Sustainability Beyond Buildings

The word “sustainable”, as defined by Merriam-Webster’s (online) Dictionary, means: 1: capable of being sustained
2 a: of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged b: of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods

Working in the building and construction industry, you use/hear the word sustainable a lot. Sustainable product development and building is the way of life. But a client’s recent project got me thinking about other forms of sustainability – beyond the products that are used to create buildings, but into the communities those buildings serve.

Building a better community doesn’t necessarily mean Eco-friendly office spaces and energy efficient hospitals. Don’t get me wrong; those are key components of sustaining an overall community. But, building a better community can also mean helping feed those who are hungry (see “The Holidays are About Giving”), helping to build homes for those who need them, volunteering in your local fire department or helping at the neighborhood school. Or, take a look at the larger global community. How can you help there?

Our communities are our resources and we do not want them to be damaged or depleted. Here are a few national/international organizations to consider:

Habitat for Humanity: http://www.habitat.org/cd/local/

Architecture for Humanity: http://architectureforhumanity.org/

Feeding America: http://feedingamerica.org/#

Red: http://www.joinred.com/

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