Our environment is our world - without it we cannot survive. Human beings are part of the natural world and we have the ability to live in harmony with our environment. However, human activity is now causing a great deal of damage to natural ecosystems and this is particularly evident in the construction industry. In this and the previous century, the earth's resources have been used and abused to make expensive, energy intensive buildings that have a detrimental impact on the environment. This approach is unsustainable - the earth's resources are limited and in order for us to continue to live comfortably, we have to change the way we think about building. In addition to the use of resources, many commonly used building materials have serious health implications for animals, plants and human beings. Most internal finishes (such as paints) are synthetic, man-made materials and can produce allergic reactions in people, making them unwell. Additionally, the manufacturing processes of many conventional materials produce toxic by-products and use enormous amounts of energy to produce.
There are many ways to remedy this situation and to return to a more harmonious way of living. The first is to change our approach to using the earth's resources. Instead of the linear approach - extracting, using and discarding building materials - we need to move towards a cyclical way of thinking where we use, reuse and recycle our materials.