the green living manifesto

Green buildings & infrastructure are ½ The Solution. Help us enlist the vast ingenuity of green professionals to solve the other ½: making green lifestyles just as convenient as grey lifestyles.


  • Jason McLennan
    CEO, Cascadia Green Building Council
  • Kevin Hydes
    Chair, World Green Building Council
  • Brad Baker
    CEO, Codding Enterprises
  • Pliny Fisk
    Co-director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
  • Ralph Avallone
    CEO, International Green Energy Council
  • Stuart Cowan
    Co-Author, Ecological Design
  • David Eisenberg
    Director, Development Center for Appropriate Technology
  • Laura Lesniewski
    Principal, BNIM Architects
  • Lucia Athens
    Green Building Program Manager, Seattle Dept. of Planning & Development
  • Scott Demark
    Halsall Engineering
  • Elizabeth Durney
  • Jennifer Fosket
    Professor, McGill University
  • Brad Nies
    Director, BNIM Architects sustainable design consulting division, Elements
  • Stan Sersen
    CEO, Green Building Institute
  • Robyn Griggs Lawrence
    Editor-in-Chief, Natural Home magazine
  • Michelle Stadelman
    Project Director, BAC Tufts 2009 Solar Decathlon Team
  • ML Robles
    Pattern Mapping Institute
  • Roy Patrao
    Managing Director, Vida Calma Homes
  • and many more...

Greg Searle with Geof Syphers, Rodney Wilts, and Geneva Guerin

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We are the green living movement. Join us .

We are the fusion of the green building movement and green lifestyles innovators. We are Architects + Local food groups + Green transportation entrepreneurs + Engineers + Planners + Landscape architects + Recycling groups + Developers + Smart Growth advocates + Local Chambers of Commerce + many, many more.

One movement, one goal: truly sustainable living.

The evolution of civilization is under way. The people of this planet are opening to change. Most of us now know that the disastrous consequences of our lifestyles are accelerating. The time has come to take the conversation about sustainability to the next level.

In the past, we have focused on green building technology, planning and infrastructure. But we now recognize that half or more of all resource impacts arise from everyday behavior and habits. Our lifestyles must evolve. To this end, we accept responsibility for addressing the planning and social marketing needed to successfully achieve truly sustainable communities.

We have long held the notion that integrated design is valuable--that the mechanical engineer must care about daylighting. But we now recognize the need to go further. We now know that the mechanical engineer needs to think about how homeowners' associations will adapt to evolving technologies, and what kinds of education will be needed in local schools to help kids teach their parents to successfully lower their footprint.

Self-evident Truths:

  1. Communities are people, not buildings.
  2. Communities will change when the people living in them change.
  3. At least half of human impact on the planet comes from our lifestyles - the choices we make every day. Where, and how, we travel. What we eat. What we wear. The stuff we buy, and how we get rid of that stuff when we're done with it.
  4. These lifestyle choices are not made in a vacuum. They are made in communities, and are influenced by community design and buildings.
  5. The way we've designed our cities and buildings in the past has created a template for living that most people follow without much thought, and that template makes it inconvenient to live sustainably.
  6. Those of us who plan, design, finance, insure, build, sell, lease, manage and maintain the places we live in have tremendous influence to change this template, and to make it easier for people to change their lifestyles.
  7. Some of us have been pre-occupied with making buildings, streets, and infrastructure that use building materials, water, and energy in smarter ways. We call ourselves "green professionals". We call our movement the "green building movement." But we now recognize that the biggest problems are fundamentally social ones.
  8. Since buildings and technology represent only half of the problem and half of the solution, clearly the present green building movement doesn't go far enough
  9. All across our cities, entrepreneurs and environmental groups are emerging with solutions to specific challenges of our unsustainable lifestyles - car-sharing companies, local food advocates, re-use innovators. But most of these green lifestyle initiatives are not joined up with the green building movement, or each other.
  10. We urgently need an umbrella movement that will bring us all together to create and operate truly sustainable communities with intent. The time has come to apply the vast ingenuity of the green building movement to making green lifestyles just as convenient as "grey lifestyles". The time has come to broaden our design teams, to bring green lifestyle experts to the table.
  11. We cannot wait for someone else to bring us all together. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

Our Mission.
We are the Green Living Movement.

  • We are dreamers. We dream about how the buildings and communities we create will help people discard old habits and form healthier, greener ones.
  • We are listeners. We listen to the people who will live in the places we create.
  • We are connectors, reaching out beyond professional boundaries to enlist green lifestyles experts in design teams and meetings.
  • We are doers. We know that many green buildings underperform because their occupants don't operate them as intended. Many others will be torn down in 30 or 50 years because they do not fit into their surrounding communities or are too difficult to adapt over time. We can change this by accepting the wisdom of designing for easy adaptation, and by making green lifestyles enablement and education as much a part of our work as design charettes, architectural plans or shop drawings.
  • We use our influence to create better incentives. The time has come for green building rating systems to reward measures that make green lifestyles convenient for people. Innovation credits aren't enough. And why is it that there are no shiny prizes for architects and engineers who make deep behaviour change possible? We will change this, too.
  • We are bold and persuasive. Our clients won't understand unless we help them. Helping people evolve healthier, more sustainable lifestyles might not be in our job descriptions - but then, ten years ago, our clients hadn't heard of "commissioning" or "carbon neutral."

Our Commitment.
We, the Green Living Movement, pledge to make sustainable lifestyles more convenient and attractive through every aspect of our work.

For some, this means working to eliminate policy barriers such as minimum parking requirements. For others, it means re-writing the standard HOA rules or creating new insurance policies, creating common areas conducive for accidental conversation or starting on-line communities before building anything to provide significant design input. For others, it means spending a minimum of 15 minutes every business day thinking or doing something that makes green lifestyles a reality. For others, it means using ecological footprinting as a guideline and modeling tool to determining real progress towards reducing consumption and behaving more sustainability.

We will expand our vocabularies to include green lifestyles thinking in our conversations about green buildings, and we will practice what we preach, starting with our own lifestyles.

Loaded Questions
we will sneak into our conversations, to help make green living real:

  • How can we empower residents to begin conversations that can lead to trust, clotheslines and consensus?
  • How can we maximize recycling, composting, and re-use in homes and offices through ergonomic design?
  • How can we design parking, streets, transit, and non-fossil fuel options to make sustainable transport just as convenient as fossil fuel travel? How can we create communities where jobs and proximity help people substantially reduce their need to travel?
  • How can we set leasing guidelines in mixed-use projects so that grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers will offer consumers sustainable, local food choices and other green products?
  • How can we operate our neighborhoods to get people growing their own food on-site or enrolled in local and organic food-box delivery programs?
  • How can we get residents to sell their dinosaur cars and walk, bicycle or rollerblade, use public transport, or buy hybrids, electric vehicles, or join the car-sharing club? And how might we help users reduce the amout of time they spend flying - it is, after all, the fastest growing source of emissions.
  • How can we use social marketing, social networking, and Tipping Point thinking to get residents participating and even leading these efforts?

These questions are a humble beginning. The grains of dust that comets form around. We want your questions, too - ideas for green professionals to enable green living. Do it now. We'll grow this list of questions into a handbook for the green living revolution.

Oh, and do pass this on if you think it's a virus worth transmitting.

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