To some people the words sustainable, permaculture, Green building, renewable energy, eco transportation, bio-diversity and organic foods immediately conjure up visions of sugar plumbs with warts, tree huggers and maybe the one real threat to the ecology that seems acceptable – global warming. To others sustainability, green building, eco-friendly are all pertinent to the manner in which they feed, clothe and provide themselves with creature comforts to which they have grown accustomed without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. To most, the concept of turn green and save the world is a foreign thought at the best of times, and the idea of harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material needs frightens them into ridicule. Permaculture has been described as a land use and community building movement, which strives for the balanced integration of dwellings, plants, animals, soils and water into stable productive communities.
Green building equals increased efficiency such as the recycling of utilities whenever possible, such as water, energy and materials thereby reducing the impact on the environment through location, design, healthy construction such as proper non-toxic paint and materials. Operation of self-sustaining energy from natural sources to provide a self-heating & cooling system based on solar and geothermal principles is paramount in reducing the ever-increasing amount of electricity required to power the equipment that sustains and entertains us.
The use of water, wind, tides, sunlight and biofuels to accomplish some of the above efforts is in its infancy but growing in bursts. Transportation systems are being improved every day in the name of financial efficacy but the side effect is better use of the energy, reduction of pollutants and much better facilities. Another side effect of the search for cheaper methods of transportation is the work being completed on the electric tractor. The idea of growing organic food with the use of equipment that pollutes the atmosphere has finally triggered in the minds of those truly understanding the nature of the impending results of centuries of abuse.
The green living and building theme can be summed up in the following points…
1. Reduce the energy we use to cool & heat our homes by building them with included solar and geothermal systems.
2. Reduce water consumption for uses beyond drinking through the expediency of growing organic, using clover to replace grass to save the quantity of irrigation water and yard care.
3. Lower damage to the environment by reducing the impact from personal transportation – drive a hybrid or electric vehicle.
4. Prevent contamination of water, soil and air.
5. Improve the efficiency of modern industry and reduce the waste in materials.
6. Optimize biological diversity and ecological synergy in the human dominated environment.
7. Create healthy eco buildings to reduce toxins.
8. Modify our lifestyle patterns to encourage healthier & more sustainable choices.
With rapt attention focused on the above points – in our homes, our businesses and our communities we begin the transformation to a truly sustainable future, one that our children can enjoy rather than watch crash and burn. Meteors striking the earth, dire results of global warming and natural catastrophe’s which seem to be on the increase are better served as movie entertainment, not the lack of corrective effort and cruel expectations this generation is about to dump upon the next.
John Morton, Colborne, Canada September 16th.