GreenSource The kind of environmental work you do has obviously become much more mainstream in the past few years. What is your perspective . . . ?
John Todd When you work with complex systems like nature, it takes a long time to accumulate enough — I’m going to use the word stories — about how nature works to be able to hold it all in your mental hands. It would have been impossible for me 20 years ago to talk about taking a whole region and using ecological principles to create a new and durable economy. (And I never, ever expected to win the Bucky Fuller Challenge, because I wasn’t offering a magic bullet.) But before then, it was impossible for me to imagine an eco-machine that would take toxic waste and render it harmless. Time is a big factor. I think there is also a shift today in how people perceive our relevance. In the past, people found our work to be . . . quixotic . . . . Everyone knew at the time we could drag petroleum out of the ground forever and that industrial foods were going to feed us all.
From an interview with biologist & ‘eco-designer’ John Todd in GreenSource.