I had an interesting call just now. A developer called me wanting me to go check out a brownstone he had just bought and wanted to renovate. He buys a lot of properties, renovates and sells. He didn’t know about Eco Brooklyn but somebody had given him my number and said we did good work.
I pointed out that before we meet he should probably check out our web site. I explained we weren’t your typical contractor. We were a green contractor and that meant a different way of doing things.
He said, “Green is good these days, it is a good selling point. I’m open to that.”
I pointed out that we also like making money but that wasn’t the only thing. We were doing it to make the world a better place.
He said, “I too want to help the world but I need to sell these things. This green stuff costs more right?”
I said it didn’t necessarily cost more but it might take more time to build.
I finally told him that I didn’t think Eco Brooklyn would be a good match for him.
I have mixed feelings about this. Some would say that I should have taken the opportunity. He does volume and it would be a good chance to influence him and make more of an impact on turning Brooklyn green. I would have to work hard to show the benefits of green and I know there would be times where I would have to compromise. The hope is that I make enough of a difference for it to be worth while.
But it is not easy being a green contractor in Brooklyn. There is a lot of resistance. People have a lot of reasons not to build green. I could spend my life trying to convince people of the benefits of green building.
I have decided not to try and convince anyone. I have too much green building to do to spend energy on that. I am very lucky that the green minded clients find us. We have plenty of work with very progressive clients who want exactly what we do. In fact they look to us for guidance on how to me more green.
I have found that if you are idealistic you can use it in two ways. You can try to convince others of your views or you can live out your views for yourself. Trying to change others is a loosing game. It is a road to frustration and bitterness. But living out your idealism is a very satisfying path. You essentially create alternate realities. Yours and other peoples’.
With time people with the same views will find you and with more time your group becomes big. If your views are sustainable (i.e. are able to last) then it will become the dominant view. Unsustainable views (i.e. are not able to last) will naturally go to the wayside.
This is the natural flow of life. It takes no effort. There is no moral judgment. It is just about doing what makes you happy.
So with this guy I don’t think his actions are sustainable. He is welcome to check out our web site and see how we do things. But over time I think he will not be able to continue doing what he does. I do think the way Eco Brooklyn does things is sustainable and over time I think it will grow, both the company and the movement.