Green fatigue?

The report in yesterdays Observer (Green Fatigue leads to fear over climate change backlash) highlights a growing concern over green issues and sustainability:

A backlash is now a real threat, said Phil Downing, head of environmental research for Ipsos Mori. ‘There’s cynicism because on the one hand we’re being told [the problem] is very serious and on the other hand we’re building runways, mining Alaskan oil; there’s a lot going on that appears to be heading in the opposite direction.’

Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, agreed. The ‘vast majority’ of British businesses ‘are still not into sustainability and climate change’, she warned.

I notice the same in the built environment. There remains a lot of scepticism at all levels in our industry, the following being typical of those heard recently:

“why should we bother with sustainability at site level when the architect and client specify roofing from Germany, and when our head office appoints subcontractors from the Midlands or where-ever to install it…

“we have no control over our suppliers and subcontractors….

“we have to go through so many hurdles on environmental issues to win work, then the client only pays very minor lip service to sustainability – its a waste of time …

“why should we bother going green – we will only get criticised for not doing enough if we put our heads over the parapet …

“this governments not serious – they talk of codes for sustainability and zero construction – and yet plan to build more coal fired power stations and airport expansions …

“Its a joke to be expected to travel to London for a sustainability conference …

“its just more paper work -we cannot make any difference…

All leaders and those of influence in our industry need to address these concerns head on. By leaders and influencer’s I include the government, clients and customers, directors and owners, bloggers, event organisers, specifiers, designers et al.

2007 was the year of awakening on sustainability issues – we need to build on that momentum with clear, accountable actions and visibility on decisions, not let it be undermined by green fatigue and scepticism. Players in our industry need all the encouragement and reason to change the built environments lifestyle.

As they say … walk the talk

Postnote:  see also Phils post over at 2008 – is a backlash on the way

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