A large number of the comments readers post online divide into two camps—those that dismiss sustainability and those that misrepresent it.
The former group, echoing many conservatives, rejects global warming as a hoax, Al Gore as a con man, and the UN as a “propaganda machine.” The latter group, following many liberals, offers the opposite view—that sustainability is “essential” but that nothing labeled “green” ever measures up. Both extremes rage about greenwashing—but for opposite reasons. One suggests that sustainable design expects too much, while the other implies that it expects too little. As one reader asked recently, “How committed are you and the magazine you represent to truly sustainable design?”
This question exposes the fallacy at the heart of both points of view. Sustainability shouldn't be considered a binary condition—“green” or “not green.” There are spectrums of performance, from bad to good, with many ideas about what constitutes both “good” and “bad.” It is this diversity of values—and the shared desire to improve—that can unite the two camps.
When it comes down to it, the most important things are to keep an open mind and to keep trying to do better. Every day. What if we all redirected the energy of our complaints toward making real improvements? What a difference that would make.
This is my last regular blog for ARCHITECT. Thanks for reading!