Sustainable by Design
Mohawk professor views the pandemic from a green perspective
While most of us have viewed the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of cases, outbreaks and lockdowns, Mohawk professor Piere Bordeaux has a different perspective. The professor of Architecture and Urban Planning sees architecture, planning and design as part of the problem with the crisis, and part of the solution, too.
Bordeaux recently started a social media campaign promoting green architectural and sustainable practices as the path to a safer and healthier society. He is creating a series of short videos to explain different issues, in simple terms, around sustainable design and practices, with the hashtag #OneMinuteGreenArchitecture, and he is challenging professionals from around the world to wade in.
“My goal is to educate the general public on the importance of sustainability, especially during this time of the crisis,” said Bordeaux, who is hoping to engage 1 million people in the campaign before it is done. “Sustainability in general, either economic or environmental, evolves around promoting human wellbeing, social wellness, and enhancing our quality of life.”
By publicly educating and advocating for sustainable design in buildings and public spaces, the Mohawk professor is hoping to create a groundswell of support for green planning, green building and green practices, everywhere. Our fast-paced, globalized world culture has us reliant on huge transportation infrastructures, automobiles and urban sprawl. He is breaking down complex issues into bite-sized messages to make the ideas easier to understand for the general public.
Bordeaux first came up with the idea nearly a year ago, as the first wave of restrictions and lockdowns were happening in Canada. He developed a plan, assembled some basic equipment and got to work. He uses a DSLR Nikon camera, a microphone connected to his iPhone for voice recording, and relies on a family member to help with the filming.
To date, Bordeaux has created seven episodes, covering road salt, urban sprawl, urban green spaces, the financial impact of sustainability and more.
“I want these videos to be super concise, visually appealing and flexible to fit on any social media platform,” he said. “I included graphs, statistical data, figures to my videos to help visualize any technical term that I may be using. I started on LinkedIn but I am strongly considering all social media platforms like twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even TikTok.”
Bordeaux has been committed to sustainability since he was a pre-teen student – he started recycling beverage cans and selling them before there were even local services in his area. Naturally, when he pursued his dream of becoming an architect, his commitment to sustainable practices were embedded in his work. Now, with the pandemic highlighting some of the integral flaws of our planning and building practices, he wants to raise awareness around the issues in a more intentional way.
“I believe, if we had followed sustainability practices a long time ago, we would have had many buildings, capable of fighting pandemics,” Bordeaux said.
If his campaign changes enough minds, perhaps our planned urban environments will be better equipped to keep us all safe in the future.