Archive for July 2013
We started the Green Builders journal as a Blog that gives one Homebuilders perspective on what it means to be Green. As a Company that is heavy into Social Media we spend a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter and our 2 Blogs. What I’ve discovered over the last 4 years of being knee deep in this “Social world” is that I’m starting to believe the word Green needs to be replaced by the word “sustainable”. Let me give an example.
I follow Bill Gates on Twitter. Lately he’s had a series of tweets talking about how much land and resources are required to produce food. It’s staggering. In 1800 the average human used to eat about 10-20 pounds of meat PER YEAR. That’s a pound or two per month. Today the number is almost 200 per year or roughly 16 pounds per month. We now eat as much meat in one month as we used to eat in an entire year. That astonishes me. Estimates are that the world population was about a billion people in 1800. Today it’s over 7 billion. So not only are we eating 10 times the amount of meat we did just 200 years ago, there are 7 times as many of us doing it. Gates goes on to say that it takes 10 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat. Very inefficient. You can produce about 1000 pounds of grain per acre. You can see where I’m going with this. It’s unsustainable. At some point it will require so many acres to produce so much grain, to feed so many pigs, cows and chickens to supply so many pounds of meat to so many billions of people that we’ll simply run out of room. We’ll run out of water, we’ll run out of reality. It’s unsustainable.
The same billion people in 1800 lived in a world where the CO2 levels in the atmosphere was about 280 parts per million. In the last 400,000 years it’s never been above 300ppm. Today the 7 billion of us live in a world of 400 parts per million. It crossed into uncharted territory above 300ppm around 1920, 350ppm in about 1950, and its about 400 right now. It’s unsustainable. Even if you’re one of the “interesting” folks that think climate change is made up, you have to see that the current pace is unsustainable. At some point it HAS to affect something. And it probably isn’t good.
As humans we spend a lot of time blaming others for anything bad and separating ourselves as a species by country or race or whatever, but at the end of the day we’re realistically 7 billion people living in one “country” called earth. As time goes on I believe borders will start falling and the realism of being “one” starts to make sense. Maybe it’s a little Polyannaish but I think the exponential growth of EVERYTHING in the last 200 years and the obvious unsustainability of virtually every part of our lifestyle today will punch us in the face quicker than we think. It took a few hundred thousand years to get to a billion people. Another 130 years to 2 billion. About 30 more years to 3 billion. 15 more years to get to 4 billion. 12 more years to 5 billion. 10 more years to 6 billion and basically 10 years to get to 7 billion. Do the math. It’s unsustainable.
The word “Green” has been adopted and defined as a “lifestyle that reduces the effect of each human on the resources that provide us with the lifestyle we have adopted. In my opinion “Green” is too soft a term. It sounds too safe, too calm. Virtually every aspect of the current human lifestyle is unsustainable. I find it quite unfathomable that anyone could dispute the logic and math. I know people will, and I think anyone over the age of 50 probably won’t be affected that much in their lifetime. Plus I don’t want to be one of those guys that says we should do something “for the children”, but I am one that will drive our Company towards building sustainable homes. Homes that produce at LEAST the same amount of energy that they consume. We have to start this process NOW and it has to involve every aspect of our current human lifestyle from food to housing to transportation etc. Anything else is unsustainable.
Until next time