Margaret Atwood

2006 02 06

Idea Bank - Bloodless Organic Flowers Grown On Tops of Warehouses

Idea Bank Series by Margaret Atwood

Given that:

• Pollution and pesticides are a problem
• Flowers grown in many countries have no pesticide standards
• More pollution is caused flying the flowers here
• There are many flat-roofed warehouses and business buildings
• Flat roofs heat up horribly
• More pollution is caused cooling the buildings in the summer
• Green roofs cut down on cooling and heating costs and thus cut pollution


Someone could make a nice business combining the installation of green roofs and the using of the space to grow organic local flower varieties. No good in winter, but the building would still benefit from improved insulation.

Once the roofs were in place, the building could actually rent the space for growing, thus profiting twice.

2006 02 09

Idea Bank - Margaret Atwood, Healing Paintings

Healing landscape paintings in hospital recovery rooms

Given that:

• Health care costs and hospital bed spaces are an issue

• There are a lot of folks who get pleasure from amateur landscape painting

• In Edmund Wilson’s book The Future of Life, there’s a throwaway bit about landscapes. People in hospital recovery rooms with the right kind of view out the window, or barring that the right sort of landscape painting on the wall, heal an astonishing six times faster than other patients. The requirements are specific:

The view should be as if from a gentle hill. There should be trees around, but an unimpeded view down over the landscape. There should be a lake or gentle river below. It should be sunny but with some clouds. The time of day should be @ 10-11 am or @ 4-5 pm (i.e. not dark and not blazing noon). It should be spring or summer.

(I’ve done this from memory but interested parties could look it up.)

This is what we find peaceful and healing – Wilson says because that’s what we would have liked as hunter-gatherers – fertile, water, promising weather, possibilities of plants and animals, good view so we would not be surprised by predators.


Why not put hospitals and amateur landscape painters together in a project that would supply healing paintings to the hospitals? (No toxic paints of course.) Fun and helpfulness for the painters, and if Wilson is right, reduced costs for the hospitals.

Painting by Claude Lorraine