No more baby steps

After lots of coffee and many miles driven (we wish a craigslist rideshare could have materialized or the train schedule could have meshed with ours) Garrett and I have made our pilgrimage to the Living Future Unconference in Vancouver, BC and back to Portland. Jason McLennan, the CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council, delivered a great opening talk on our, the building industry’s and society’s, need to shift from the current status quo way of living and building. He stated that people resist change big or small – the process of change is difficult for most people. He said that often when people try to change the status quo they do so in baby steps, hoping to make it more palatable for people, but since people don’t like change, even in baby steps, they resist and push back. So the baby step is met with resistance and subsequently the path towards the goal is modified. This process happens ad nauseam, affecting the trajectory away from the goal (see doodle below). With this paradigm in mind, Jason said it was time to make a radical change, no more baby steps. We couldn’t agree more – I’ve been telling people this for quite a while. The other analogy that I like, in this regard, is from Daniel Quinn – he says society is like an airplane, everybody thinks we’re flying, nobody notices that we’re actually in free fall…

We attended workshops; I attended Wholistic Engineering: Applied to a Living Building Water System (Mark Brewer from 2020 Engineering) and Big Barriers: Financing and Codes (Peter Wilcox of Renewal Associates, Clark Brockman of Sera Architects and David Eisenberg of Development Center for Appropriate Technology). Garrett attended The Birds, the Bees, the Flowers and the Trees: Biodiversity in the Urban Environment and Sustainable Design: Ecology, Architecture and Planning (Daniel Williams). Garrett presented in the “15 minutes of Brilliance” session in front of probably two to three hundred architects and building professionals, while I sat in the chair up on stage and “looked pretty.”

We met quite a few contacts who we’ll need to stay in touch with, people, I hope, that will want to help us achieve our goal. Overall it was a great experience and I’m looking forward to attending next year – hopefully we’ll be able to present on the commons in a completed or near complete stage.

no more baby steps

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One Response to “No more baby steps”

  1. Marlene Dantes says:

    Exceptional writing and seriously aids with comprehending the issue much better.

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