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Think sustainable and remember Orwell

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Sustainability is now government policy - Michael Meacher argues that 'we do not have any serious option. If we do not act quickly we run the risk of making our planet, our home, uninhabitable'. 'What's the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?' (to quote Henry Thoreau).

We may choose to embrace the arguments of low consumption from narrow professional self-interest (they helped my practice win a recent Planning Appeal). Some may work from more altruistic motives - we have architect members helping people build their own homes in poor areas of Lima, providing solar energy to isolated communities in Cuba, or encouraging the profession in Japan to adopt 100-year design life for their buildings.

Ceri Dingle's article makes some interesting points - but they are the same line we have heard enough of. Try telling Kurdish families forced from their villages by the Turkish army into the slums of Istanbul to make way for Western oil pipelines, monstrous dams and military rule they are 'escaping poverty'.

George Orwell wrote: 'I think that by retaining one's childhood love of such things as trees, fish and butterflies, one makes a peaceful and decent future a little more probable, and that by preaching the doctrine that nothing is to be admired except steel and concrete, one merely makes it a little surer that human beings will have no outlet for their surplus energy except in hatred and leader worship'. He also described 'doublethink' and the 'smelly little orthodoxies' of certain 'left-wing' groups.

Martin Valatin, ARC.Peace, Wiltshire

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