I’ve always been sensitive to the heritage building of the Biosphère. I admire its splendor and its originality, quite apart from feeling its presence on a daily basis, there between the city and the river.
I’ve visited that architectural icon a number of times, the largest sphere in the world, created by the architect and philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. On each visit I’ve been struck by its history, its content and environment-friendly innovations like its living wall, its green roofs, its wind turbines and its geothermal heating – to name just those.
This place inspires. It’s borne by a mission whose aim is to heighten awareness of the major environmental issues while inviting us to action and to citizen participation. That mission is something I’ve felt since I was very young, and I felt it even more on my first day as director of the Biosphère.
Being globally inspired
Climate issues are no longer uniquely scientific concerns, but ethical, political and economic as well. The loss of biodiversity is grounds for worry, and the museum’s vocation will have to adapt to that reality.
In effect, the risks associated with climate change will be multiplied for the more vulnerable among us in both urban and rural areas. Food-security issues will be felt that much more, what with a greater frequency of drought and flooding.1 The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes the point that climate variability and change cause deaths and diseases connected to the natural catastrophes that they generate, such as heatwaves, flooding and drought.
So I see the Biosphère museum as an essential place for the spread of scientific and citizen-derived knowledge pertaining to the environment and to climate change. I see it as a distributor of innovations, of inspiration and of sound practices in a constantly changing world.
I see it becoming a hub for facilitating exchanges between scientists and the public, for disseminating the results of international gatherings of leaders in environment and in ecological transition.
The Biosphère is set to become a space showcasing local and international projects led by a range of people in society who have risen to environmental challenges.
Sharing with creativity
The innovative and immersive exhibitions will convey scientific content as well as ancestral and current knowledge that will be co-created with citizens. Art and technology combined with interpretation activities will catch the most resistant attention. For example, visitors might find themselves in the middle of a flood or have the sense of living in a bustling ecological and inclusive district.
The museum will adopt innovative digital solutions chosen with the public in order to present a more inclusive and accessible museum offer beyond its walls. It will seek to reach people where they happen to be, possibly outside the borders of Québec.
R. Buckminster Fuller was aware of the Earth’s limited resources and strove to discover what had to be accomplished if the world was to work better: namely, to provide food, energy and adequate shelter to 100 percent of human beings so that they could enjoy a high standard of living.2 He was a passionate advocate of renewable energy and energy efficiency. As its designer in all probability would have wished, the Biosphère will continue to devote itself to the protection of biodiversity and to ecological innovations in order to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The Biosphère is not alone on its island. The museum team will get to benefit from the experience of Space for Life in carrying out its mission. I’m not the only one who wants to contribute to the success of the ecological transition, and my wish is therefore to build strong partnerships with institutions, researchers and community stakeholders so that we may achieve this common goal.
“We are called to be the architects of our future.” – R. Buckminster Fuller