Lessons of the Humble Buttercup

Even the humble buttercup tracks the sun to maximize the amount of solar energy it receives from this free energy source.

For all our supposed intelligence, humans have lost sight of the sun as an energy source since the first lump of coal was found to be burnable. Before we discovered carbon fuels like coal oil and gas our buildings faced the sun, like buttercups. 

The sun was left behind in the human story – largely abandoned for burnable carbon energy forms.  The sun was lost to us. 

But fossil fuels have brought us climate change, taking us to the brink and beyond of human extinction. Unfortunately it leaves us with a world full of carbon-dependent buildings – buildings that are so reliant on carbon fuels that they are not truly habitable without their carbon ‘fix’. 

Whole cities and continents are full of carbon-slave buildings, the worst of which are skyscrapers, designed by ‘award winning’ architects such as Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Mies van der Rohe, and Norman Foster. But the only awards they appear to deserve are for the design of milestones on humankind’s journey to oblivion.

Back to the buttercup.

The movement of a buttercup to track the sun through its daily traverse of the sky is the shape of many of Solarity’s buildings. Admittedly it is as much a poetic response as a practical one, but it demonstrates our deepest respect for all of nature’s plants that track the sun, and the geometry of the suns daily arc across the sky.

And it signifies our determination to shape our buildings to extract as much energy from the sun as we can.

Like a Buttercup.

In the end the humble Buttercup is more ‘intelligent’ than the entire compass of human civilization. This because it lives within nature and not in a cloud of hubris setting itself apart from nature. 

The humble buttercup could save human civilization. 

If we only learned its lessons.

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