Our decision to build a sustainable small house was shaped by quite a number of factors. We want to create a high-quality, practical and effective structure that has the lowest possible impact on its surrounds. And above that there are bigger, global reasons for taking this journey.
Climate change and greenhouse gases are not the only problem. With a global population of 7.5 billion people and extractive lifestyles, we have exceeded the earth’s capacity to sustain us on every level.
To feed the earth’s fast growing population the planet will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as we have in the last 8,000 years1. Human-driven environmental change, biodiversity loss and nitrogen and phosphorus flow into the biosphere and oceans have already surpassed safe levels.
In New Zealand there are also mayor issues with low quality, cold, drafty, damp and moldy homes. Besides the discomfort sub-standard housing causes, related health issues are enormous. 15% of children in New Zealand take asthma medication and asthma is one of the most common causes of hospital admission for children2. Also, New Zealand has some of the highest rates of rheumatic fever in the developed world3.
So yes we have a challenge ahead and we need to start living in a healthy way within our planetary boundaries and proactively seek to reduce our footprint and impact on the planet.
Building a small sustainable house is one of the ways we are personally trying to make a difference.