The intent of the Place Petal is to influence in positive ways how people relate to the natural environment that sustains us. It is essential for modern individuals to reconnect with the deep “story” of place and the unique characteristics found in every community so that it can be honored, protected and enhanced. The Place Petal clearly articulates where it is acceptable for people to manufacture goods and extract raw materials, how to protect and restore a place once it has been developed for manufacturing purposes, and why it is important to respect all living species that are native to these places.
The continued spread of sprawl development and the vastly increasing number of global megalopolises threaten the few wild places that remain. The decentralized nature of our residential communities and industrial zones impedes our capacity to connect not just with one another but also with the products we make, sell and use—all while increasing transportation impacts and pollution. The manufacturing industries often impose significant point-source impacts that threaten water, air and soil quality. The overly dense urban centers in turn crowd out healthy natural systems, isolating culture from a sense of place. As prime land diminishes, more residential and commercial development tends to occur in sensitive areas that are easily harmed or destroyed. Invasive species threaten ecosystems, which are already weakened by the constant pressure of human encroachment.
Ideal Conditions and Current Limitations
The Living Product Challenge envisions a moratorium on the insensitive placement of factories and other manufacturing facilities, and on the extraction of raw material inputs in ways that threaten sensitive ecosystems, watersheds and species. Instead, we envision a manufacturing sector that conserves the natural resources that support human health and are the basis for all the products that we use. As previously disturbed areas are restored, the trend is reversed and nature’s functions are invited back into a healthy interface with the built environment.
Human behavior and attitudes are the most significant barriers to transforming the making of all things. There is a frontier mentality that seems to encourage the ideas that all natural resources are up for grabs for any use and in any quantity and that all natural resources and ecosystems are inherently of low or no value unless exploited.
The manufacturing of the product must not diminish habitat quality and the capacity for life to regenerate. Manufacturing facilities and all material inputs cannot be located in or extracted from:
- Habitats where there are endangered species, unless there is an appropriate provision for the protection of the species.
- Sensitive ecological habitats, such as:
In addition, the product may not contain materials derived from endangered species
For every dollar of gross revenue generated by the sale of the certified product in the year of certification, the manufacturer must donate half a cent to an approved conservation or Land Trust organization or to the Institute’s Habitat Exchange Program, 8 which directs money to highest-value habitat restoration and offset programs.