Green Industry Articles

In Defense of Sustainability

Whether you achieved NAR's Green Designation because you're passionate about sustainability or you're preparing yourself for the industry's imminent conversion to high-performance properties, it's important as ever to remember and share the numerous reasons sustainability is taking hold.

As spokespeople for green, you've likely encountered those who oppose anything associated with the word 'green,' and who routinely shift the focus of any green discussion to climate change. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when talking with skeptics or to those hostile to sustainability.

There's nothing more American than being energy independent, seeking healthier indoor and outdoor environments, and creating innovations that result in greater efficiency. Such are the fundamental principles of sustainability, and I believe most Americans, whether they're politically right or left, would value them.

Yet when such commonsense ideas are labeled as green or sustainable, they're often opposed and politicized, and characterized as leftist agenda items. But how does making the country more efficient or choosing smarter options not make sense?

After all, we live in a time of rapid growth in human population on a planet with finite resources. It's more than just oil that could run dry. Many other natural resources we rely on also are threatened. How can anyone argue that slimmer resources spread among a larger population isn't problematic? Such is why the mantra reduce, reuse, and recycle is so important.

And REALTORS® who oppose sustainability often say, “Why should I worry about this now? It's not really affecting me.”

But it is. As a Green Designee, you can explain the reality to colleagues and point out that making green business and lifestyle choices is a way to be proactive, not reactive. And such choices have a bearing not only on the health of their families and on the planet, but also on their real estate businesses.

After all, more consumers are understanding and demanding green products and buildings. And business-minded capitalists and corporations already are investing in clean technology and green properties, whether they receive subsidies for those choices or not.

Moreover, more local and state governments are enacting green policies and building codes to encourage or even mandate green building. Once the economy turns around, the design/build community will fully embrace certified green properties and sustainable building.

Terry Watson, an instructor for NAR's Green Designation, frequently discusses a compelling Arthur Schopenhauer quote with his students, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

The momentum has begun. Today, green may be ridiculed in some circles. Tomorrow, it will, I believe, be the norm.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, January 2011