More Than Green wants to show that sustainability is something more than just an environmental issue: it is culture, economy and society. The project presents an on-line multimedia encyclopaedia with real examples of best practices in matter of sustainability in the fields of art, technology, architecture or politics. Its mission is to become a tool of dissemination, training and communication on Internet that help us understand sustainability.
We spoke with Vicente Iborra and Iván Capdevilla, project developers, architects and professors of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Alicante.
P: How can we define “More than Green”?
R: More Than Green (MTG) is an educational project in matter of sustainability expanded to a general no skilled public, which addresses the issue from their own environmental, social, economic and cultural perspective.
P: Who promotes it?
R: The project is promoted by PLAYstudio and developed by an entrepreneurial team formed by: Iván Capdevila and Vicente Iborra, professors of the University of Alicante in the degree of Architecture, the architect Julia Cervantes Corazzina as contents editor and also we count with the contributions of Ku-Chian Ju and Jay Lee Joe from China and Korea, respectively.
P: Why there is a need to promote MTG?
R: The new global world-wide polity, supported by major world leaders, have spent many years telling us that the problem of environmental unsustainability should not be treated as a cause but as a consequence of larger problem: the unsustainable social and economic system models of our days.
Although our governments increasingly seem to be more aware of this expanded vision of sustainability, mechanisms of communication, dissemination and training in matter of sustainability are inaccessible to most people. For example, the huge number of protocols, letters, agreements, etc., are in many cases directly presented to society as highly technical texts and therefore incomprehensible. Moreover, from the educational point of view we always have known that the best way to educate is not through big theories but through small examples. That is where the More Than Green project arises, in response to this social need of information and understanding.
P: In what consists this expanded sustainability vision from MTG?
R: The concept More Than Green corresponds to a new sustainability understanding vision of the problem, that is to say tackling the environmental, social, economic and cultural dimension. This is self-evident through the selection of relevant examples and notable practical cases, which are narrated with multimedia material and compressed texts.
P: How do you articulate MTG through Internet?
R: The digital presence of MTG is structured through the site http://www.morethangreen.es/. The principal area is the blog and we usually call it “ Multimedia Encyclopaedia of Sustainability”.
This on-line information repository was the first initiative that we launched, mainly for two reasons: first, because when we started the project two years ago, the blog was the most powerful digital tool and second and fundamental is that in the developed countries (the main culprits of sustainability problem) almost 70% of information access is through Internet (an example: “Internet becomes the main source of scientific information”).
P: Which kind of public do you pretend to have?
R: MTG Is opened and designed for all type of users who are interested in sustainability. Nevertheless, as professors we believe that the skilled knowledge and scientific dissemination that we should realise must have a great capacity to influence behaviours and decisions in future society. This influence has to be developed with and for the citizens who are after all the ones who democratically vote.
Thus we believe that if we do something relevant to promote a greater awareness of sustainability, we must do it in an indirect way, for example: through politics education, and especially, informing the citizens.
We try to develop digital contents for all type of users, for example have available page of links to the main texts of reference, as well as a section headed to children, in which we explain through videos basic concepts of sustainability, what is the ecological footprint and why the compact city European model is better that the disperse Anglo-Saxon, etc.
P: Which activities do you promote to boost the use of the platform?
R: The main activity has been the web page itself: http://www.morethangreen.es. In these last two years of activity, the project has attracted the interest of users from more than 90 countries that visit us daily. In the Ibero-American context the project is followed with special interest from countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Argentina or Chile.
An important effort for translation is being performed right now. At present, the web page is available in four languages: Spanish, English, Chinese and Korean. These two last have been possible thanks to the recent support of institutions like the Foreign and Cooperation Office of the Embassy of Spain in Seoul.
We are developing activities for children, for example the one promoted with the support of CAMON in Alicante under the name Future Surroundings or Future Generations. We managed to meet together children from primary school with university students in order to think in how to build images of sustainable future cities.
We have presenting the project in sustainability congresses all over the world, we visited recently Barcelona, San Sebastián and Kyoto. This effort in scientific dissemination allows us to have contact with the main intellectual authorities in matter of sustainability and put MTG in reference in this matter allowing the project to keep growing.
P: Which have been the most important barriers that you have found?
R: The main barrier is the own sustainability of the project. It requires more time than what we have, so we are trying to achieve some type of sponsorship through the Ministry, but in Spain this results quite complicated nowadays.
We are looking for options offered by foreign entities that could be interested in our initiative. MTG is an innovative project contrived with global vision, developed through Internet and does not exist any similar in Spanish, English or Chinese. Fortunately, the project each time is more expanded and has more acceptance.
P: So far the project has several recognitions, such as?
R: In addition to the users visits, we are receiving recognition of the intellectual world. Increasingly the authorities refer to the project, as José Fariña, Ecosystem Urbano or the Association Sustainability and Architecture (ROAST).
Then, there are the invitations to international sustainability and education congresses.
And finally, the prizes, for example, before summer the MTG project was selected to represent Spain in the VIII Bi-Annual Ibero-american of Architecture and Urbanism and, recently was rewarded by the Foundation Banco Santander in the contest Talents Design’ 12.
P: As entrepreneurs, which value does this initiative contributes to your work as architects?
R: The main value is the self training. Educate forces us to learn continuously and to be up to dated of all what happens around us.
P: Which reflections have you for present and future challenges?
R: In the same way that we try to head to a different public, we want to do something similar to the knowledge generation. That is to say, our vision of the sustainability, although expanded, it is always ours, therefore our new aim is to invite other people to contribute in the project.
P: To finalise, do you have internationalization or cooperation perspectives?
R: In the present, have begun to realise some contacts with people in India, Egypt, U.S., Germany, South Korea and Taiwan. A first step will be the celebration of the More Than Green International Summer Course that will be held in the University of Alicante during July and in which we will have the participation of professors as Matthias Schuler, Alfredo Brillembourg or Belinda Tato and José Luís Vallejo.
Hopefully in few months the project has taken a definite step towards its establishment as an open knowledge network with an optimistic, confident and enthusiastic vision of a sustainable future.
More information: More Than Green