The native longleaf pine, once a cornerstone of our ecology, is now in decline. It requires fire to reproduce and modern forest resource management prevents most forest fires, so we can produce more pulp wood and make more money.
As a result, we have fewer longleaf pines and more kudzu and privet, highly invasive species that are rapidly destroying our native habitat.
For too long, our economy has been based on ideas that turned out to be equally destructive: More is better. Resources are expendable. Short-term returns are more important than visualizing, planning, and investing for the long-term.
As activist and author Lester Brown said, it’s “time to throw out the throwaway economy.” It’s time to invest in our great-great-grandchildren’s future. We can do this and enhance our own quality of life at the same time.
The built environment in this new economy will be different. Buildings will enhance health instead of contributing to asthma and cancer. Land planners will treat rainwater as a resource instead of a liability.
Many buildings will produce more energy than they use. We won’t need landfills, because everything will be designed to be reused or recycled. In the end, all stakeholders will benefit.
Some people say the principles of restorative design aren’t feasible. We say they’re our birthright as inhabitants of the planet.