A New Year's Resolution

Over the past few months, you've heard me preach from my editorial pulpit (hopefully, not too pretentiously) the virtues of sustainable design; the need to continue striving for engineering excellence; the need to raise the engineering community's voice to be heard by political leaders; and a vigilant commitment to ethics in an increasingly greedy world.

01/01/2004


Over the past few months, you've heard me preach from my editorial pulpit (hopefully, not too pretentiously) the virtues of sustainable design; the need to continue striving for engineering excellence; the need to raise the engineering community's voice to be heard by political leaders; and a vigilant commitment to ethics in an increasingly greedy world. This issue is no different, and I am making a real-world, concrete argument as to why we should pursue these ideals—and maybe even identifying a good place to start. Just before Christmas I received an inspiring letter I wish to share:

I teach on the Navajo Reservation with a student population termed "at-risk." Some have been in and out of jail, many have been kicked out of schools, others are young parents. The students who have been assigned to me as advisees are interested in building a green building for the "grandparents" (senior citizens). I heard that Robert Redford had just worked with the dedication of a green recycling building in Santa Monica [the new Natural Resources Defense Council building—see www.gristmagazine.com/powers/powers112503.asp for more]. The students want to do something like this right here on the reservation.

Currently, big oil companies and other corporations are using the reservation for commercial profit. These students want to make a difference. However, we need guidance. We aren't sure if this is "too big" of a dream or if there is someone who will help us do this.

Please advise, Barbara Rousseau, Career Prep High School, Shiprock, N.M.

Of course, it's easy to stand on a soap box, but it's another thing entirely to get off the platform and do something. With that in mind, I'd like to challenge CSE readers and see if there's anything we can do to help Barbara and her kids. Unquestionably, we're all busy, and I don't expect anyone to jump up and design a facility pro-bono. But perhaps we can offer Barbara some advice or point her in the right direction with regard to resources, agencies or others who can help. I'm certainly glad to act as the clearinghouse to gather any information you have to offer. My e-mail, of course, is jcrockett@reedbusiness.com . Or please give me a call at (630) 288-8150 if you'd like to pursue this matter. Happy New Year!





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