That old paradigm of “necessity is the mother of invention”, still holds true today and is becoming increasingly evident as we see many cities, states and provinces all over North America being faced with a new sense of urgency as they awaken to the reality of depleted water resources and a climate that is steadily increasing in its severity and unpredictability.
In the U.S. for example, several cities and states like Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia have already begun the process of implementing major changes and improvements to their urban landscapes in their efforts to achieve more sustainability around water conservation and greenhouse gas emissions. For those who would like to learn more about this, please visit the website http://www.waterblues.org. It has extensive information about how these cities are implementing these practices.
When I think about sustainability in the built environment, I think about incorporating nature back into the equation of real estate. The ongoing question is, how we can create synergies between our manmade infrastructures and the natural environment, enabling us to live more harmoniously with nature. One of the more interesting approaches to achieving this right relationship with nature which so often serves as our best teacher, is the practice of Permaculture. Permaculture is a great example of a holistic system that mimics nature and uses whole systems and creative design principles. It uses the relationships and patterns found in nature to be applied to aspects of human habilitation. This is an entire topic in itself but if you would like to learn more, visit;
Some of the big questions we need to address around sustainability are;
1) How can we stop the heat effect happening in our cities?
2) How can we create more sustainable food systems alongside our traditional grocery stores like IGA & Metro….
3) How can we have more transparency in our food system where consumers can identify not only where there food comes from but what’s in the food
4) How can we protect our earth, soil and ecosystem from the overuse of pesticides and toxic substances? We are already seeing huge declines and disease in the populations of bees and bats which are essential to keep our food supply in balance.
5) How can we reduce our ecological footprint and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint in our use of energy.
6) How can we build sustainable homes that are economically accessible across a diversified socioeconomic demographic
Sustainable Real Estate has several components to it such as the social, financial and environmental aspects around it which are all equally important and in need of further exploration and discussion.
Sign of the times, even the pope is addressing the issues of climate change, putting it first, front and center on the world stage as he pleads for strong mitigation and a definitive action plan. The world now has it’s very first “green” pope!