The world of green building can seem blindingly white, and Green Built Alliance is actively engaged in the work of changing that.
While our programs have made commitments toward equity and our staff has participated in numerous training sessions around diversity and inclusion in recent years, we have not done nearly enough. Good intentions are simply not adequate, and we are committed to increasing our efforts toward inclusion and equity by working tirelessly to build healthier homes for all of our neighbors.
Black lives matter. The healthiness, affordability and sustainability of black homes matters. No one says this better than Jacqui Patterson and Mandy Lee of the NAACP, which has launched an initiative on Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector.
“The green building sector is transforming the places in which we live, work, and gather. Sustainable buildings, defined by certification programs like LEED, promote the health and wellbeing of building occupants while minimizing climate change and pollution. For some people.
This wave of better building practices has yet to fully reach the people suffering the most from buildings that are unsafe, unhealthy, unaffordable, and unsustainable. African Americans and other people of color disproportionately feel the burden of unsustainable buildings: energy insecurity in their homes, health problems like asthma from poor indoor air quality, and damage from worsening disasters fueled by climate change. These are enduring legacies of discriminatory practices, disinvestment, and barriers to building wealth over the generations.
What’s worse, the sustainable building sector is an insider’s club with a serious diversity problem. Whether it’s as policy makers, advocates, architects, contractors, or even in the construction workforce, the most impacted communities are underrepresented in the design and construction of sustainable buildings. For example, according to the National Organization of Minority Architects, less than two percent of registered architects are African Americans, and less than 0.4% are African American women. Green building is a huge growth industry, but communities of color are not yet positioned to fully benefit from it.”
There are no right words in this watershed moment of such immense suffering and turmoil engulfing communities across our nation, but there are right actions we can begin to take together, one step at a time. We encourage all of our members and the broader green-building community to join us in supporting the NAACP’s Centering Equity in the Sustainable Building Sector initiative.
As an anti-racist organization, Green Built Alliance condemns the recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others. We are committed to listening and learning. We are committed to remembering that there is much we do not know. We are committed to advancing sustainability for all people. We are committed to building a community of healthier homes for each of our neighbors.
Join us in standing with Black Lives Matter and leaning in more deeply to this pressing work.