Today is the 50th anniversary of the original Earth Day celebrated on April 22nd 1970.
The planet and its inhabitants have sure been through a rough fifty years, and an even rougher five months. And while it is natural that we are all focused on the immediate crisis of COVID-19, we cannot lose site of the goals set forth on Earth Day and the positive progress we in the built environment have achieved in recent years.
Buildings account for 40% of the world’s carbon footprint and up to 70% of the carbon footprint of many major global cities. In the past year leading building owners, developers, investors, architects, engineers, and policymakers have accelerated the adoption of responsible energy efficient and carbon neutral buildings across the world at an unprecedented pace. Many large private real estate portfolios, cities, and even some countries have announced 2030 carbon neutral building pledges which will be achieved through smart energy efficiency coupled with the greener electricity grids that are already under development.
As we as an industry evaluate how to bring our buildings and cities back to life and out of this overwhelming crisis, we will be given opportunities to rethink how we design, operate and occupy our buildings more thoughtfully. We must take advantage of these opportunities to also rethink how we can use our natural resources more thoughtfully and minimize our buildings’ impact on the environment. As many have said, most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, and we as an industry are responsible for making buildings that ensure not only the health and safety of our clients, colleagues and families, but also the planet we all inhabit.
We would like to share the important message below from our President, Adin Meir.
At CodeGreen, Earth Day gives us a moment to step out of the proverbial forest and see the trees; we reflect on our work, our mission, and how we can make things better. This year we are faced with an immense set of challenges, as a city, as a country, as a planet. A crisis such as this one has a way of eliminating the noise, allowing for a clarity of mind and purpose that has been increasingly difficult to find in our technologically saturated lives. The emptiness created by this crisis allows us to pause to revisit our collective priorities and responsibilities to each other and the planet: the empty streets, the closed stores, the vacant buildings – are begging us to take this moment in time and rethink everything.
Many of us in the U.S. are wondering if this will be the turning point that forces the substantive changes to our health care system, to our relationship with science and fact and to other societal issues, including our approach to combating climate change. This pandemic is so obviously laying bare many of the systemic issues that threaten our very ability to survive as a species on this planet.
Bold and innovative solutions that are needed to solve existential challenges such as this pandemic and climate change are part of the story of our nation. We are the country that cured polio, that put a man on the moon. History has shown that an awakened America can innovate and ‘will’ its way to human progress; I have no doubt that we will employ our unique approach to respond to the Pandemic, and to flatten the curve on Climate Change.
This moment is an exceedingly rare moment in history – one where a confluence of events and tragedies, both natural and human in cause, force us to rethink and re-imagine everything, and grant us the opportunity to implement change at a global scale.
The 50th Anniversary of the first Earth Day is an important milestone for humanity. As our awareness of a damaged planet grows, so does our ability to heal those wounds and to find the balance that has been lost. Being steeped in this industry, we can see the pendulum shifting. Progress is always too slow, but rest assured it is happening.
For CodeGreen, our business has always been about people and innovative solutions to big problems. In many ways this crisis has forced us to be more collaborative, more efficient, more present for each other and for our clients – both as professionals but also as humans who care. As we work with our clients to help them to design, build, and operate a healthier, more efficient, and more sustainable built environment, our hopes have never been higher that the tipping point is near.
While the world may be broken and destabilized, we have everything that we need to find the balance and repair it. There may never be a better opportunity to do so.
Happy Earth Day
Adin Meir, M.S., CEM