I was just speaking with an Eco Brooklyn intern who is an architect for a non-green firm in Queens. She was lamenting a current job she is working on where they are tearing out beautiful cherry wood details to turn the building into crap rentals.
All my workers have similar stories and one of their main attractions about coming to Eco Brooklyn was that they were sick of seeing such mindless waste in the construction industry.
Eco Brooklyn reuses everything.
As I was speaking with the intern I remembered an image from when I was six years old in France. We lived near a farmer. He had been a farmer all his life, as had his parents and parents before that. His farm was small, just a couple cows, some goats, some land to cultivate. It was enough to make him happy and give him everything he needed.
One day I was sitting with him at his table and he was eating lunch. On the menu was chicken. From his yard of course. He had baked the chicken with the feet still on. They stuck up like knobbly sticks with bony nails on the end. I watched in amazement as he ate the thigh, then the drumstick and then proceeded to gnaw on the feet with great relish. The only thing he did not eat were the hardest bones and the nails, which he chucked into a pot to make stock with later.
When I shared this with my mother she pointed out how he wasted nothing, that everything in life has a good use. The chicken legs were tasty and good for you she said. The bones had lots of vitamins. Even the nails had vitamins. Nothing on the chicken went to waste.
As a Brooklyn green contractor we waste nothing. Everything has a second or third use. It takes more time to do this. It even costs more. But the savings are also there and in the end it costs the same or sometimes less. The big difference is that we create lass garbage and use less resources. For the same money.
Why normal building is not this way I don’t know. When Eco Brooklyn evolved into green building it was like going from dial up to DSL. There is no going back. It makes so much sense to no waste.
After his main course the farmer, whose name was Jaque, finished off the meal with some cheese that actually had live worms in it! I watched transfixed as he put the pieces of wiggly worm filled cheese in his mouth. It was all washed down with wine from his vines.
The cheese actually was meant to have worms. Its a French thing. But again, it was his connection to nature. The food was literally alive. The wine was alive too. His food was so far from processed and packaged food it is not even fair to call them both food.
What happens when you eat food that is so local, as in within a couple hundred feet, and so fresh? The whole joke of carbon footprint becomes irrelevant. This is another universe of reality. It makes the notion of shipping vegetables from China to the US so absurd it is not even sane. What deformity has capitalism come to?
And back to my intern. Why has commerce become so bastardized that people are paying to rip out valuable cherry wood carpentry and replace it with pressed paper fake wood? How can such waste actually make money? These questions must be asked and we must find solutions. Time is of the essence. Today one hundred year old cherry wood make by a master carpenter is on its way to the dump to rot. What will it be tomorrow?