everything that goes into one of our flushables gets re-absorbed back into the eco-system in a neutral or beneficial way. So you are turning waste into a resource. At the same time, you are putting poop in the toilet, where it belongs, and avoiding the landfill issue all together.

We Can Do Better Than Zero

I applaud the zero footprint initiative. In many ways, it gives people real-life, measurable goals to achieve. I’m heartened by the fact that institutions and municipalities are joining in on the initiative. I wonder though, if it’s a bit short-sighted and even negative in it’s goals. Surely we can do better than “zero”. I think we definitely have to try to have a positive impact on the earth, rather than a “less-negative” one.

Striving for “zero” (and incidently likely never reaching it) simply means that we’re working within existing structures to drain our resources less quickly and poison our earth more slowly. If you read William McDonough & Michael Braungart’s 2002 book “Cradle to Cradle” (mentioned in a previous post), you might see what I’m trying to get at. As a race, we have to take positive action to do more than slow environmental degradation, and more than use more recycled products. We need to create a new way of thinking, living and creating. We need to make our environment better and healthier. To borrow an idea from the book, we need to be eco-effective, not just eco-efficient.

The zero footprint does a great job to measure how lightly we tread, but to be truly effective, it should also measure and promote how we can make the earth better.

Remaking The Way We Make Things

In a previous post, I made reference to the PBS series e2: the economies of being environmentally conscious. William McDonough is featured in a number of the documentaries as an expert on environmentally intelligent solutions for architecture, urbanism, industrial design and sustainability.

His 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things is a manifesto calling a complete re-examination of we live and consume. He challenges designers to create in a way which allows nature and commerce to fruitfully co-exist, a system where products can be used, recycled and used again without degrading in quality, “upcycling