Green vs. Sustainable
Sustainability is very often confused with ‘Going-Green’, whereas the latter is but a slice to be adopted in the overall process towards Sustainability.
According to the EPA ‘Sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.’
I believe that prior to defining sustainability, we need to breakdown the ‘natural environment’ of the Modern Man; a natural environment for the 21st century has many essential factors that transcend nature and the organic, keywords such as Society, Economy and Environment have become the 3 crucial aspects of study in order to gauge a product’s sustainability level.
Eco-economist Herman Daly once asked, “What use is a sawmill without a forest?” A viewpoint that implies that the economy is a subsystem of society, which itself is a subsystem of the environment, and an increase in one area, is a loss from another.
Therefore, sustainability is perceived as a balance based on equilibrium of several factors, where each factor is equally responsible for the overall ‘health’ of society, and by consequence the biosphere altogether.
“One could not learn history from architecture any more than one could learn it from books. Statues, inscriptions, memorial stones, the names of streets–anything that might throw light upon the past had been systematically altered.”
In his immortal book 1984, George Orwell describes a dystopian world where history, past present and future, is constantly twisted and rewritten as the strongest weapon for “enslaving” humanity; burning books, rephrasing articles, but most importantly, destroying any architectural erections that can serve as a timestamp.
Historians and archaeologists have always relied on architectural relics to identify the era or the period of a culture. If you walk pass by a house or a building on the street, its structural features can easily guide you through a silhouette of times past, Victorian, Edwardian and other denominators thrown about. Now I want you to imagine yourself walking down that same street a hundred years from now, what will your key denominator be? This is my innermost fear, that we are freezing history, we are pulling the reins on Architecture and consequently on environmental development for future generations, the only stamp we are leaving behind is a carbon footprint, and a hollow glory that is bound to become obsolete of technological advancements. Conformity has become a recurring apprehension that infiltrates my thoughts whenever I ponder on the declining art that is Architecture, pushed back by the ever-increasing power of creeping normalcy.