THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GREEN BUILDING.
If in conversation someone says “I’m a green builder” or “I build green buildings” or “I build eco savvy” it is safe to assume : a) they are lying and they know it or b) they are lying and they don’t know it.
Either instance is regrettable; the first because it reinforces the age old stereotype about The Trades disproportionately suffering from the capitalist malaise of deception-as-necessary-foundation for economic transaction. The second because it indicates your builder is the one who is deceived--an unwitting dupe of the conspiracy spreading a false ecological gospel for profit.
Though the eminent Alan Weisman has asked, few have taken him up on thinking about what earth would look like if there weren’t any people.
Of all God’s creatures, man is the filthiest. Man is unique in that aspect. If it is true that man genetically differ from ape by only one or two lines of DNA code, then that's some code!
What other living organism has done more to soil where it lives than man? Apes have never poured concrete foundations atop viable and living top soil, neither have dolphins nor whales. However, we do keep apes in concrete and steel zoos, and frequently perform “activities” in the oceans that cause dolphins and whales to commit mass suicide demonstrations in the form of beaching themselves (as it certainly can't be human made waves that are killing them.)
WE ARE THE PROBLEM.
ALL OUR CREATIONS ARE PROBLEMS, AS ARE THE MAJORITY OF OUR PURSUITS. (ecologically speaking.)
WHERE MAN IS NOT, NATURE REINS SUPREME.
WHERE MAN IS, THERE IS ONLY FILTH AND HUMILIATION OF NATURE.
There is nothing green about running a compressor for 8 hours a day for 2 months—even on bio-diesel.
There is nothing green about running a skid-steer to mix your soils. And while it is true that sometimes the skid-steer leaks a bright green liquid into the ground, unfortunately that isn’t green either.
There is nothing green about the amount of embodied energy used to make fancy pneumatic tampers.
There isn’t anything green about any rigid insulation that I’ve been able to find.
There is nothing what so ever green about cement—even at 3%. Nothing says ‘Babylon’ like concrete.
IT IS ALL FILTH AND IT HAS ALL TAKEN A TOLL ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
At best we can say earth building is brown-building. It consumes less of the death-culture’s products and represents far less embodied energy. Dirt comes from a pit. Tyvek comes from I don’t know where.
Let us crawl from this ocean of self deception, slough off our tails of avarice and proceed with bi-pedal dignity and sense of stewardship to higher ground. “Green building” makes as much sense as “gentle fistfight.” In that knowing, let us do all that we humanly can (what with our big brains and all) to bring the embodied energy as close to zero as possible. Let us in the meantime use as little of that disgusting polluting cement in our earth buildings as possible. Let us really scrutinize what other chemical additives are put in the soil mix. Let us re-use form work. Let us always be on the lookout for ways to make the earth building experience more in keeping with the wild eyed notion that resources are dwindling and that the ecology of the planet is fragile.