I am pleased to see articles in the press that focus on the consumption-reducing side of conservationism. Sure, buying environmentally-friendly products is a great thing to do when the time comes to replace something that has worn out, but isn’t it funny how we sometimes throw out perfectly good things to replace them with green ones?

There’s an old proverb that I grew up hearing: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” One of these days, I’d love to do a short business documentary film on my mom’s thrift shop, Wampady Kids, in Santa Rosa, CA. With all of its quirkiness, shortcomings of accountancy, and jaw-dropping volume of inventory (it was voted “the place in Sonoma County most likely to be a portal to another dimension”), it is a model of conservation, putting lightly-used but perfectly functional stuff back into the hands of people who need it but aren’t willing or able to buy new.

In a similar vein, here’s a thought-provoking article on home deconstruction. The first question that entered my mind as I read it was, “Wait a minute, why are they tearing down the house?” If it’s a legitimate reason, fine — it makes sense to reuse or sell whatever materials are still useful. However, I have seen some homes torn down, such as the one my wife grew up in, that were perfectly functional and well-built, just to make room for an even bigger energy hog. Even if the newer home were built with state-of-the-art green building products and technologies, I still say you’re net zero thirty years after the unnecessary demolition.

All this being said, if it’s got to go, by all means, give me a call and let me engineer your new one.

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