Health and wellbeing are the fundamental pillars on which human beings build their personal and working lives and would have the opportunity to find them everywhere if every building were constructed according to the principles of bioclimatic architecture. But unfortunately, this is not yet the case.
The current pandemic has also transformed, disrupted and profoundly revolutionized the existence of each of us both at home and in the way we work. At present, the only weapon at our disposal is the social distance, as this virus is extremely contagious. For this reason, the work has undergone an unexpected evolution, as it has been abrupt in the digitization of its processes. Meetings in the office have turned into appointments on the leading online meeting networks with the glances aimed at the webcams of our computers while we are sitting safely inside our homes.
Houses or apartments that, however, in most examples, are not proving to be suitable and sustainable for an ongoing life within the four walls. Let's say "bio-incompatible".
Surely this situation is also proving to be an incredible opportunity for many working realities that are considering keeping the post COVID-19 smart working operational. Those who can work at the computer also have the social responsibility to leave the roads and means of transport to those who do manual and therefore compulsory live work. This decision applied 100% or at least integrated will also help the entire ecosystem not to find itself polluted again as if this stop was useless.
During phase 2 as well as in the following periods, various work areas will gradually be reactivated, and their locations will be populated again. This awareness makes it possible to make some reflections on health and wellbeing so as not to be caught unprepared in the workplace. The central theme in this situation is how to make workers feel safe when they return to their sites. And in addition to this also how to ensure that the environments can be healthy and maintained as those that bio-architecture can create thanks to its attention to the health of the human being.
The perception of safety and wellbeing is a very delicate issue to deal with, as it is extremely subjective. However, when faced with real evidence, the man finds comfort and benefit as well as when he feels in psycho-physical balance with the environment around him. For this reason, workplaces can be the subject of investigation processes, modifications to installations to increase energy efficiency and to environments that guarantee safety in the health and psychological field. It is essential that all the solutions that will be found are the result of work carried out by professional architects specialized in bio-architecture. They will be able to manage each place as a complete ecosystem. Air, water, light and surfaces will be the fundamental elements to update, modify, maintain and use for a healthy, efficient and sustainable working life.
There are already certifications such as LEED and WELL that allow certifying bodies to verify every element of the buildings, as well as the good practices, followed inside to define a green building. This would undoubtedly give the guarantee to workers to consider their workplace safe. But even in non-certified buildings, many activities can be implemented to guarantee indoor healthiness. Some of the main ones are:
- maintenance of ventilation systems and scheduled replacement of filters;
- equipping the building with filtering and osmosis systems for running water;
- updating of the cleaning protocols of the environments (increase cleaning cycles and use of products free of harmful chemical substances;
- redistribution of work shifts to ensure a safe distance between people and the use of the connecting spaces without assembly;
- inclusion of indoor greenery as it represents a real additional air purification system as well as an instrument of psychological wellbeing.
All these elements are based on the principles of bioclimatic design, i.e. the need to consider each place as a man-environment system in which all the parts must be calibrated with each other. This approach considers space as a real organism that today more than ever, we need to take care of every day.
Photo credits: Free-Photos by Pixabay
The concept of "sustainability" in the fashion world is a much-debated topic. Both designers and big brands are trying to reflect the growing demand from consumers for more attention to the environment. Very often, however, as if it were "one last trend to follow", what we see are just high-sounding slogans with eye-catching graphics but nothing more. When we learn about sustainability, we realize that having a "zero emissions" show or a "green" collection is not enough and that what is needed to make the fashion world genuinely sustainable is much more than that.
The search for sustainability is, in fact, a vast, complex and increasingly urgent task. Radical and immediate transformation measures are required that affect both the product and the production process. Fortunately, we are finding that more and more clothing companies are transforming their business models and changing their production and supply chain for the better to reduce the environmental impact generated by their work. This process is also part of a much broader change that is taking place within the entire textile industry, which is increasingly experiencing sustainable production processes. All this is possible thanks to consumers who are becoming increasingly demanding. The growing awareness of people occurs at every level of society and age, even though young people are the most attentive and sensitive to sustainability issues.
To monitor the fashion supply chain, there is the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), the international certification for organic textiles that have recently processed some data to support this thesis. GOTS has highlighted that last year saw the highest growth in certification operations ever. The research found that in 2019 the number of organic plants certified by the body grew by 35%, with a total of 7,765 suppliers in 70 countries around the world, compared to 5,760 in 2018. In particular, the most significant increase in the number of organic plants was found in Europe, India and Bangladesh. An essential aspect to consider concerns the parameters to be respected to be certified by GOTS as an organic plant. It is necessary to pass strict tests where each procedure and processing method respects the high standards of certification. These must ensure that no synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers have been used for organic products and that they have not been grown with genetically modified plants. It must be remembered that applying a sustainable agricultural supply chain is always the best choice as it also helps to protect and strengthen the biodiversity of the environment without risk of soil pollution, thus avoiding contamination of the land and the entire ecosystem.
Moreover, organic farming represents the best choice to be oriented towards as it plays a fundamental role in achieving at least 8 of the 17 SDGs of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. These include Zero Hunger (SDG 2), Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3), Drinking Water and Sanitation (SDG 6), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG 12), Climate Action (SDG 13), Life Under Water (SDG 14) and Life on Earth (SDG 15).
Fashion, therefore, cannot close its eyes to the future of the planet and all the strategies it will promote for more environmentally, socially and ethically friendly production and consumption will be fundamental to develop more and more sustainability in the fashion supply chain.
Travelling is like dreaming: the difference is that not everyone, when waking up, remembers something, while everyone keeps warm the memory of the destination from which he returned. So wrote Edgar Allan Poe when the journey was still a dream to be lived as soon as possible in the collective imagination.
Travelling has always been synonymous with freedom and discovery of the outside world but also of the inside.
Nowadays, the lightness and light-heartedness with which one thought of merely leaving home have been replaced by the feeling of fear and uncertainty.
The Coronavirus is generating day after day, an exponential crisis that in addition to affecting the health sector, has also overwhelmed the tourism industry, having enormous impacts that will change this sector for a long time.
The most disarming aspect is that at the moment, it is still complicated to imagine when we will be able to start travelling again and how we will change the way we go.
For the current COVID-19 crisis, there are no rules, and for this reason, it is not possible to give the right answer to these questions because the reality is constantly changing.
Moreover, the global scale of this coronavirus pandemic makes it continuously expanding.
In a recent article by the World Economic Forum, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) considered that this pandemic could generate 50 million jobs worldwide in the tourism and travel sector and identified Asia as the country that should be most affected.
The magnitude of the impact, however, must be remembered that it will depend primarily on the duration of the epidemic in the world because of the conditions for the spread of the virus were to worsen further, and the containment measures were to be tightened, the consequences would be even more severe.
"The equivalent of a loss of three months of global travel in 2020 could lead to a corresponding reduction in jobs of between 12% and 14%," the WTTC also said.
But an important point to remember is that people will continue to want to travel, and this drive is likely to be even stronger after these restrictions. The only real and fundamental constraint will be fear for one's health and that of others. And this thought leads us to understand that people will undoubtedly be much more cautious; they will need to understand but also to see in a tangible way what will be done for their safety. Both transport companies and accommodation facilities will need to rethink their travel and accommodation policies in a substantial and above all credible way.
When the recovery from this crisis is achieved, it will be important that all tourism operators in the sector share some practical principles that can help the entire tourism industry.
This "new normality" will have to include changes of all kinds, from hygiene measures and practices to new travel arrangements. Some concrete examples could be:
- when making reservations, both for travel and accommodation, there could be more flexible and exemptions for cancellation or re-booking;
- air flights could be rethought in passenger numbers to avoid overcrowding, as well as for trains and coaches;
- to bring tourists closer to the cruise world so severely damaged, they could become cheaper, and the companies building them could reconfigure the design of the cruise ships currently under construction to have larger cabins and reorganise the common areas by increasing the distance between people;
- to be able to transmit safety and control of the healthiness of tourist places and means of transport, the way of monitoring and cleaning the environments with which tourists will interact and also clear and correct communication will have to be changed;
- business travel could be encouraged to stimulate the recovery of airlines;
- besides, there will be an incredible opportunity to solve in a serious, scientific and at this point inevitable way all the issues related to sustainable travel in respect of the environment.
This last point allows addressing the concept of overturism, which is a term that has been coined to describe the exact moment when tourism, instead of bringing positive effects, generates extremely adverse effects wherever it occurs in the world. Overturism can be related to the concept of overcrowding, people or means. I believe that nowadays, it is entirely pointless to point out how overcrowding can lead to devastating consequences for both human health and the environment.
Sustainability is about human beings acting in a balanced way in the context in which they live and move. Consequently, even his "momentary" action as a tourist brings with it a sometimes indelible imprint of his passage. A single man will, therefore, be a bearer of change and all the more so will an entire community.
Since the tourism industry will have as a priority objective to regain its position and its business, it will undoubtedly have to face the recovery with a collective and shared approach among the countries of the world so that it can be mutually coordinated and advantageous with a thank you from the entire natural ecosystem if it is done with the right mix between economy and sustainability.