An article going around this week suggests that green building is a “social movement” that, like other social movements (prohibition, civil rights, etc.) stands at the precipice of success or failure. The writer argues that green building could easily be “co-opted, repressed, subject to failure, or succeed.” In other words, he’s arguing that the mainstream acceptance of the need to build energy-efficient, low-impact buildings is a matter of social choice—not something that “must” happen. I disagree.
Why? Because treating green building as a social movement is like calling eating a lifestyle choice.
To illustrate: If the suffragette movement or the civil rights movement of the last century had failed or been repressed (realizing that some believe they have), the end result would likely not have been the death and displacement of millions or even billions of human beings. There would be suffering, to be sure, but arguably not on the biblical scale.