Oh what a web we have weaved on our route to sustainability. And while we seek sustainable construction and head towards zero carbon homes, are we not in real danger of creating an industry that is in itself not sustainable or resilient?
We have spent a huge amount on sustainability technology, on green marketing, of time and energy in defining zero this or that, sustainable ‘everything’, and yet carbon emissions from buildings have increased, we do not have a workable definition or solution to existing bldgs, and despite site waste management plans DEFRA recently claimed that one third of solid materials arriving at the site gate are not used for the ordered purpose.
Given the opportunity to blog for Blogging Action Day (BAD09) on climate change, we need raise the call to rethink construction, rethink facilities management and rethink design. Not in the now overused and redundant ‘rethinking’ as in tinkering with, hiding behind a thin veneer, but as in the Einstein “we can not solve todays problems with the thinking that got us here in the first place.”
25 years ago the Brundtland Commision definition of sustainable development called for actions that would not compromise future generations. Here we are a generation or so on, and I would bet that nearly every sustainable policy or statement echos or repeats the Brundtland definition. And yet we have compromised todays generation and continue in our actions that will compromise future generations.
Many sources have stated that our built environment sector consumes 40% of materials and contributes 40% of carbon emissions and waste. Not a record to be proud of.
Worst: we think we are addressing sustainability because we have greenwashed our products, our services and our actions.
We are on the cusp of needing radical actions to met forecast climate changes, being neutral may no longer be acceptable,. We may look back and regret the investments and industry we set up to manage and recycle waste, rather than investing in eliminating waste. We will regret our inactions on really moving the sustainability agenda forward since Brundtland.
Positive development, not neutral or zero, needs to surface as the new mantra on our sustainability agenda.
And stealing the words from construction excellence blog yesterday.
“If current leaders are not up to the task, they should as a minimum support the next generation who appear to understand the issues”
Be2camp Manifesto: Towards an open resilient sustainable and collaborative built environment