By Grey Lee

I wrote a short introductory note to our newsletter yesterday [click on “April Newsletter”] and got a lot of comments in return. My basic thing is that green buildings are examples of reduced violence and can help psychologically reduce violence in our society. Some commented that it was too soon to connect the Marathon Bombings to our industry or any industry. Many said they thought I was right on, though I missed a couple of things. One is the connection of imported energy to human rights abuses and the other of imported energy to terrorist-sponsoring states. I think both those thoughts merit further exploration.

I hope you will stay energized and alert to improve our building stock as well as the ecological, health & safety, security and human rights issues relevant to our real estate and built environment. We have a lot of work to do!

[please also see the comment from Ben Myers below, just under the “tags”]

Below is the piece:


It has been an eventful Spring in Massachusetts. We've had award contests, a membership drive, conferences, and state & municipal public policy issues. And of course, I can't take the soapbox here without mentioning the Marathon Bombings. We all express our heartfelt condolences to those affected. I have not heard of anyone in our community directly that was significantly affected, though many of us have friends and colleagues who were part of the situation as victims, helpers, or otherwise.
Let me go out on a limb and point out the relevance of green buildings to reducing dramatic violence. We are part of the solution. Our work helps to ensure that our society takes responsibility for waste products resulting from buildings. Green buildings embody less violence: reduced deleterious health effects, diminished negative effects of materials procurement and manufacturing, and they reduce projected damage estimates from long-term repercussions on the environment. This includes the reduced toxicity of green buildings and their materials, as well as reduced greenhouse gas emissions. 
Call me a peacenik or what you will, but I do believe the embodied negative effects of buildings are diminishing every time we “green” a building. This will have positive psychological implications for everyone. Certainly there wasn't much we could do about the events of 4/15, but over time green buildings are norming a more peaceful society. Green buildings are better buildings and we need to ensure strong codes not just for energy efficiency, but also to prevent loss of lives as seen in building failures in the Brazil club fire or more recently the Bangladesh garment factory collapse. I'm glad to be part of this community all working for the good cause of better buildings.
Our community continues to grow and to make a difference in our industry. We recently achieved our goal of bringing on 100 new members before Earth Day – a quick drive at the beginning of the year which has grown our ranks significantly. Thank you to all the new Members and thank you for participating in our efforts.
Grey Lee
Executive Director
USGBC MA Chapter
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