“While I like a lot of what Blu Homes is doing, I think there's a bigger message here. Would you say that this push for sustainable growth is something that is more recent or has it been around a while? Secondly, is there primarily a youth push for this?”
There have been several cycles of the environmental movement, but since the Industrial Revolution, the one before this one occurred in the sixties with a big push from Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring. That generation had a great deal of passion, relying heavily on protests to convey their point, but seemed to focus more on actions like recycling to save the world; which is great, but a lot more is needed. This time around, yes, you often see a younger generation pushing for change, but with a new form of activism- through the free market. People are starting to make change from within the inside of the “bad guy,”- the corporate, business world. We see that government is slow to change, but by channeling citizens’ purchasing power we can create a supply and demand that is more sustainable.
This explains the influx of designers, business people, and corporations like Wal-Mart jumping on the bandwagon. This however does not come without its limitations and challenges. We have experienced thousands of cases of “green-washing,” where companies see an opportunity for their brand to fulfill this niche, but with very little real attempt. As TerraChoice Environmental Marketing documents in their, “6 Sins of Greewashing” report, 99% of “green” or “eco” claims are actually false. But we are just now starting to move beyond this, slowly. Worldchanging recently posted an article about, “What Comes After Green,” discussing ways in which we need to innovate to really change our ecological footprint, moving beyond simply recycled materials and the like, and discovering what we might just be able to do without.
Thanks to Al Gore, people are starting to make the connection between their actions and Global Warming, and recognizing there needs to be some serious changes, which is fantastic and absolutely necessary. I believe we, as designers and as a society, will eventually get to the point where we not only focus on the environmental as inherent to good design, but also the social component of the Sustainability Movement and recognize the interconnectedness of the systems. This is starting to happen as we see with projects such as the Sustainable South Bronx and Project H is making some great steps to greater recognizing the human side of Sustainability.
She's still working on the article, so stay tuned!