Sustainability = Common Sense

Having attended a construction industry breakfast meeting , yesterday, I was delighted to be confronted and challenged with the rather pessimistic perspective of Carbon Free Group Director, Jae Mather who delivered an inspiring lecture on the importance of changing the way we live and work.

Unfortunately, unless we’re given the truth in no uncertain terms we will do whatever we can to bury our heads in the sand pretending we can continue with our unsustainable approach to life. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that we are currently using 3.5 times the planets resources. From a banking or business point of view we are already bankrupt, but continue to waste mercilessly, in a lifestyle model for the first world that simply does not work, in short we have fallen foul of globalisation. Greed is rewarded and inventiveness is discouraged. Aren’t we, by now, meant to be living in the space age we all saw on TV as kids?

It’s almost as though the great god, media, (related no doubt to the Ancient Greek enchantress Medea), wants us to live beyond our means until we disappear in a puff of smoke leaving a few wise, or rather super rich behind who can retreat to their underground facilities and breed the super race of the future.

We do what we can, on a personal level, recycling, supporting local producers, being energy efficient, etc; and on a professional level as a landscape architect, specifying recycled products, sustainable urban drainage systems, (SUDS), green roofs, water conservation, but until our leaders are prepared to take it more seriously it becomes rather disheartening. At Rio+20, it was notable to see that UK PM, David Cameron didn’t even bother to attend, which is hardly surprising as we have only managed to achieve 4 of the 90 directives set out some 20 years ago to help save the planet.

The key is to educate ourselves and then we can affect positive change in all aspects of our lives.