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GSBN:Re[2]: GSBN:Re[2]: GSBN:Re[2]: GSBN:Re: GSBN:GSBN re Ecohouse



<x-charset koi8-r>Thank you, David, it's right.

Evgeny

-----Original Message-----
From: strawnet@...
To: GSBN@...
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2007 15:15:15 -0500
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re[2]: GSBN:Re[2]: GSBN:Re: GSBN:GSBN re Ecohouse

>
>  Dear Evgeny,
>
>  I agree with you about the problem of cars and asbestos. But a big part of the reason that the size of the problem with asbestos is so much smaller than the other pollutants you mention is that the industrial use of asbestos today is a tiny fraction of what it was thirty years ago. And of course the actual ratio of the magnitude of comparative risk would be quite difficult to determine.
>
>  More important to me is an ongoing struggle to be working responsibly in this arena. While we need to deal with the whole spectrum of environmental risk and regeneration, and simultaneously make judgments about priorities based on the magnitude of impacts and the resources we have available to address them, we also need to guard against the tendency to see large problems that happen to be dwarfed by even larger problems, as small or insignificant. This crops up repeatedly in my own work and it's critical to be attentive both to where your time and energy and resources go in working on critical issues, and to not let things that you think are second-tier issues backslide into greater crisis because they seem less important at the moment or in comparison to other issues.
>
>  I have watched, over many years, this tendency exert itself in the field of energy related to buildings. Operating energy over the life of a building tends to dwarf embodied energy of the materials and systems that go into the construction and maintenance of the building over that time. One is typically a very large amount of energy (and impacts) and the other is a huge amount of energy. That doesn't make the embodied energy smaller, it just makes it seem smaller and less significant - and it is not. But understanding this can open the dialogue into how we can be much more wise about the use of higher impact, higher embodied energy materials where they can have large, longer term paybacks over their own lifecycle and the building's lifecycle. This is a bigger frame of reference and more complex, but very important. I can't tell you, however, how many times I have heard energy "experts" dismiss as insignificant the embodied energy concerns many of us have for this exact lack of context.
>
>  I feel that we're having a similar argument here, and I'm not wanting to argue at all - I'm just trying to be clear that asbestos is not a benign material and its use in buildings can pose very real and significant human health risks over long periods of time. In fact, the diseases that are caused by asbestos, except in extreme and repeated exposures or in combination with other toxic exposures like those for the workers cleaning up at the site of the World Trade Center towers, typically take many years to several decades to show up and when they do they are devastating and typically fatal.
>
>  And I also want to say that I am in total agreement that the reason we are in this group is our strong preference to use materials that we know don't have these kinds of risks associated with their acquisition, manufacture, installation, use, or disposal.
>
>  Warmest regards,
>
>  David
>