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Nature_and_Environment.90

Ethical architecture

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{Nature_and_Environment.90.4}: ... {wren1111} Tue, 24 Feb 2009 23:30:16 CST (43 lines)
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<b>The Unburdening of America</b>
"http://www.originalgreen.org/OG/Blog/Entries/2009/2/23_The_Unburdeni
ng_of_America.html"

<i>When people make lots of money, a perverse thing happens. You
would think that with more money, people would demand better stuff.
But when prosperity abounds, the necessity of thinking long-term
decreases.

   When times are tough, however, the thought of replacing a tool, a
piece of furniture, or whatever on a frequent basis is really
frightening... we simply cannot afford to do that. So I believe that
the Meltdown will begin to cause people to think long-term again,
and to begin to value enduring things.

   Purchasing enduring things after a long run of buying throwaway
stuff is really difficult because the enduring stuff costs more
money when you buy it, even though its life cycle cost is much
lower. Take buildings, for example. A 1,000-year building probably
costs 50% more than a 35-year building... but over the 1,000 years,
we and our descendants only have to build it once, whereas we and
our descendants have to build 30 or so of the 35-year buildings. So
the life-cycle cost of going the short-term route is twenty times
higher than going the long-term route.

   “But wait,” you say, “I’ll only be living in that house seven
years! And I’ll only be alive another 30 or 40 years! Why should I
possibly care about a 1,000-year building?” Good questions. There
are several answers. First, when you sell that house in seven years,
which do you think will produce a better return: selling a house
with 20% (7 years/35 years) of its useful life drained since you
bought it, or a house that’s built for the ages? Next, a building
designed to last several centuries naturally has much lower
maintenance than one that won’t even last as long as your lifetime.
Which would you rather maintain? And doesn’t it mean something to
you to ease the burden on your children, their children, and those
that come after then? Of course it does. But the very same people
who go to great lengths with their estate planners usually have not,
at least until now, thought of the implications upon their children
and grandchildren of buying things and building buildings that do
not endure. But now, it really is time to remove that heavy burden
from their shoulders. Let’s do the right thing, and do the sensible
thing, and start buying and building to last!

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