As you drive down the road, what do you see as you look around
your community? Do you see new buildings and homes going up, old
structures being restored, and others coming down? Have you ever
wondered what could be done to save some of these buildings from
destruction? And what about new construction have you noticed
anything new or unusual about building procedures or the types of
Personally, I'm always interested in seeing what kind of construction
is going on. After all, that's my business. But at the same time
I really hate to see structures torn down. It particularly bothers
me when a builder's high-quality workmanship is wiped out in the
blink of an eye. I guess you'd call that progress here today,
gone tomorrow. But the other side of the coin is that an enormous
volume of valuable resources the materials manufactured
and used for these structures (which still have plenty of life)
are destroyed, discarded, dumped into landfills or,
as is the case in my area, sent to a waste-to-energy plant. Why
are we so eager to wipe out and destroy our past? Is it really "progress"
or is it that we simply haven't taken the time to understand the
dramatic impact such actions have on the quality of life in and
around our communities? There are alternatives to everything we
do in life. The decisions we make today will affect someone tomorrow
or even a few years down the road. That's why it's important to
try to make choices that won't have a negative impact in the future.
Unfortunately, it isn't always easy to make those choices. As a
builder and/or remodeler, you need to ask yourself if what you're
choosing to do will improve rather than harm your community. You
can make a difference!
Don't get me wrong, I'm not preaching against progress. But I do firmly
believe that the small stuff we take for granted often has the biggest
impact on our lives. So if we can move a building to a new location
and save it for someone else to use, that's also a form of progress.
If we can refurbish or rebuild it using conventional materials or
some of the alternative materials that are mentioned in this
book, that's even better. That's a kind of progress that's not destructive.
It doesn't promote waste. If everyone throughout the world worked
toward the goal of nondestructive progress, just think of the impact
it would have on our quality of life! Think of the resources we