Green Design Jim

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Social Investing

When we were young investing just meant putting money in the bank. If you were lucky you got to keep it there. Then as you got older saving became a lot more important, if you were lucky to be able to save anything. We learned that over a 30 year period that ten thousand dollar savings you had would probably be worth just under one hundred thousand dollars. If your investment return was above 7%, which was a fairly real projection. Then the economy tanked and return of investments dropped 50% in the last recession. It did not feel very good. The lost monies were real if your needed it then. Now the stock market is up and above where it was at the start of the recession but continues to move all over the place. Being nervous about your future financial stability is a real concern for almost everyone.

So now that the market and property prices are back up what do you do? Assuming you have saved for your future then you need to make some choices. How do you invest in the future to maximize your retirement and emergency funds? Do social equality / justice and climate stabilization enter into your considerations? Are the higher returns from some industries worth the on-going investments you have been making for the future of the country? Do you have a responsibility to the person at the bottom of the income ladder or are you hoping the guy at the top of the ladder will take care of you? These are just a few considerations you need to make. If you do not make a conscious choice you have still made it by ignoring the issues. What do the issues mean to you? Our capitalistic system is very good and is held as the current economic yardstick for the world. It must be working. Look at the stock market it is flying. But wait. Only a small part of our society is really taking part in it. That would be the 1%er for sure and a smaller part of the middle class. But it is not the majority of our citizens. We need to be able to invest in our financial futures so most of our people have a safe and comfortable future.

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Economic Justice

As I have been reading, thinking, and talking to people, I am starting to get a better picture on what Economic Justice means. I am refining my financial and global perspective on how I want to live. I plan on going to group meetings to discuss these issues and find out how I can change with the times in relation to all my past community supporting activities. In the hopes of finding a new direction for my community outreach.

I have always belonged to many nonprofit groups and have been told it is best to pick just a few to stay active with. I try to tie all my efforts to the sustainability of all our life processes. This includes social justice which equates to economic justice. I have been talking about this since high school. Capitalism vs. the Planet, vs. social or economic justice is all tied together. By following trends you can see where our country is going. The disparity in income of all types is stretching our population in ever divergent trends. This is a major change from the 1960's where the income disparity was much more limited. Everyone needs to keep these discussions going and bring it to the forefront of our communications, in all formats, with all of our contacts. There are many ways to re-adjust our priorities on where we as a country put our energies and our dollars.

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What Americans Gave To Charity in 2013

I keep hearing that Americans give more to charity than any other country. America is also the richest country so it makes sense. But WHERE do the charitable donations really come from?

How are these numbers counted? It would be great to see the breakdown. How much of it is from the 1% income crowd? Is it corporate or individual? How much from the low and middle class? Break it down to a percentage of personal or corporate donations. To be real, maybe one should even remove all the tax right offs given by the government, even though they are greatly appreciated.

When does donated time and energy enter into the 2013 Charitable Giving of $335.17 Billion (pages 21 & 22)? Of course one must then break down the numbers as noted above. What I want to know is the real breakdown of charitable efforts. Is this Billion dollar a real number or  does this number include the giving of charitable donations with right offs?

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Animal Lovers & Global Warming

I was reading the “From Our Members” section of the EDF Environmental Defense Fund magazine, Solutions Fall 2014 edition. In it there was a letter from a reader talking about the Wildebeest migration to the southern Serengeti and how it used to be said that you could set your watch to when the rainy season was going to start. And it made me think about the relationship between humans, their pets, and Global Warming.

Do you love your pets? What would you do for them if they were in peril? Do you buy them higher quality food? How often do you go the veterinarian? How about keeping the house warmer or building them a special place in your home? If you have a pet your must love animals! I hope you treat yours well.

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CSUN ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers Speaking Engagement

In my continuing goal of improving our teaming process I always look for opportunities to speak with students pursuing Architecture or Engineering degrees to emphasize the importance of communication in that chosen field. So when Patrick Sotto of the CSUN ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) branch reached out to me to speak with the group, I readily accepted.

When providing architectural services our Clients, Contractors, and Design Teams always ask the same question “Do you have a great Civil engineer?”The Civil engineer can have a great impact on the site layout of the building and other developments. The sustainability of the drainage, sun angles, views, water retention, and other issues are in the purview of the Civil engineer. Getting correct and timely responses on issues pertaining to grading, retaining walls, drainage, utility lines, and other site issues from a Civil engineer always seem to take the most time.

The first thing I asked the students was “Who checked out my company’s website?” “Did you know I was coming to speak with you today?” “Did you do any research on me or my company?” I knew they were not going to do the homework on their own. Only one out of a group of sixty people had checked out who I was and what my company stands for. I knew this was a sign of what I needed to cover during my presentation.


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