What Has the World Become?


I hate to get so heavy on the first day back to reality after summer has ended but I really need to talk about the sate of the world. I realize that this may turn some potential clients off but I guess that is the risk I take for taking a firm stance.

The last few weeks of the summer have been weird to say the least. Weird is a bad word but what is another word? 'Unexpected', 'abnormal', 'troubling', 'disorienting', 'disheartening', hmmm so many plausible alternatives. 

Here in the North East we had both an earthquake and a hurricane in the last 2 weeks. Unexpected! These two events both truly re-enforce the concept that global climate change is having an effect on our weather patterns and we should probably do something about it. Even people who have always poo-poo-ed (or aggressively denied) global warming are now basically admitting that there is something afoot with the weather and if we keep on with our current trajectory we could be having some really big problems really pretty soon. This too me is scary, but honestly I have been 'on this page' for so long it doesn't make me freak out- it just makes me know that we are on the right track in trying to make an effort to build homes with smaller and smaller carbon footprints. Though, really, I think these effort are still not enough - not nearly enough! At least we are trying to do things in the right direction.

Also the stock market and politics have both been absolute roller coasters of insanity with basically the feeling (or the plain old knowledge) that no one is at the helm of this ship. None of our leaders or experts seem to have any better idea than you or I of what is going on or how to fix it. Terrifying.

What is really making my head spin lately, however, is a different shift that has happened over the last 10 years. It is the ever growing rift between rich and poor, and the ever increasing sense of entitlement and shallowness in our society. It seems like the only people who get financially rewarded in our world anymore are people who are either in the financial industry or people who become super starts on TV - for whatever reason, no matter how stupid and empty. This is really such a sad state of affairs.

I am personal friends with people who are artists, doctors, writers, scientists, deep thinkers, musicians, sculptors, dancers, contractors, builders, craftsman, brilliant inventors,marketing people, teachers, clergy, firemen, police, nurses, and yes architects (the list goes on and on) and it is getting so that almost none of us make a decent living relative to our neighbors. Hell sometimes we don't make a decent living, period. Never mind the people who have always had to work super hard just to get by- you know- the road crew, the people who clean your house and serve your food and do your laundry and mow your lawn and pick up your trash?

It is like the frog in the hot water story. You know the one - you put a frog in a pot of cool water and slowly heat the water and before he even realizes that the water is too hot the poor guy is cooked all the way thru. I used to feel guilty because I wasn't getting rich being an architect. I used to feel like I was doing something wrong. I now see things in a totally new light. This water has been getting warmer and warmer these last 5 - 10 years for all of us people I listed above. Our jobs - the creative and thoughtful, the needed, the very difficult and the extremely dirty, and yes often very meaningful or brilliant work we all do quietly on a daily basis is being utterly disrespected financially....and socially.

I see it paralleling directly the state of affairs in which our society finds itself. It is a state of shallow and empty disrepair. A state in which there is no respect for creativity, art, spirituality, the making of things, helpfulness, caring, and certainly not an honest days labor. I heard the results of a survey recently in which teenagers were asked to prioritize a list of 10 things in the order in which they valued them. You got it- fame and money were the top of the list. Being a good person, doing the right thing, being true to your self and morals were the bottom of the list. Ugh. how really, really sad.

Maybe this is all more evident in Fairfield County and other very wealthy parts of the country. 

Isn't it time that we made efforts to correct the course of this ship?

We design houses that bring families together and focus more on time with your loved ones instead of time with the computer or tv alone in your room. We design houses that let people connect with the world outside and the changing of the seasons. We make more from less. We help people use less. We find true, honest products and natural textures and nooks and crannies and light open airy-ness to inspire the soul and the mind. We do this all for a reason! We are trying to bring some balance back to the world. Some connection- to each other and to the planet. 

We here at Trillium and the contractors, designers and craftspeople we work with all care. We care a lot. We all do very honest good work and we expect this work we do to be recognized and appreciated. Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.

I have a great deal of respect for our clients in the financial industry who in turn respect all of the hard work that the rest of us do and who see that the direction of the world could be troubling, and so put a lot of their own work and money behind very helpful causes that frankly the rest of us cannot afford to put our money into. There are so many people in Fairfield County and beyond who make a difference. Shouldn't we all (and I mean all of us) try to do our best to make the world a more meaningful and respectful place for all people?

I believe that starts not with simply respecting our environment but respecting the people - all people- who live and work hard amongst us every day to try to bring meaning and value back to this world.