Relative to the age and experiences of recorded history, I am hardly even a twinkle in someone’s eye. A mere single drop of coffee in a hundred-cup pot, I might be wrong in the assumption that I am about to make.
From what I’ve studied throughout my life, however, I am led to the conclusion that we exist in one of the few moments in history when we as a species have (1) an identifiable problem responsible for many societal ills (or, at the very least, an understanding that there is a large-scale problem waiting to be identified), and (2) the knowledge that our past, traditional solutions to this problem are, generally, very, very wrong.
We hear fragmented bits of the symptoms from various sources of news, and we learn of possible ways of treating those symptoms from our classes and our colleagues. Many of these become buzzwords for a time, and so we pledge ourselves to the paradigm shift that was sustainability (as an example). Our classes swear to it, our various industries throw the word around, and people capitalize on it by swearing that their business or product is the most sustainable, and that anyone who shops elsewhere isn’t green.
And then I wonder how deep the thinking really goes.
I know there are many people in the world who lose sleep over the problems we must solve, and I know there are as many people who have ideas and suggestions for the changes we need to make. But if there is a common problem that everyone is trying to address – and the overwhelming drive towards sustainability and being ‘green’ in our particular industry offers evidence for this – why do we remain so fragmented in our approaches?
This firm researches new technologies for passive and active wall systems to improve building performance. That individual writes online articles, which nobody reads, to come to a better understanding of the world he lives in. One school prides itself on radical innovation in architecture, another on strengthening what past approaches and ideologies might still have to offer. Many people, many approaches, and many ideas, and yet it seems so difficult to find more than a few.
And are any of them acting in concert with one another? Or, do we tend only towards competition with one other in a market that allows for nothing more?
Every school has something to offer, every student and every firm a voice. Is there a way for us to have stronger dialogues? Can we come to better, more conscious – and more comprehensive – conclusions about what we are trying to solve? About what each of us can suggest for the future?
Could we unite more than we already are, or are we already on the best path that our feet can travel?
As always, I hope for feedback showing how wrong or uneducated my conclusions might be. Otherwise, I’ll just keep whining forever and drinking too much coffee in the process.