Before LEED, we were

Yemm & Hart Origins 501 Confetti

Yemm & Hart Origins 501 Confetti

We’ve been around a lot of environmental movements. In late 1989, our Origins material, made from 100% post-consumer High Density Polyethylene, was one of 20 chosen as representative of the “new” materials going into the 1990s. We had submitted our first post-consumer recycled material to a juried committee sponsored by Steelcase Design Partnership, who had plans to exhibit these at various locations across the United States, as part of a traveling exhibit known as Mondo Materialis. Yemm & Hart was authentically “green”, as a business, a full decade before the beginning of the US Green Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” (LEED) standards were put in place in 1998.

All that, just to let you know, that I have been heavily involved in environmentally-friendly concepts for a very long time. In fact, even before my husband and I embraced the manufacture of our Origins material, we had both been raised by parents, who gave us a lot of time outdoors and took us on camping trips as the preferred family recreation. We both “came of age” along with the creation of Earth Day in 1970 (we were each at the public high school level of education at that time). We have seen a lot of “environmental” companies come and go; and more than our desired share of “green washing” (when a company that isn’t truly of an environmental heart pretends to be “that” for profit motives only).

Back in the 1990s, our business began sending out periodic “Green Materials” newsletters, which were intended to help raise a general awareness, about the environmental impacts of the choices we all make, and to show how our business was seeking to be a positive example of conscious capitalism. This blog has the same kinds of intention, to raise awareness about the issues, that are often more complex than their surface qualities might suggest; and to show how it is possible to “do business” and be environmentally aware of one’s impacts.

The environmental movement as a whole continues to evolve and mature, its an expansion of understanding and awareness, rather than any possible realization that it never really mattered, that there was nothing that needed closer attention, after all that simply isn’t true. The situation could be called grim and one could fall into despair but for – the many, many everyday people that quietly do their work each day, and live their lives within an understanding of the importance of treating this planet, which sustains our very lives, as being “that” important – because the Earth is likely to continue on, with or without us. It is humanity’s sustainability that is really in question.

I have found having an environmental business an interesting personal evolution and revelation. Being committed to authenticity, one does not support themselves and their family with such a venture without being 100% committed to walking their talk. There is nothing environmental than I could possibly ever not be interested in. However, it is my intention to keep this blog focused mostly on issues related to materials and/or the built environment. Anything that comes within that realm, will be worthy of commenting upon. I hope to publish weekly.

Deborah Hart Yemm is co-founder of
Yemm & Hart, a green materials producer

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