Sustainable Me

I think it is fair to say I have been sucked into the Environmental Movement. I am not sure why. I am not particularly fond of housekeeping.

Isn’t that an apt analogy for environmentally conscientious action?

The main difference between actual housekeeping and ecological housekeeping being simply one of urgency. Imagine your house laden with candles and over run by dust bunnies. That would certainly provoke a sense of urgency in me anyway. Like the rest of us, I have some deep reptilian synaptic structure in me which can perceive danger and provoke a survival response. Perhaps it is that simple. I am interested in the continuation of a good life for myself and those around me.

Before coming to CCA I was immersed in the unusual field of Building Materials Salvage. I worked for Second Use Building Materials out of Seattle, a national leader and innovator in the industry. They are a for profit company and the largest no strings attached donor to Habit for Humanity. They have been the first to leverage the web by creating the first online inventory and are working on creating online purchasing and shipping. Each day, over 90% of the material Second Use diverts from the landfill is recorded, described, photographed and published on the web for purchase. You really need to see the place to believe it…

Working there was a right livelihood; a livelihood which causes no harm. By working there I was taking a direct role in slowing the degradation of our planet. It provided me a wage and a tangible way to contribute to the health of our environment. I was responsible for managing a crew of guys who would physically remove salvageable goods from residential and commercial properties slated for demolition or remodel. But I spent the bulk of my time assessing properties for salvageable goods, securing contracts and managing the relationships associated with those contracts.

It was thoroughly engaging. Empathy was requisite for success. Our clients had problems which needed solving and it was my job to figure out how they could be solved while protecting the bottom lines of both Second Use and the client. I stayed there a surprisingly long time. If you measure it against my overarching interest in design and making, you might consider it a diversion. Yet, in an unexpected way it became a channel for my design thinking. I found myself increasingly fascinated by WHY our clients might or might not choose to work with us and was given the freedom to critique and tweek the model the salvage wing of the company was operating under.

I’ll miss that place…


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