Friday, May 29, 2015

Rediscovering our "Original Instructions"

Earlier this week we started looking at reciprocity, balance and community. For several years now I've been involved with the Minnesota Chapter of the national U.S. Green Building Council [USGBC-MN], the folks who brought us Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design [LEED]. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes sustainable communities are more than new construction and the site on which it sits. LEED certification is available for many existing buildings, depending on how efficiently and effectively they're operated. The latest version of LEED includes several pilot credit programs that have me particularly excited.
  • Social Equity, with three pilot credit options; and

  • Local food production, with options for all or most (I haven'tc done a cross check yet) of the current LEED project categories.

WEI's Amador Hill Farm & Orchard
Photo by J. Harrington

As I've watched USGBC and LEED evolve over the years, I've been especially pleased to see the increased emphasis placed on the relationship between green buildings and sustainable communities. The pilot credits reflect a recognition that healthy, sustainably produced, local food I think is likely to become an increasingly important element in sustainable communities. In fact, based on my observations and experience, there is a growing recognition that social equity is an essential element in a sustainable community. I can't think of anything more important for moving green building "mainstream" than creating and strengthening awareness of the idea that green building is a process, not just a product. The pilot credits listed above help build that awareness and offer a great opportunity to also build urban=rural linkages that  literally can broaden the geographic community needed to be both sustainable and resilient. John Donne had the right idea as far back as 1624. Native Americans have been emphasizing balance and reciprocity even longer than that. We have some catching up to do relearning much of what we used to know. At least we are making progress in a sustainable direction.

Cook's of Crocus Hill urban agriculture on Grand Ave.
Photo by J. Harrington

'No Man is an Island'

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Olde English Version

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

MEDITATION XVII

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne

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