Bau-Biologie® is a science that is appealing to women of all ages and varying backgrounds.
|I find it interesting that although it is not considered a “woman’s issue” the science of Bau-Biologie® is one that is appealing to women of all ages and varying backgrounds. I first became introduced to the term through my partner, Jörn Schröder.
An Eco-Architectural consultant, Jörn has been building for the past twenty years-- applying the principals of Bau-Biologie® with building projects in Germany and the US; a house he built from the ground up in Canada and a re-constructed brick brownstone in NY. Jörn explained that the only way to truly build a healthy indoor environment is to approach the objective from a holistic perspective. This thought resonated with me theoretically but I had no idea of the full scope of the concept.
I had to stop and re-examine the life that Jörn and I share and admit where my own personal consciousness was raised. My strong dislike for cold weather has, on more than one occasion, motivated me to run the water in the tap until the temperature is at least tepid; one of those areas where consciousness causes me to re-evaluate my “in the moment” choices. Another example is when I became aware of the vast amount of paper that I consumed, for everything. I had to look at the whole chain of how paper gets to my hands, from the source to me. Is my over use inspired by true need or an implied demand created by marketing strategists?
Each time Jörn presented the connection of the choices I was making, I realized that I was taking resources for granted, (a familiar habit that often comes with born and bred USA citizenship). This can be fully appreciated by a visit to a developing country where a hot shower is still considered a luxury. So when one of my sisters asked what does Bau-Biologie® mean in the face of the green movement? The short answer was that Bau-Biologie® is "how buildings impact life and the living environment." It is a “three-skin-theory”: the human body as the first skin, clothing represents the 2nd skin and the house is the 3rd skin, with an underlying principal of balance and harmony.
The application of this knowledge is applied to the construction or renovation of homes and workplaces, taking into account the holistic interaction between human life and other life forms sharing the environment. Another way to understand this is that materials that come from the environment are used to make up the house structure and when returned to the environment, will cause no harm. The unabridged dictionary defines science as “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths, systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws…” This is how I have come to understand Bau-Biologie® as a science.
Although a novice, as my understanding increased; without even realizing it, I found Bau-Biologie® was affecting my life in subtle ways. I began drawing correlations between my life conditions and the world around me. The real discovery was meeting the challenge of being true to my new convictions and the importance of practicing what I preach. For me, green cannot be just a movement; it must be a way of life and the lust for financial gain cannot supercede the costs. Holistic, balanced co-existence – words that describe a novel concept but can they be fully achieved?
I had the good fortune of meeting several amazing women who all practice Bau-Biologie® as a way of life. What was most appealing about these ladies is that they all “got it” and each of them were committed to the living proof that the holistic approach to life is the only one that makes sense. I asked three questions of these women; this is what they shared:
Paula Baker-Laporte and I first met at the 2006 IBE conference (The International Institute of Bau-Biologie® and Ecology) where we purchased her books: Prescriptions for A Healthy House (A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Homeowners) co-written with Erica Elliot, M.D. and John Banta and Eco Nest (Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber), co-written with her husband, Robert Laporte.Paula and Robert started the EcoNest Company in Tesuque, New Mexico. In addition to being an author, Paula is an architect and Bau-Biologist.
Paula: I learned about Bau-Biologie® after I became ill with chemical sensitivities and sought out research on how to build healthy environments from all [the] sources that I could find. I not only live in a natural home that we built according to the principles of Bau-Biologie®, I have focused my career as architect, writer and educator on the principles of Bau-Biologie®. I noticed changes not through the study but through the application. By building this way for ourselves my husband and I had a tangible living model for us to experience and for us to invite others into. We discovered that a building that is built using Bau-Biologie® feels and acts differently than even the healthiest or most ecologically "green" structures that are built conventionally. The proof is in the pudding.
Carol Cannon is another remarkable woman I had the pleasure of meeting at the 2006 conference. Carol is a Feng Shui and Bau-Biologie® Consultant and Teacher. Through her company, Carol Cannon Group. Carol specializes in appraising proposed commercial properties such as office buildings, shopping centers, industrial developments, retail malls, hotels, mixed use developments and commercial acreage.
Carol: I had started to study Feng Shui and learned about Bau-Biologie®. I flew to Clearwater to meet Helmut Ziehe and after listening to what Bau-Biologie® was all about – I signed up immediately! Bau-Biologie® fits in perfectly with my life and work. Personally, I became so much more aware of environmental hazards, and found the answers to some of my health issues. Specifically, [awareness of] electro-magnetic fields, using organic cleaning products and organic, sustainable materials in my surroundings. Professionally, I have made it a part of my practice, helping people to make changes in their lives that bring them better health and harmony through the juncture of Bau-Biologie® and Feng Shui. I have noticed many positive changes in my life. The first and main change was that by reducing electro-magnetic fields in my home and office, the headaches that I once had have disappeared. I recall the first speech that I gave about Bau-Biologie®, encouraged by my acupuncturist at the time, who told me it was my public responsibility to let people know. I do feel that I have a responsibility, as I suffered for many years and now know something that can and does help many others. I think what people have noticed about me is that I am not sick all the time, am happier, and certainly they have noticed that my business is engulfed in the philosophies of Bau-Biologie®.
Mary Frances Bernadette, a psychologist and therapyst from Port Washington, WI, is a new friend who recently became certified as a Bau-Biologiest. I found her passion for learning inspiring.
Mary: I was interested in having a web presence that distributed Eco/organic home interior products. I “googled” to see if anyone had already done it. Yes, Green Nest came up. They were doing such a "bang-up" job, that I decided not to reinvent the wheel. I looked further into their site and saw Lisa and Ron Beres were being certified in Bau-Biologie®. They had a link that took me to the Clearwater school. I called Susannah and the rest is history. It was great to get to the conference and connect with them and the rest of the people in this profession. I had a passion for function in the home since I was a new bride (age 20, some 34 years ago). Later in life I got a BS in Psychology and Masters in Occupational Therapy. My focus has been to take health into the home/office environment, but didn't know exactly how to do it until I heard of Bau-Biologie®. As a therapist, I work with children with Autism and saw a connection with toxins. I also saw the increase in Asthma and again saw a connection with home environments and toxic products. My life will now have a focus with scientific measures to identify toxins, mediate, and hopefully make a big difference in lives of many families. Personally, I have a new grandbaby. I have taken steps towards decreasing toxins in my home as well as making recommendations to my daughter for her home to welcome a new life into a healthy environment. These steps include decorating materials that don't off-gas, a rubber or organic filled infant mattress without metal springs, organic/eco friendly and fragrance free cleaning items, battery operated child monitor, good HEPA air purifier, and use of safe plastic bottles. These are just a couple items of change. [I have] a genuine excitement for moving forward with my passion and profession with regard to healthy living. My children are encouraged that I am taking steps towards what I love. They are on board and making changes in their lives as well. My colleagues in the "green" movement are amazed at the knowledge that I am sharing with them. The "green" movement tends to be more focused on energy efficiency and the relationship of humans and the earth. I am offering a "health" perspective that supports this movement with another major component that becomes personal to everyone regardless of age, socioeconomic background or health status.
Vicki Warren, an amazing woman I also had the pleasure of meeting at the 2006 IBE conference, is the new Executive Director of IBE. Vicki's previous leadership as the IBE Program Director further established the foundation and developed the educational component of the organization. Her company in Nashville, TN, Wings of Eagles Healthy Living, Inc. performs home assessments of indoor air quality and electromagnetic exposure and guidance in the usage of natural healthy materials during construction and/or remodeling. These issues are especially valuable to those with environmental sensitivities or those who are immuno-compromised. WEHL consults with architects, builders, developers and individuals to create a healthier built environment.
Vicki: A friend of mine attended a seminar where Larry Gust, BBEC and now Chairman of the IBE board was lecturing. She thought it was something in which I should get involved. I've dedicated my life to raising the awareness of how our homes and buildings affect our health and assisting folks in making informed decisions. With the assistance of some dedicated friends, I've started a non-profit to educate at the grass roots regarding these important concepts. Every decision I make regarding our home is based on the biological perspective, followed closely by the ecological compatibility. I research more and talk non-stop about the concepts.
Another very interesting woman, Kyla Mortil, from British Columbia, Canada, is a Bau-Biologist who provides environmental home inspections, testing for air quality; mold and electromagnetic frequencies.
Kyla: A friend in my Mastermind group thought it would interest me, as I was taking Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. He introduced me to his friend, who was taking the course. I have made positive changes to my house. I work as a Bau-Biologist in my area. I try to educate people about the Bau-Biologie® principles. My friends and family, as well as clients, now come to me with questions. It makes me feel good that I can contribute to their health as well
Of the 1300 IBE members in North America; 95 were at the 2008 conference, 46 of which were women. Women like Alison Wilson; a member of the Building Biology® Network of Australia and the IBE Program Director of Australia, shared her vision of further developing the Bau-Biologie® initiative in the “Land Down Under”. Dr. Magda Havas, B.Sc., PhD spoke on electromagnetic radiation and Libby Kelly did an expose on wireless technology.
Perhaps it is shear feminine nature as nurturer that attracts so many women to the rapidly growing study of Bau-Biologie® due to its holistic approach. I know this is what attracted me, the idea that everything is connected and must be taken into consideration when optimal health is the objective. Optimal health of mind, body and spirit; optimal health of the planet- the synergy is undeniable. Looking at the world with a new consciousness opens the door to paradigms that will help us transcend from our current state of waste and abuse, to the exploration and discovery of life sustaining co-habitation and abundance.