The Green Institute and other hope-filled signs…

/ 16 May 2003

I’ve just finished Sandra Steingraber’s “Having Faith” and am once again convinced that environmental issues are incredibly pressing. Today I also had the opportunity to take a tour of the Green Institute here in Minneapolis, an “eco-enterprise” incubator, whose primary building space is also a showcase of sustainable building practices. It was really quite amazing! As they helped us to understand all of the ways in which they took energy inputs and environmental impacts seriously (ground source heating/cooling, recycled building materials, focused natural lighting, sustainable landscaping, etc.), I couldn’t help wondering what it was that makes it so hard for us to do this in other settings! Clearly we have lots of knowledge about how to build sustainably, yet we rarely do. What are the obstacles? Ignorance? Greed? Resistance to change?
And what would happen if we actually began to recognize that growth is not sustainable, and that we ought not base our continued economic survival on ever increasing consumer consumption? Stan Cox has a nice piece at on precisely this issue. And Robert Kennedy, Jr. weighs in on some of the environmental impact of our military in the US — would you be surprised to learn that it’s quite destructive and deceptive?