Raised and schooled in Germany, Switzerland and England, Robert L. Peters is a humanist and lifelong environmentalist. He is active internationally as a design consultant, strategist, policy advisor, writer, juror, lecturer, and expert speaker. We are delighted that Robert will speak at TEDxManitoba on February 9th, 2012.
What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the prospect of being able to make a positive difference in the world. I have a vision of a world that is peaceful, balanced and equitable for all, a colourful world in which diversity is celebrated and differences are embraced, a world in which stimulated human beings live creative, thoughtful lives in harmony with nature, a world in which faith rises above fear, and abundance alleviates suffering.
What do you do for a living and why?
I’m a graphic designer (aka image engineer, information architect, communication designer, and sometimes surrogate dreamer)—a profession that exerts a considerable influence on how the world identifies itself, conveys information, understands and acts. At CIRCLE (the consultancy I co-founded in 1976), our mission is to design—to use our collective intellect, talents and abilities to serve of clients, projects and initiatives that make a positive difference in shaping the world we envision. I define design as the “application of intent.”
Which TED talk do you think everyone should watch?
Angela Morelli’s The Global Water Footprint of Humanity
Why are you excited to speak at TEDxManitoba?
TED events offer an excellent platform for sharing important ideas with an audience that is receptive and willing to pass on important concepts, information and resources. My story of Solace House has been published internationally, however this “Made in Manitoba” story has never been shared in the form of a presentation here in this province.
What is your idea worth spreading?
Solace House, the low-energy passive-solar home I designed and built in the woods east of Winnipeg (and that I have now been living in for 30 years without a furnace) is an example of how we can move from being “consumers” to being “conservers.”
My goal in designing and building Solace House (and now in sharing that story 30-some years later) was/is to embrace simple principles and best practices of energy conservation, self reliance and sustainability—by incorporating the overriding goals of respecting existing knowledge, drawing as little as possible from the ecosystem and building with quality to outlast future generations.
With the world population now at 7 billion (up from 4.4 billion in 1979 when I bought the land and started building Solace House) I believe that dramatic shifts in human activity—from “consumers” to “conservers”—will be necessary for our species to maintain a viable presence on this stressed planet. My hope is that sharing my story of Solace House at TEDxManitoba will help inspire others to take their own actions in this regard.