Resources

Our world is in crisis: the climate is getting hotter, the ocean more acidic and natural habitats are being forever altered. Half of the planet’s animal and plant species predicted to be extinct within the next 85 years. Designing for a future in which we live well with the other creatures on the planet requires an understanding of the systems in which your design is imbedded, and what choices will minimize or reverse negative impacts. While this page is by no means all inclusive, it includes links to institutions outside RISD whose work we reference and recommend to you.

Our Local Environment

Discover the natural history of Rhode Island and Narragansett Bay through these institutions that offer both online information and activities and nature walks around the state.

Green Materials and Biomaterials

Designing for the health of the planet starts with low-impact or benign material choices. Links here include data portals for certified green building products to recipes for d-i-y and g-i-y materials

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design factors extend from healthy material choices to understanding the impact of your design in terms of embodied carbon and water, life cycle inventory and analysis, and ecological assessments and regenerative design strategies. Wise design also considers the social as well as the economic and environmental dimensions of design choices.

Biomimicry

Biomimicry takes its design cues from the natural world, and encompasses green materials, product innovation, and designing for systems.

Teaching and Learning

Resources for those involved in bringing knowledge of living systems and sustainability to K-12 audiences.

Competitions

Want to design the next innovation to save the planet? Look here for insight on how to improve your designs, and enter for a chance at international recognition.

Collections

The Nature Lab’s myriad collections offer endless inspiration for personal and collaborative projects, along with class assignments.

View the Nature Lab's collections.

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The RISD Nature Lab is an EPSCoR|C-AIM Core Research Facility supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #OIA-1655221 and EAGER Grant Award #1723559. ​​​Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this site are those of the Nature Lab and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.​

© 2019 Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab at Rhode Island School of Design