Lee Garrard


Who are we? Where are we going? Who is driving?
What time will we get there?

Our Society is beginning to figure out that if you attach the word “green” to a product or a service, it will dramatically increase the appeal to the consumer. But what is the standard? Define green. How many of the goods and services we consume claim “green” or “sustainable” as their banner? After all, claiming to be green makes you a nice guy, right? The term is in danger of becoming yet another empty buzzword… but not the belief system behind it.

At MedicineWheel, it is not the word or the image, but the approach that we identify with. It is a system of good ideas, not finger pointing and holier than thou attitudes towards the way our society operates. By embracing sustainability, we are not attempting to present ourselves as saviors or benevolent champions of planning. It just seems to us that if a better way exists, then we should put it into practice. All of the information necessary to build in a more thoughtful, intelligent and long range manner exists. It is simply waiting to be utilized.

There is a commonly held belief among some parts of the private development community that it is a hassle, or an expensive and unnecessary luxury to incorporate a low-impact approach to development. In fact, it is not. It is most always less expensive to work with the land instead of dominating the land with high impact development strategies. For example, redirecting storm water into a series of bioswales and then into constructed wetlands is not only a cleaner way to handle run-off, but it is less expensive because you don’t have to install curbs, gutters, or subsurface piping. It benefits the community by reducing pollutants and flooding as well as creating habitat… and the aesthetic created is stunning. This creates value for the community, and economic surety for the developer. This is what you call a win-win situation.

Short cuts in planning and building are creating a disposable society. In past generations, we were a nation of craftsmen. We built everything better than it had to be. We built this way because we were proud of our work. Our work represented us as people. Now in America, some people plan or build only as well as they need to in order for it to be the most financially rewarding. A tunnel vision towards the bottom line develops and becomes the sole factor in decision making. This is short term thinking, and it will be interesting to see where we wind up as a result. Some people are catching on. Some are not. What is great about our society is that there are few limits on what one can achieve. We can create as much wealth for ourselves as we are able to, and that pursuit needs to be amplified with a dedication to responsibility. We shouldn’t need laws to force us to create the built environment in an intelligent way. We should enthusiastically want to do this on our own terms because it will simply ensure that we have a strong, clean, well thought out society for generations to come.

And our population is beginning to insist on this approach.