Is Green Building about Sacrifice or Being Realistic?

Here is a crap article by the New York Times arguing that in order to stop global warming we need to pick between either sacrificing (consuming less) OR picking greener options of consumption (so we can consume the same).

My response? Duh! We need to do BOTH. And even then we may not have a chance at saving most of ecology.

They point out accurately that if people have to pick between green and comfort they will always pick comfort.

Humans are about getting ahead. We have taken over the planet because of our ruthless survival skills. And we will continue to grow and plunder until the very last drop of resources are available. This I have come to accept, although very cynically, from my personal experience as a NY green contractor.

Even my most die hard green clients for green brownstone renovations in New York at the end of the day care more about comfort than anything, by far. They don’t like to admit it because it would rip into their green self image but the planet, the contractor, the neighbors, all of these things are WAY behind in importance to their own survival.

Obviously, you might say.

The problem with being a green contractor is that the fall from innocence is painful because we start with such high expectations. Normal contractors are already jaded. They know the ugly truth that the client wants as much as they can get for as little as they can pay, and the contractor in turn acts the same. It is brutal survival of the fittest but business is honest that way.

Nature is too I guess. Maybe humans, despite being the most brutal animal in the kingdom, is also the most delusionally idealistic.

Green contractors are the worst when it comes to this idealism.

We enter into a pact with green minded people to help save the world. There is an expectation of brotherly love and universal saving. But this feel good pact immediately shatters when the client comfort and safety is threatened (not enough money, DOB issues, deadline problems, and the million other things that can go wrong in a renovation).

On this the New York Times article and myself agree.

But they then try to make a case for the EITHER OR, juxtaposing two things that in my eyes BOTH should be done.

They say, instead of making people sacrifice and use less, lets just make their tools emit less CO2:

…switch to cleaner diesel engines and cookstoves, building more efficient kilns and coke ovens, capturing methane at landfills and oil wells, and reducing methane emissions from rice paddies by draining them more often.

This strikes me as even more delusional. Head in the sand delusional. Lets not worry about consumption. Lets just build more Hybrid cars.

 

 

Similar Posts:

Posted in All Posts, Green Tagged with:
One comment on “Is Green Building about Sacrifice or Being Realistic?
  1. Heather Y. says:

    Heck with the TIMES! They don’t get it, and they won’t get it.

    GRIST does, though. Here is a link to a GRIST page supporting what ECO Brooklyn has been saying all along..better to re-fit and use the a house already built rather than use a lot of energy and resources building new “green – tech” housing.

    http://grist.org/cities/this-old-house-why-fixing-up-old-homes-is-greener-than-building-new-ones/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Categories

Subscribe