GOOD

A New Architectural Standard for Sustainable-Minded Companies

For building owners looking for a holistic approach to sustainability, SEED offers a new path.

For the past decade, architects and developers—and even lawyers, policymakers, and product manufacturers—have lined up for the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) credential, proudly adding it to their names and business cards. A lengthy, points-based checklist earns buildings a similar certification, complete with fancy placards boasting Platinum, Gold, or Silver certification as LEED buildings and developments. Although it has its critics, LEED is unequivocally the standard for green building. Along with the sustainability movement, LEED has transformed the relationship between environmental concerns and the built environment.


For the past few years, a small group of grassroots design professionals has been developing similar criteria to represent and measure not just the environmental side of design, but also social and economic factors. The group first hatched its plan during a meeting in the ivory tower of ivory towers, Harvard University, at the Graduate School of Design. SEED, as its called, is a blatant play on LEED. The term was coined by a young African-American architect named Kimberly Dowdell, and SEED has since been championed by a community designer named Bryan Bell.

Whereas LEED is centered around a flexible points-based checklist for new construction and renovation projects, SEED espouses five basic “principles.” Among the five are three principles that illustrate its broader social agenda: “advocating with those who have a limited voice in public life; building structures for inclusion that engage stakeholders and allow communities to make decisions; and promoting social equality through discourse that reflects a range of values and social identities.”

If LEED is synonymous with the environmental movement, SEED could very well be regarded as the next step in the evolution of the larger sustainability movement, as it grows from an almost singular focus on environmental concerns to encompass social, economic, and cultural concerns as well.

LEED has proven itself as a model, method, and viable business enterprise, even if technically a nonprofit venture. SEED, on the other hand, has been slow to grow. It has much to learn from LEED, but also much to offer. In an era of limited funding and demands for greater efficiency, the logical next step for both may very well be a merger. LEED and its well-developed structure could take the SEED principles to scale, and keep itself at the forefront of the sustainability movement. Truly successful and sustainable buildings and developments need to address environmental and social concerns, so why not do both together?

Photo (cc) via Flickr user wonderlane.

Articles
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
test
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less
Health