Designing zero-waste systems is the need of an hour for a sustainable future. The more reuse of the resources can help stop the climate change. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or ocean. I think after recovering from this pandemic, the world should prepare for another one in the form of climate change and global warming. Everyone in the world should unite and fight against changing climate and global warming just like COVID-19’, says Aayush Chaudhary, Principal Architect and Founder, ACad Studio
Global Waste and Climate Action is the UN theme for Earth Day 2020? What do you think is the need of the hour?
People are well aware of the climate change, but we were not taking it seriously as nobody thought how it could affect us personally. Humans have always been selfish and do not take action until a situation affects them. People are talking about climate change but a few of them actually care about it and take corrective action for the same. This could be because some of us think what they have to do with it, or it’s the government’s/agency’s duty to handle it. But it is actually a responsibility of all of us to save the planet from this climate change or this will have an adverse effect – more than COVID-19, which might end the human race. Designing zero-waste systems is the need of an hour for a sustainable future. The more reuse of the resources can help stop the climate change. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators or ocean. I think after recovering from this pandemic, the world should prepare for another one in the form of climate change and global warming. Everyone in the world should unite and fight against changing climate and global warming just like COVID-19.
Do you think our mindset to Nature will change after COVID-19.
Our planet has constantly faced crisis, be it climate change, pollution, war or any pandemic like SARS or COVID-19. The human will power has always helped us get out of it and move ahead in life. However, it would not be wrong to say that COVID-19 has brought the world closer than it was before, everyone is in this fight together and wants this pandemic to end as soon as possible. I think the world will be a different place after we come out of Covid-19. I think people have learned the value of life and will be more responsible in the future. Actually, we have to be so that this situation never occurs again. I think it will take some time to get to the ‘new normal’ after COVID-19 but people will be coming out of this pandemic with a different mindset – maybe with a mindset where value of life is utmost important than being a capitalist. We might enter a world where nature will be respected, and people will think twice before harming the nature or going against the laws of nature. Surely the economic crisis is faced all over the world and the effects will last long even after the ‘new normal’. Businesses will take time to get on track and recover from the loses. India has taken strict measures to control the spread of COVID-19 and I hope the government will also provide some relief to business once everything is over to cope up with the lost time. We can only hope that everybody learns from this situation and we make the world a better place to live in for us and the society.
On air quality and environment – is Earth now breathing better with COVID-19 and lockdown?
The pollution levels are rising day by day. We have the worst air quality in the world. Living in such a bad air quality and polluted environment is making our lives shorter by years. I think there should be more strict measures to control the pollution. It has become a trend from past 2/3 years, during winters, pollution level in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region) rises and the only measures government take is to stop the industries and construction work, or control traffic with some rules. But this is not a permanent solution. We need strict actions against the cause of this pollution. Some maybe more regulations on factories, automobile, burning of crops etc. I think this lockdown is an amazing opportunity for the government to impose new regulations on everything before going back to ‘new normal’, so that that we enter a better place after this lockdown and become more sensitive towards the environment we live in.
It’s the responsibility of each citizen to act positively on this. The planners should incorporate sustainability factors and elements in their designs. It is not too late and we can still help improve the environmental quality with measures being incorporated in new designs as well as existing buildings. The cities to be developed should take a holistic approach in design which should be developed on a central idea of smart and self-sustaining city. The existing cities should also incorporate such idea and make the entire city self-sustaining. This could be possible if all the building is generating major amount of energy required to run that building by means of natural renewable resources like solar panels, biogas plant, reuse of grey water, reuse of construction material etc. Green building designs should be made mandatory like any other by-law in the country.
What exactly can we learn from nature?
Nature is the best teacher you can ask for. A lot of architects take inspiration from nature while developing designs. I see various inorganic patterns in nature and always get inspired by the little things. We can learn a lot of things from nature – a few them are being patient, as nature takes its time to change and respond according to the situation. Another important thing nature tells us that everything in the world has a purpose. An interesting thing to point out would be appreciating the small things in life.
Do you have any role model whose traits you often follow?
I follow the work of various architecture firms. One of them is Foster and Partners. They are always innovating and finding new techniques for sustainable designs. I love the projects they have done in past and the idea and concept behind them.
The world will not be the same. The ‘New Normal’ will come with a lot of contingencies. I think it’s time for us to reflect and think about how each person can bring a change to this world. COVID-19 is just one of the problems the world is facing right now. We are not prepared for the changes that will occur due to climate change. We should start thinking about the next thing that could hit us and be prepared for it.
Do you have any advice for next generation professionals? What books would you recommend to read?
My advice for the young architects would be to engage your senses with nature. Feel the beauty of it and be passionate about the work you do. It can be creating a huge brand earning a lot of money or saving the environment or both at the same time.
All of us need to have a clear mindset first. We should focus on bringing the change in the society, only then we can possibly stop this climate catastrophe. It is important for everyone to understand that ‘enough is enough’, we have harmed the environment in every possible way and now is the time to repair it. For architects, I would request that they adopt a sustainable approach to their designs and make their clients understand why it is important in the long run.
There are a lot of books and publications one can read. On top of my head I can think of ‘A Pattern Language’ by Christopher Alexander. Another interesting book is ‘The Eyes of the Skin’ by Juhani Pallasmaa.