Beautiful, Sustainable Building Design

Barriers and Greta

Posted by admin on 26/08/2019 at 4:36 pm

What’s stopping us humans from achieving perfectly sustainable outcomes every time? We usually wilt in the face of difficulties.

Difficulties, barriers, call the obstacles what you will – they so often cause us to compromise, or to let go of our lofty and worthy goals. And that is what has stopped us already achieving a beautiful sustainable world in 2019. Nobody gets up and thinks ‘Today I’m going to make crap decisions, poor choices, and run away from any challenge I face.’ Normally we set out to do good things, and yet we so often fail to hit the high notes we hoped for.

Recently we were approached by a not-for profit housing provider asking advice on how to put solar power on a new 75 unit building they had under construction. We saw no problem, but their engineer said it was all too hard to check roof structure and possibly have to do a minor redesign – although even this seemed unlikely to us and our engineer. As I write this, they still haven’t managed to get PV onto the project. Frustrating!

Every barrier, every obstacle, has its own characteristics and its own unique solutions, so there is no one ‘Do This And You Will Win’ formula. Except for this one thing, which winning always has at its core…

Never give up, never give in.

Work away at it till you find that chink in its armour and peel away the resistance to your good idea. Keep at it, wear it down with your persistence, start every day knowing you will outlast it if you keep on keeping on.

Enough of us have agitated for long enough to begin a significant roll-back of single use plastics, by keeping on with the campaigning and the choice at the checkout. The War On Waste could not have happened without lots of people’s individual efforts and support. We haven’t totally won that battle yet, but the phase-out is under way and its logical conclusion is inevitable, if we keep up the pressure. That’s a win!

Lots of stuff inspires me. Most days the encouraging stuff outnumbers the discouraging stuff – maybe that’s the definition of an optimist. Most days, but not all. One day a couple of years ago, when it seemed we were losing more battles than we were winning, when it seemed that the climate emergency would burn us alive, when the extinction crisis would leave us bereft of species, when it seemed the Darling would never run again and slimy irrigators would steal all the water with impunity from a corrupt government, on that day I found a teenage girl who spoke about courage without fear and without hopelessness…


Greta Thunberg, in spite of the vitriol and bastard scorn poured out on her by the likes of Andrew Bolt, is blessed with a strain of autism (or something similar) that gives her heightened intelligence and articulation, but makes her seemingly unafraid of social consequence. Thus she is fearless, and speaks exactly what needs to be heard. Greta inspires me beyond words. If a sixteen year old can do it without discouragement – so can we all. If hundreds of thousands of our children and grand-children can take to the streets and demand the kind of action that my generation have so far failed to produce, then I can join them too. It’s their future, long after mine will have come to an end.

So kick the doors down, push past the nay-sayers, change the rules to get the end result we need. And never take no for an answer.

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