We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors…we borrow it from our children
I ran across this quote innocently enough several years ago and have been intrigued ever since by its wisdom. Whether one wants to believe this to be a centuries old Native American proverb, or prefer to attribute credit to Ted Perry or David Brower, or whomever, is irrelevant – this is a thought provoking line nonetheless. Interestingly however, the esteemed Dr. Jane Goodall claims the line is a lie. During a recent lecture in Oxford, Dr. Goodall made the claim that we are not borrowing from our children, we are stealing from our children. “We shouldn’t be stealing from our future generations. We haven’t paid them back yet, but we should.” Kudos to the venerable Dr. Goodall.
In Edmund Burke’s 1790 publication Reflections on the Revolution in France, many believe Burke thought of society as a flowing stream, where we the living have obligations to those upstream and downstream. In other words, the current generation has obligations to past as well as future generations.
Sustainability is a simple concept, and one with a universally accepted, albeit often edited, definition (with all due respect to Gro Harlem Brundtland):
Sustainability is the ability of the current generation to meet its own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
Absent green building codes and green building rating systems, achieving long term environmental sustainability will depend, in great part, on how successful we are as parents with the environmental education of our children. When a child’s education begins as early as preschool and they are provided interaction with nature, they can then establish the connection between their natural world and the lessons being taught. And as they develop further, it will become second nature to them, ready to pass on to the next generation. Many of the finest environmental sites available today focus on the environmental education of children from pre-school thru K-12. Be a role model, make it a family affair, and it can be fun as well as educational for all. Children learn.
For consumers, achieving a green lifestyle needn’t be expensive. Whether it involves purchasing green products, learning how to drive less, or developing a home program that addresses waste management or energy and water conservation measures, there are plenty of no cost or low cost options available. Understanding how to achieve some degree of a green lifestyle can be easy and rewarding. For the most part, achieving and maintaining a responsible, sustainable, green lifestyle is simply understanding how not to be wasteful. Adults understand.
Professionals provide the essential communication and performance link between the rule makers and the end users. First, they must understand what system of sustainable rules the project must abide by given the clients degree of environmental interest coupled, if applicable, to any mandated green building code. With federal, state and local mandated green codes soon to be the norm, as well as green rating systems progressing more stringent levels of green performance, it is more important now than ever before that a qualified team of professionals, with integrated project team experience, be created and deployed at the earliest stage possible. Sustainable professionals understand how to deliver the best solutions, working together in a coordinated effort, to deliver high performance, sustainable buildings – and to do so with responsible sustainable technology. Professionals advocate.
At Studio4 LLC, we seek to entertain, educate, enlighten and engage those who are looking for content, education and direction that reflect and reinforce their perspective and worldview of the environment.