Competitions & Explorations
Future-focused, arts-driven, interactive
Competitions are an opportunity for us to be bold in our thinking and test our ideas in a space that closely aligns our values with our design aesthetic. Our competition work merges new ideas and potentials - materiality and fabrication, social engagement and interactivity, growth and senescence, animation and reflection - with our optimistic lens on the potential of designed landscapes. Future-focused, arts-driven, and interactive competitions all catch our eye.
Featured Project: Teacher Mother Earth
A group of Yale alumni is moving forward an idea to inspire the way new generations can meet the environmental challenges of this century and beyond. Despite many advances in different countries toward sustainability, we are hurtling toward an overheated planet, the 6th mass extinction, and a severely damaged global food and water system, all of which is resulting in social upheaval around the planet. Gus Speth, our former Dean, once stated that science alone cannot solve these impending crises. “To deal with these issues we need a spiritual and cultural transformation - and we scientists do not know how to do that”.
As we approach a tipping point, any positive action today could have huge ramifications for our future. We propose a small but perhaps significant approach to this transformation - an initiative to designate Mother Earth as our teacher, providing her with visible presence in all schools of all levels (i.e., primary, middle, high schools, colleges, universities) throughout the world. Who better than Mother Earth, life herself, to teach us to know her, listen to her, love her and care for her? With this movement we aim to help children and youth establish a bond with the natural world and adopt a personal ethical code that includes the rights of nature. Implementing this enterprise broadly through educational policy is essential if we want to affect real change. As alumni, we are asking the Yale School of the Environment to embrace Mother Earth as a teacher, recognizing her wisdom and our interdependence with the living biosphere.
This proposal is based on work being done with indigenous groups in South and North America, and with urban communities throughout Peru. There, schools draft an official statement that declares Mother Earth as a teacher, her image is included as faculty member, and an outdoor area is designated as Mother Earth’s classroom. In addition, a “Rights of Nature” declaration is embedded in the curricula. It is a process that allows for the input of teachers as they engage in developing new course work and lectures that include Mother Earth as a colleague.
In these dire and urgent times, where the uncertainty of the climate crisis is a driving force that creates despair, we urge the youth to support this movement to inspire other universities to build on this evolving concept. We are convinced that with Mother Earth as an ally we will become more mindful and able to achieve harmony between humans and nature. Check out more from Teacher Mother Earth.