The Rooftops – Business Reconsidered

As the world clicks back into a renewed form of normality – it’s clear, it will never return to a pre-pandemic world. There has been a step-change driven by several positive things.

People and society generally have looked inward to reassess what each want from life and each person has had time to question the way we live our lives, and if we don’t like the answer, we can each change it. This is because we gave ourselves time to reflect and perhaps through that process, we are a better society for it. As I say, out of everything bad comes something good! Fathers who saw little of their children have corrected that. Mother’s stopped feeling guilty about working and we have all questioned the amount of travel and time spent on our computers, in cars and planes for meetings that we now know can be done as easily on Zoom and Teams. Embracing technology has been like the invention of electricity or an industrial revolution because it wasn’t national, it was a global shift. Yes, our priorities have shifted, and our families, relationships and nature are all better for it.

The way we interacted with other people has also improved. I notice how much more polite and kind people now are. Perhaps it’s because people have more time and therein are less stressed so that aggressiveness and anger generally appears to have subsided. A new moment of reflection on the way we treat the planet we live on has arrived. Was it the return in a matter of weeks of nature in its natural habitat combined with the responsibility we owe to the next generation that that shocked us to look ahead into what the world will look like if we don’t work together to improve the way we treat our planet through nature?

As the UK slowly unraveled from various lockdowns in a majority-vaccinated nation the question remains; how do we all in our day-to-lives help nature recover? The answer is two-fold, awareness and action.

Plant life and designers

Every year for the past decade I attend the Chelsea Flower Show, as the guest of Andrew Rolfe – a member of the SBID Advisory Board. Andrew’s brother is a member of the Flower Show Committee, so we get the inside track. This year was different for all the reasons that are Covid. The show reopened in September instead of May – a significant change for plant life and flowering! Yet for me, the most interesting stand at the entire show was not the change of colour and season on display, it was a new exhibitor tucked away in a corner in the main marquee called Bees for Development. It’s a series for clay beehives created from stacked empty coils of dried claylike matter for bees to build their hives within. The story behind how bees ‘work’ and what they provide is amazing… these relatively inexpensive and natural solutions transported from the Middle East to the skylines of many tower office blocks in the City of London is amazing. In just a minute I got an overview of how this system provides both protection and a home for bees to fulfil their working life. I wondered why as designers we don’t incorporate this easy to provide sustainable ‘thank you’ in every building we work? Rooftop space on office buildings and hotels is so appropriate for every company to buy into this amazing charity and put something back into nature’s footprint.

Whilst Chelsea may not have been its usual glowing and pretty exhibition, it was for me one of the most conscience and thought provoking. If you are a designer, architect or business owner I urge you to hop over to the www.beesfordevelopment.org website and for three minutes see what you can learn about this ancient and successful beekeeping method. Each tube is stacked together to form a wall where a honeybee colony creates a woven lattice – and natural honey! The connection between biodiversity and bees is in our garden on our rooftops and anywhere where there is space and fresh air, so let’s incorporate a sustainable garden in our corporate worlds. It will contribute to addressing the energy we consume and reversing general bad practice of the way we consume energy and interact with nature.