By Grey Lee, Executive Director

Dear Colleagues in Green Building,

The recent election has generated a lot of emotional energy throughout our communities. My heart is tight.

Many people are excited about change, a practical approach to government, and anticipated efficiencies in getting business done.

Many are frightened and mobilizing about statements coming from our president-elect related to racism, intolerance, antipathy to science, and general capriciousness. There are demonstrations, there is violence & aggression. There is a call to action.

I have been speaking with many of our members. The ABX conference has afforded some great interactions already. Some ask: how can we respond as a community? What is our role – how do we juggle our traditional focus on buildings with the wide range of associated concerns we have? 

Word from the new actors in Washington is that major legal frameworks and federal agency support structures which affect our industry will be diminished. At a meeting last night with colleagues, we lamented how so much progress on sustainability issues seems to be getting simply thrown away. It is frustrating, saddening and angering all at the same time.

Our work may seem more urgent than ever. Many of our peer organizations are rattled, are raging, are redoubling their efforts. 

Let us recall our center. Our core. Our knowing-ness of the long arc toward justice.

Let us use our fundamental beliefs in a better world as a bedrock to build upon. 

Let us use our wholehearted convictions to double down on our work.

We must hit the calculations harder and develop messages that are unassailable – not just aspirational and rhetorical, but defensible against short-term thinking. 

As an organization we are committed to change. Our parent organization arose as a means to disrupt the status quo. We have shifted the way architecture, engineering and construction is done. 

But as one of our Directors said: “What has really changed?  We’re already heading off a cliff.  Now we’re just driving a little faster!”

We have not turned the course of the vehicle, as it were, of our industry. The election may affect some GSA requirements for green buildings, but what else? 

We still have to pitch to clients the science of green buildings, the moral imperative of reduced GHGs and diminished toxicity, the health benefits of better buildings. As Boston's Chief of Environment & Energy, Austin Blackmon has commented: none of our daily work is significantly changed.

Let's take our core convictions, the strength of our arguments, and move forward to offer our communities the benefits of green buildings.

We aspire to drive sustainable and regenerative design, construction and operation of the built environment. We must work together to raise up our abilities and capacities to lead the industry. 

No one else will do this: connect the amazing promise of sustainability to the massively scalable solution that a transformed built environment can deliver. 

We are the solution we are seeking! 

Let us be heartened by our organizational vision:

We envision a thriving and diverse community, creating a built environment of net positive systems of water and energy, of financial and social equity, and of ecological and human health.

Let us respond as brightness to the malevolent and inconsiderate.

Let us respond with rectifying compassion to the shifting culture around us, the emboldened misguided bigots, and the science-averse.

Let us grow our roles and bring more people into our movement. Let us grow our connections with our colleagues across the acronyms and across the aisles. Let us step back and step up as needed, and respond invigorated!

I look forward to working with you in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you for being part of our community,


[NB the photo above is from Monday night's meeting with the Living Building Collaborative, which we host. The Living Future Challenge is an inspiring message about a better future that I think we can all believe in!]

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