Seeing as it is Earth Day I felt it was only proper that I acknowledged it on my sustainable construction blog.  To be honest, I never thought of myself as a tree hugger and, in fact, the recycling bin at my home doesn’t get used as much as it should.  I also must confess the first thing I did this morning was buy a coffee from Dunkin Donuts that was served in a Styrofoam cup which I eventually contributed to the Philadelphia municipal waste.  While I usually take my own “eco-friendly travel mug” to class, I considered this less than a tragedy to the environment. 

So why am I confessing this on my blog for sustainability?  I think it brings up a good point of what sustainability really means.  I could have woken up poured the Folgers into my cup, hopped on my bicycle and pedaled to class.  But I didn’t.  As much as I would like to “do my part,” it’s terribly inconvenient.  As an active 20 year old, I am completely capable of living this eco-friendly lifestyle but there is a conflict of interest here; I am an engineer, not a tree hugger. 

Without really thinking about it, I base my daily decisions on calculations.  I realize that the one Styrofoam cup I throw in the trash does not mathematically change the amount of waste produced in Philadelphia at that instant.  If I rode my bike to class, our nation’s demand for oil would not decrease.  So as an engineer, I view sustainability as finding solutions to the earth’s problems. 

I am not hurting the environment by buying a cup and throwing it away.  Instead, the person who thought it was a good idea to sell a Styrofoam cup to be thrown away is harming the earth.  I am not contributing to global warming by driving one mile to class this morning.  Instead, the person who decided that my car would run on a non-renewable, waste producing resource is responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. 

I understand that I am being completely ignorant at this point, but I just wanted to portray my opinion in a zealous manner.  Take this insight for what it’s worth, but it is the best way I can justify how I intend to help our planet.  After understanding the astronomical resources that buildings consume, it is undeniable that sustainable construction is a controlling factor in our relationship with the environment.  I started this blog to inform people on the innovations of sustainable construction. One day, as an architectural engineer, I hope to have a hand in new sustainable innovations for a better tomorrow.  If architects, engineers and planners can provide sustainable infrastructure and communities for the people, a new culture will naturally develop as being green becomes so convenient that it becomes a way of life.