As we prepared our December issue, once again featuring the annual award-winning projects of our readers, I found myself contemplating the inexorable march of time and the turning of the calendar. This past year, 2012, has been a banner one for the green building and sustainable development sector - and a not-so-great year for most of the rest of the shelter industry. Some of us are not too surprised.
And now that we're medicating our collective post-election headache, we're noting that vote-seekers everywhere have a little bit of breathing room, and that even they are breaking the silence of politically imposed taboos by acknowledging concerns over things like climate change and the world's energy future. The fleeting remnants of the past calendar year, marked by tragic natural disasters, including some of historic proportions, has them looking for more responsible solutions to how we rebuild for the next inevitable collision with Mother Nature.
By contrast, it seems that many in the traditional bully pulpits of the shelter industry are trying to rally the faithful around the notion that it's time to "build our way back," Huh? Back to what? Back to risky planning, pathetic performance and minimum standards? Back to out-dated, vulnerable infrastructure? Back to neighborhoods in communities that are sitting ducks....again?
What exactly does the industry hope to accomplish by riding a herd of extinct species to the imaginary finish line of a race to the bottom that should have been called off decades ago? Progress doesn't come equipped with a reverse gear, only forward. Those heady times on the gravy train of the 90's and early 2000s only exist in the rear-view mirror, and in the fading memories of the dinosaur jockeys - not along the road ahead.
Take a real look at the projects that fill the pages of our December issue. Study the images. Listen to the descriptions and rationale behind these exceptional projects. Consider the intent and purpose behind the choices that were made. Think about what really sets them apart, and select the parts that are relevant for your projects and the success of you and your company going forward.
The coming year and decade may be the most challenging and exciting we have ever experienced. It will almost certainly be the most interesting. And there is no reason why we should not believe that we are at the dawn of new prosperity and satisfaction as builders - we just need to keep our attention trained on what's ahead of us, not what we can thankfully leave in the past.
Posted: 1/10/2013 8:09:56 AM by
Mary Kestner | with 0 comments