“We are drowning in information and starving for wisdom” – Julia Watson was invited for a Global Lecture at ETH Zurich, and we had a conversation about local Traditional Ecological Knowledge towards circular construction.
Julia Watson is a best-selling author of the book Lo-TEK Design by Radical Indigenism, a TED fellow, and a leading expert of nature-based technologies for climate-resilience. She brings interdisciplinary thinking to design projects and corporations for creating systemic and sustainable change. As I am teaching the course “Digital Transformation for Circular Construction” at ETH Zurich this year, it was essential to make my students think about what we can learn not only from the digital world, but also from history, culture(s), and nature.
Through a conversation with Julia Watson and Chris Luebkeman, I learned how indigenous technologies can withstand changing climate conditions in ways we don’t get taught at engineering schools generally. However, when faced with the challenges of design for climate resilience, local Traditional Ecological Knowledge can teach us a lot. We need to live more in symbiosis with nature rather than consider ourselves superior to nature when developing technologies.
We are part of nature. If we protect life, we protect ourselves.
Did you miss the lecture? We have photos online, and you can check out the recording below:
About the Author
Catherine De Wolf
To respond to today’s pressing environmental issues, Catherine De Wolf believes creativity lies in the art of connecting. She connects engineering with architecture, computer science, and art, at places like MIT, Cambridge, Arup, and now as professor at ETH Zurich towards a regenerative built environment.