Definition of a Green VillageThe Galápagos islands stand as one of the last, if not the very last, large and primarily untouched areas in the world. Beyond their undeniable contribution to scientific thought, they continue to provide the world a tremendous living example of just how interconnected all living systems are. The islands demonstrate both how fragile and yet resilient such relationships have evolved to be. While minimizing the impact of the human population in such a place is a phenomenal goal for any project, a minimal impact retains its capacity for degradation and is thus not the end result we have envisioned. Rather than trying to minimize human impact by relocated human activities off of the islands or suggesting structural changes, we have designed a system where by a symbiotic relationship exists between the resident population, transient groups, and the ecosystem in which they live and learn. This is the essence of a green village.
To the best of our ability, we have drawn this design directly from aspects of the island’s own ecology. Where common sense and respect for local custom were not enough, we have turned to the theory of symbiogenesis as articulated by Lynn Margulis, biomimicry as articulated by Janine Benyus, and whole systems design as articulated by Peter Senge and many others. We have used these three guides as a means of identifying leverage points in this system, recognizing that our greatest challenges are also our greatest opportunities. While we realize that our plan will need to change and adapt as new difficulties present themselves, we have done our best to outline our plans for aspects that require direct input from Galápagos natives, and plans for long-term success. It is not our intention to force implementation of a strategy or design, but rather to suggest one that fosters this vision naturally while simultaneously addressing the pressures associated with the realities of the transition.
There is no living example of such a project, but we feel that the Galápagos are the best possible place to start. These islands present a near ideal, high profile and delicate case to demonstrate the feasibility of sustainable living in a technological age. Our thoughts and designs stem from green building techniques, while we also place comparable, if not greater emphasis on the human aspect of sustainable living. We believe this often underdeveloped component to hold the greatest points of leverage in the system and best reflect our goal of a truly symbiotic relationship.
With the following design proposals we hope to articulate how this can be accomplished, why specific choices were made, where leverage points lie hidden, and how to proceed when plans do not work out.
Our Green VillageCities
We will, over a period of time, entirely rebuild the 3 largest cities on the Galapagos: Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, and Puerto Villamilo. In the end, provided the locals like our improvements, the entire village will be brand new, and will be built to the most stringent environmental standards.
This will be accomplished by a phased reconstruction of the cities. A trained, well paid task force of Galápagos residents will build a brand new section of the city on fresh ground, move a group of people out of their old houses, and then demolish that unused sector of the old city. Using as many old materials as possible, they will rebuild that section of the city, and move residents in to their new homes. This will continue until the entire area has been rebuilt, using old space and old materials.
We feel that in order to build an “idealized village”, which is our assignment, we cannot simply add green energy technology or better waste management facilities to the existing cities. An idealized village is a place where the future growth of the city happens in a green way, and where all the citizens are actively aware of their impact on the earth. If we were to simply move people off the islands, it might solve our immediate In order to accomplish these goals we need to build a planned city which is created, from the beginning, on a “green” foundation. This means setting up transportation and layout in a way that minimizes energy usage, and setting up houses and communities so that there are fewer resources spent per person. These goals can be accomplished through co housing and careful city design.
We realize that asking people to change their lifestyles to include environmentalism as a priority is no small task. There are several ways we feel we can do this. They include paying residents large amounts to construct the new village so they feel invested in the project, and doing a major evaluation of our success after the first building phase to see if people like it or not. We can also offer technology (like better boats and houses) which will be faster and more efficient than the old, non-green technology. In our proposal, detailed accounts of how we hope to transition the residents to a new life style, while maintaining healthy relations with the citizens of the Galápagos and Ecuador as a whole.
We will be building an off-shore floating airport. The old airports will be removed and the areas will be replanted. In addition to reducing noise pollution on the islands, we will accomplish the important objective of centralizing immigration to the islands. In this way, we will be able to regulate everything that comes in to the islands, thereby greatly reducing the risk of introduced species, diseases, or illegal products. With an off-shore airport doubling as a dock, major ships like cruise liners and oil tankers can dock far away from shore and transport cargo to smaller boats, ensuring that no further oil spills come to pass. A detailed description of the floating airport and a cost analysis are included in our proposal.
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