A few days ago I wrote a short piece protesting U2’s Edge wanting to build LEED certified mansions. He had wanted to build five of them on protected hillsides in California and he donated a few million to “green” folks to buy their support.
It seemed odd that Mr. Edge should be allowed to buy his way into sustainability without balancing people and profit; only the planet seem to matter to the rice and privileged. I guess it is the land of the free after all, if we can buy and sell political seats, why not the leisure of green living? Why should the poor live in health and green homes? Why should the poor have access to health food? Why should the poor ever be allowed to hold a political office? They are lazy and are the cause of all of our economic problems, right? What would the world be if we did not have the poor; or even better, if we had a few billion poor people less.
Let Edge build his mansions then. I wouldn’t care about LEED by then. I’d be one of the poor people who just happened to disappear from his planet. Come and take me Mr. Alien, I’m ready for my home planet.
But earth held her breath and blew Edge’s dream, well, right off the edge of those mountains. Some sensible people with the authorities rejected Edge’s charisma and deny his permit to build. Thank you captain planet, there are five LEED certified buildings I won’t miss.
I can’t say the same for the tree-hugger organizations who took Edge’s money and now have nothing to show for. Let them lay in shame of their own pride I guess, but I sure miss their integrity.
Bashing and ranting aside, I had always thought sustainability should be developed from a holistic perspective – people, planet, profit. I see a lot of people passionate about this Green thing because it’s a status symbol to them. They are richer, live in a better neighborhood, have fancier cars and can afford to send their kids to overfunded schools. Living Green is like the new black, every housewife should not leave home without it. Let Green Style reign. But when it comes to people, no one else counts; profit is good only when it’s made by them; and planet, well just don’t try to pollute in their gated community. Let someone else be poor, burden the disease of bad environments and food with empty calories, and let the profit flow.
Don’t get up from your chair in an outrage now; this is nothing new. It’s always the way it should be, as the world turns I guess.
Lauren and I had always dreamed about living somewhere more Green. We don’t particularly care for the status, but we sure like to live in a place where people are more like us. We would make more friends and share more of our thoughts. We would live a little better and our Green ways a bit easier. Our kids can go to those overfunded schools and we can eat healthy without breaking a sweat – home delivery baby.
But the more I thought about the prospect of moving into a greener city, San Francisco for example, the less I am excited about the motivation. If I am moving there because it’s more sustainable and more Green orientated, then I do no better than I had set out to do. I ought to confront the problems rather than run from them.
Then I saw Maggie Beidelman’s interesting question about if LEED is really Green, asking if all this LEED development is really about sustainability or just about creating incentives for more unnecessary developments and bubbling the housing economy in a slightly different way. You should read the post when you get a chance, it’s a good article and it made me think about where I am and why. Maybe it’s a good thing I’m not in San Francisco and working on one of those LEED projects for a rich condo developer selling to Mr. Edge’s cronies.
And they say there is no exit.