Originally, there was a clear choice between being sustainable and unsustainable: it was the choice between life and death. People either built intrinsically green places and buildings or they starved to death, died of heat strokes in summer or froze to death in winter. The Original Green is that state of must-do sustainability that kept humanity alive for almost all of human history. A century or so ago we moved into the Thermostat Age, and now believe that we can flip a switch and let the equipment take care of everything. This has led to Gizmo Green, which is the belief that more efficient equipment and materials is the path to sustainability. That view was fine so long as we enjoyed the century-long energy glut we’re now emerging from, but today, that promise is wearing thin. And so this initiative looks back to the only principles and practices that have been proven to work for millennia: the Original Green.
The operating systems of the Original Green are living traditions, where everyone in a culture knows why we build and operate the way we do. It’s not all up to the R&D departments in faraway places; instead, sustainability is up to us. And it begins by building sustainable places, without which green buildings would be close to meaningless.
Those Original Green places are nourishable because if you can’t eat there, you can’t live there. They are accessible by many ways of getting around, especially the self-propelled ways of walking and biking. They are serviceable so you can get your basic services within walking distance, and can also choose to make a living where you’re living if you want to. They are securable because if there is too much insecurity, the people will leave.
Original Green buildings are first lovable because if they cannot be loved, they will not last. They are durable so that they can carry that lovability long into an uncertain future. They are adaptable so that they can be used for many things over the centuries. And they are frugal first in natural ways which work most days of the year in most places, bridging the gap with clever and more efficient equipment on days of extreme conditions.
The Original Green initiative has been hosted by the Guild Foundation from its inception. It remains the Guild Foundation’s centerpiece initiative.