What Does Green Mean To You?

Green means a lot of different things to many different people, everything from recycling to being more energy conscious about the energy we use, to actually reducing the carbon footprint all of us leave behind.  The underlying message that anyone who has thought about Green and what it means to them is "Sustainability".  When communities, governments, and people function in a way that “meets present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs,” they are living the principles of sustainability. Sustainable living, business, and government all seek to achieve a balance among people, prosperity, and the planet. Almost everyone knows of a situation in which one of these three elements dominated to the detriment of the other two. Sustainability is out of balance when communities ignore the needs, comfort, and convenience of those who live and work there; when people, planet, and prosperity are not in balance.

Too often, the discussion of sustainability is dominated by extreme viewpoints—“tree huggers” versus no-holds-barred development—or reduced to a single politically charged issue like climate change. And the reality is that an overload of green claims and admonitions makes consumers tune out or struggle to discern the true value of green in a welter of greenwashing and hidden trade-offs.
Sustainability is much broader than single-focus viewpoints. It is more about assuring our country’s energy independence, developing new “green” jobs, creating healthy indoor and outdoor environments, saving money, and discovering innovative approaches to resource efficiency.

The Triple Bottom Line—People, Planet, Prosperity
The triple-bottom-line approach to sustainability recognizes that environment must thrive along with the people who live in it. When one component—people, planet, or prosperity—dominates, sustainability suffers. For example, when decades of excess consumption depletes the water supply, communities become less desirable places, real estate loses value, and, in extreme cases, the land may become uninhabitable.

Achieving a balanced triple bottom line of sustainability can begin from you and your homes and the actions of individuals and extend to the community and environment. This message will help us take steps to foster sustainability and balance neighborhood by neighbor, community by community. 

Interest groups and individuals opposed to the triple-bottom-line philosophy or sustainability approach tend to focus on single issues such as climate change. When polarizing issues are set aside, the benefits of building and living green are clear:
  • Cost savings from energy efficiency and independence
  • Innovative products and business opportunities
  • New green-industry jobs
  • Healthier indoor and outdoor climates
  • Less waste going into landfills
  • Better water supply management