The Ecological Intelligence course focuses on teaching students about various aspects of designing the built environment in response to global climate change and the imperative to promote carbon neutrality, resource security, biodiversity, and ecological resilience, while also prioritizing human health and well-being. The Masters in Advanced Ecological Buildings and Biocities aims to cultivate a more ecological mindset among students, emphasizing the need for individual consideration of ecological principles. Definitions of ecological, sustainable, and green design are subject to ongoing debate within the architectural community. Architects and designers bear responsibility for understanding the environmental impact of their creations. Ecological thinking involves integrating different perspectives and scales to design in harmony with nature. Ecological intelligence recognizes the interconnectedness of all elements in a system and transcends species and scale. Industrial-driven simplification in architecture has led to environmental degradation, but by adopting ecological thinking, architects and designers can mitigate these negative effects and make informed decisions that positively impact the environment.

Ecological Intelligence

Forests & Land.

In 2021, farming, forestry, and land use contributed almost 20% of the world’s man-made greenhouse gas emissions. These activities both release and absorb these gases, making them crucial for climate action. When ecosystems like forests and mangroves are harmed, they release more gases, but when we protect and restore them, they can absorb more, helping to fight climate change. However, global efforts to do this properly by 2030 and 2050 are falling short.

Forests, peatlands, and mangroves hold a lot of carbon, but we’re losing them fast due to deforestation and degradation. It takes a long time for these ecosystems to recover and absorb carbon again, making it hard to reach our goal of net-zero CO2 emissions by mid-century.

To keep global warming below 1.5°C, we need to restore ecosystems by planting more trees, fixing degraded peatlands, and rebuilding mangroves. But this alone isn’t enough; we also need to protect these areas from further harm.

There’s some good news: many countries have pledged to stop deforestation and restore ecosystems, and there are new regulations to fight deforestation. But in the past, similar promises haven’t always been kept, and funding has been lacking.