Wk 8- Human vs. Environmental ethics. Eco-ethics.

We had another insightful and highly passionate guest lecturer come in today. Reannan Honey from the School of Life Sciences. Reannan provided several insights into conservation practices, habitat restoration through her background as an Ecologist. She questioned, “How have urban environments changed natural environments?” Invasive species introduced during colonization such as the Cane Toads and such destroyed native species. If the individuals in authority and access to knowledge had asked the right questions, and tried to consider the future implications of introducing foreign species, the outcome maybe have been mitigated. Tony Fry in in ‘Design Futuring’ introduces the concept of ‘designing in-time,’ that involves “examining in detail what is likely to shape future positive or negative possibilities and thereafter deciding what should, or should not, be factored into design activity on a precautionary basis.” Reannan shared a very similar cautionary advice to be as rigorous as possible through thorough research and testing. While Fry also touches upon ethical evaluation in willingly accepting responsibility, he also understands that design is political- it always “serves a particular ideological master.” However, to those who strive to redirect design, this understanding is imperative.


Breannon highlighted several conservation practices through the lens of bio-centric design that combines eco-centric and anthropocentric worldviews. For example, the creation of patch habitats and wildlife corridors aim to reintroduce elements of ecosystem in parks and reserves to allow animals to cross over habitats and coexist in urban systems. Such thinking stems from disciplines of science, design in built environment, architecture and ecology studies. Tony Fry hence aptly argues the importance of redirective practice for design that bridges across disciplines by a ‘meta-discipline’ that fosters an “exchange of knowledge and dialogue based on a common language of engagement.” This thinking is beyond mutli-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary thinking, and rather is a ‘meta-disciplinary’ practice that enables a “practical transformation of knowledge in action.” (Fry, 2009, pg. 55) Both Reannan and Fry argue for a research-grounded and cross-disciplined mode of acting for the positive future directing of our environment.


Hence, reflecting on studio content up to now, the role of ethics and empathy in design creates an open dialogue for consideration that openly delivers the need for humans to acknowledge, take responsibility and act upon through design and redirective futuring for an ecologically balanced existence within the envelope of Nature.



Fry, T. 2009, Chapter Four, Design Futuring: Sustainability, Ethics and New Practice (English ed.), Berg, Oxford, pp. 53-70. 4


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