Sustain Ability – Unfiltered
What We Do Today Will Determine Our Life Tomorrow
by Michael Straley
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and sustainability connect to the environment, the economy, and to ethics. Sustainability will first be presented as a mind-set shift (U.S. General Services Administration, 2000). That shift can trigger our behavior and determine our ability to sustain or not to sustain; that is the question. At the core of this discussion, the earth is our gift to utilize, but the gift of her miracles and abundance is finite. To demonstrate a natural system worth preserving, the ecosystem of the amazing oyster is also highlighted. Finally, we do have the ability to sustain; the emphasis on this has already begun in our past, but the moment of truth is in our present.
LEED and Sustainability – The Connection
Aside from the great powers and abundance of nature itself, the decisions of man, corporations, and governments have the most predominant impact on the balances of our earth. Every decision has ripple effects similar to a stone hitting a peaceful body of water. Depending on the size, speed, and amount of stones, the ripples will be peaceful and well absorbed or conversely disruptive and destructive to our environment and economy. In this analogy, LEED and sustainability help modulate the size, speed, and amount of stones and can help create a “’Good and Bad’ decision-dynamics model” (Abdullah, Murad, Hasan 2015). If we remember we are the stone throwers that govern the billions of ripples, we can better shape the connection to our earth. If we also remember we are the stakeholders, our decision awareness multiplies.
Mother Earth and Our Mind-set
The earth is abundant and we therefore grow in population and build thriving economies on her resources and her shoulders, yet she is finite. With the world’s urban population increasing from about 38% in 1975 to almost 50% in 2007 and projected 70% by 2050 (Hira & Jain), the consequences of our choices and consumption are accelerating. The high-performance green building focus of LEED (Furr 2009) and the focus on design for sustainability described in the Hannover Principles (McDonough, 1992) are becoming cornerstones that can connect to change our mind-sets so we just don’t run faster. Concepts like the waste hierarchy “3 Rs” reduce, reuse, and recycle (Hira & Jain), can now connect into our choices. We should avoid equating abundance and low cost to unlimited resources. As economic leader Jack Welch has stated, “Change before you have to.” These are the mind-set shifts that will ethically protect our miraculous gift, Mother Earth, and her abundant, yet limited resources!
The Earth is full of miracles and abundance. One such example is that of the Oyster. The adult oyster can pump and strain up to 2 gallons of water in an hour. It is estimated that prior to the 1880’s the 18 Trillion gallons of water in the Chesapeake Bay could be filtered in a matter of days. Today it would take over a year (Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 2015). sustainability compels protecting this miraculous system and understanding the interconnectedness so that future generations won’t lose this filtration system that cannot be replicated or matched by man. I hate to spoil your next dinner, but I’d rather protect your future.
“Our present will become our past which will show up in our Future.” – Andy Stanley. LEED and sustainability are the roadmaps to boost our interconnected behavior to the environment, to the economy, and to inspire our ethical behavior. Since our direction, not our intention will determine our destination, LEED by example and personally make choices based on sustain ability. For each decision, choose what you want most over what you want now!
U.S. General Services Administration (2000). Real Property Sustainable Development Guide , p9.
Abdullah, A. B. M., Murad, M. W., & Hasan, M. M. (2015). A DECISION DYNAMICS MODEL OF COST CONTROL AND CORPORATE GOVERNANCE. The Journal of Developing Areas, p 399, 49(2), 397-405. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1621839923?accountid=41020
Hira, R., & Jain, R. (2014). CREATIVE ‘TRASH TO CASH’ STRATEGY: A CASE STUDY OF ITC LIMITED. International Journal of Marketing and Technology, p1, 4(10). 75-83. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1612360828?accountid=4102xx
Furr, J.E. (2009). Green Building and Sustainable Development. p3.
McDonough, (1992). The Hannover Principles. p6.
Hira, R., & Jain, R. (2014). CREATIVE ‘TRASH TO CASH’ STRATEGY: A CASE STUDY OF ITC LIMITED. International Journal of Marketing and Technology, p5, 4(10). 75-83. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1612360828?accountid=4102xx
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, (2014). The Eastern Oyster. Retrieved from http://www.cbf.org/about-the-bay/more-than-just-the-bay/creatures-of-the-chesapeake/eastern-oyster