Crafting a sustainable Modernity-Breaking boundaries for something you believe in!

Breaking boundaries for something you believe in!

How do you move forward in your academic career when you always fall between chairs? When the labels available for you is either “art” , “engineering” or “sustainability”. When research funding is is only for those who have many years experience and funding only is released in priority areas. How can you innovate then? How can you create new ways of thinking? And what do you do when you only meet closed doors? You find new ways, you dare taking risks, and you need to believe strongly that what you are doing is the right thing! And I did it! Against all odds I carved out a small pilot project, presented it to the senior managements, project management, lecturers and students. And one by one got on board with me ,and this research paper recently published you can read how it happened.

I want to thank everyone who were involved, especially lecturers Ian Standen and Juan-Ferriz Papi, Lisa Burkl, Lara Hopkinson and Greg Owen.

Making Futures Journal 2017 Crafting a sustainable Modernity - towards a maker aesthetics of production and consumption.

Oseng-Rees, T., Standen, I., & Ferriz-Papi, J., 2018, An interdisciplinary project using recycled glass as an aesthetically pleasing architectural material, Making Futures: Crafting a sustainable Modernity - towards a maker aesthetics of production and consumption. Vol 5. ISSN 2042-1664 Click here for full paper

Modern World, Recycled glass- a guest lecture to architect students

So where do you start when you are being asked to deliver a guest lecture inModern World’ with the topic ‘Recycled glass’ to architect students?

Guest lecturing at School of Architecture, University of W ales Trinity Saint David

Guest lecturing at School of Architecture, University of W ales Trinity Saint David

The most natural place is to talk about why recycling is important. Why sustainability and circular economy is something that they need to consider and how the four pillars of sustainability (environment, economic, social and cultural) need to be at their heart of decision making when they work towards their degree in architecture. But most importantly, why they cannot sit back and wait for new legislations to force them into decisions that consider future generations.  It must be infused in their lives, be a part of their thinking, and they must break out of business-as-usual way of thinking.

My passion for the environment, sustainability, arts and science has always been a part of my life. But how did it become a part of my life in the first place? I had influencers around me, people with passion, people who cared about environment, and people whose actions made changes towards a better society. And me…? I was encouraged to speak up too.

And with these pictures from 1992 my, lecture started!

The environmental pages: Text/illustration Tyra 1992

What is the word environment?

The word environment is used a lot today. It is classroom environment, indoor environment, outdoor environment [and stuff like that]. In marketing of products there is many environmentally friendly products available. So, this shows that many people are concerned about the environment. And this is what I would like to talk more about, about environment and pollution.

Locally, Saltdal (my town) has very little impact in the big world. We have no industry to speak of, but locally there is always something that we can improve. For example, the sewage under the local pier and by the camping place that releases raw unfiltered sewage out. We have a landfill site next to the river, and we can see rubbish drifting downstream in the river, and unfiltered sewage are released here too. But in regards of the raw sewage, I have interviewed Arne Hals.

Interview with Technical Manager from the local council, Arne Hals.

Me: Is it allowed to release unfiltered sewage in the fjord?

AH: Yes and no. We can release sewage, but not the way we do it. We do have a sieve that reduces it by 20-30%. This is a problem and something and we will try to move the pipe into deeper water, but it is unknown when this will be done. 

Me: What about the fjord? Can it cope with this?

AH: Yes, it copes better than the river. It takes what it can take.

Me: Regarding the river, is it rubbish or sewage that is drifting downstream?

AH: It is sewage. But it is a water pipe further downstream and it can look quite foul. And it has been talked about taking some water samples, but this cost money.

High voltage power masts: Text/Illustration, Tyra 1992

High voltage power masts: Text/Illustration, Tyra 1992

Imaging, a beautiful summers day

Imaging, a beautiful summers day some ten, eleven and twelve-year-old children goes to the forest to build a den to play in. And they discover that trees have been cut down, even the great climbing tree is gone. Later they find out that it has been deforested due to a high-voltage power masts which is due to be installed there. No one knew that these high-voltage power masts were to be put up right there

Well, it has been a year since this case was discussed and the electricity company agreed that the high voltage masts could be moved further south. But when the masts were installed it was only moved about ten meters south. We don’t know much about its high voltage power masts, but what we do know is that it is high risk to be close to them. And despite this, they still insist of putting one up near the housing estates by Nygård.

I mean it, STOP with pollution!. ; Text/Illustration Tyra, 1992

I mean it, STOP with pollution!. ; Text/Illustration Tyra, 1992

But the big world has great concerns,

as for example the ozone layer has as many holes as a Sweitzer-cheese. And children in Africa is born blind due to the harmful sun-rays coming through the broken ozone layer. The sun-rays are so dangerous that we soon cannot go outside without protection from the sun. We can get skin cancer and various other scary things like that.

So, this is what I say, and not just me, we are young and old who says this. STOP!!! We don’t want more of the acid rain, sun burns, skin cancer, foul smell and difficulties to breath. STOP!!! Stop with pollution, try to reduce waste. Recycle your wastes, start a compost in the garden, put plastic in one bag and paper and cardboard in another. And the waste that can’t be recycled you can landfill. Smoking is bad for your health too, both for smokers and non-smokers. You can demand a smoke free environment both for eating and working in.

So, to those of you who have read this, I mean it, don’t just sit there and stare at the wall, do something. We have only one earth to live on.

And at last, some tip for you all.

*    Ask people to turn off their car engine when standing still

*    Ask people to pick up the litter they throw after them self

*    Ask mum and dad to cycle to work/shop

*    If you must use the car share it, not just sit one and one in it

*    Respect non-smokers

What is sustainability?

The lecture continues with debates, discussions and philosophical views about the future, the responsibilities of the next generation and how past generations has consumed resources without the thoughts of tomorrow. We discussed how circular economy will be a part of the future and how ‘Potential employment opportunities to Wales of operation of transformational circular economy’.

Slide from: Dr Andy Rees, OBE, Head of Waste Strategy Waste & Resource Efficiency Division, Welsh Government

Slide from: Dr Andy Rees, OBE, Head of Waste Strategy Waste & Resource Efficiency Division, Welsh Government

The students were then introduced to some facts and figures of glass recycling today and shown a video from groundbreaking research by Telesilla Bristogianni and Faidra Oikonomopoulou at Delft University using glass as structural elements, which you can see here.

The research proposal that gave grounds for the amendments in 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1

And finally, the students were presented by the case study of how waste glass can be up-cycled to sustainable architectural material. They learnt how one person’s passion can be groundbreaking for new thinking in an interdisciplinary study, and presented with the research proposal was gave grounds for the amendments that occurred in June 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1 at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). These amendments developed opportunities to use the creative, design and environmental skills of staff and learners within UWTSD for the SA1 development.  

Research proposal by Dr Oseng-Rees June 2015,. This proposal gave grounds for the amendments that occurred in June 2015, in the Sustainability Principles for SA1.

The interdisciplinary case study demonstrated that by using the five-ways-of-working from the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 as a design-tool, new and in innovative thinking can break through barriers which previously have been unachievable through an inflexible system of thinking.

The making of the IQ Receptions desk

They were finally shown the full video of ‘The making of the IQ Receptions desk which is situated in the very same building they are studying in. The lecture finished (with a round of applause) hopefully with students who now have a new spark of glowing passion for the environment, sustainability, arts and science, all wedded together with a long-term view of prevention of problems, integrating challenges, collaborations between disciplines and involving all stakeholders in their future commissions.