Natalie Jermijenko wants to redefine what we describe as health focusing on environmental health. The problems can be shared and dealt with together through collective action as if we improve the environment personally it improve it for every one.
The theory is good and the idea is good but how exactly is the change implemented?
One example given in the video is of using a tadpole to act as a water bio-sensor indicating the levels of pollutants and toxins in your local water supply. The idea is that you would take your tadpole out for a walk and with a “tadpole walker” which would start a conversation with our neighbours about your shared water quality. Personally I just think this is very silly and distracts from the very credible work and principle that it is based on. She claims to use new technology to actively improve the environment and this is a really opportunity to use technology such as sensors and the social technology of social sensors to share and actively improve your local water quality.
Another project is Mussel Choir. It is public artwork that turns mussels into instruments by using Hall sensors, which indicate the opening and closing of the shells, to give each of them a voice by converting the data into sound. The mussels are a biological meaningful measure of pollutants and this measure can then be relayed to the public in an exciting way to improve their understanding and awareness.
The simplest but most effective project is the NoPark. The project involves turning no parking zones such as those associated with fire hydrants into micro engineered green spaces. They capture and filter any water and oily runoff before it reaches the river and hep to recharge and replenish soil moistures. It does not bock access to the fire hydrant as the fire truck flatten it and it will regrow. It is a very practical and simple idea and one which got invited to pitch as a permanent feature.
The environmental health clinic has some very exciting and progressive projects and the more practical ones seem like they could make a real difference.