Refuge Sustainable Building Center

Building Healthy Environments Inside & Out

Wednesday Apr. 1st, 2015

When Bozeman Magazine asked REFUGE if we’d be interested in writing a blurb for the Sustainability issue we thought “OF COURSE!” Why not jump on our soap box made of ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PRODUCTS and speak the earth friendly gospel?

While there are many elements of sustainability that we could toot our horns about, let’s face it - most of us don’t enjoy being preached to.  Even if sustainability IS a genuinely important topic for people to be more educated about.

At Refuge, sustainability in our minds is about a whole lot more than promoting environmentally friendly products and offering healthy alternatives to harmful building materials.  

Sustainability is more than being labeled as non-toxic, biodegradable, and recyclable. It is more than being rapidly renewable, earth-friendly, and local. It’s even more than being unique. Forget about the tag lines and funky trends.
What DOES it mean to be sustainable? The most commonly accepted definition for “Sustainability” from Google is: “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” A handful of smart folks who created the Brundtland Commission put that definition together.

Good stuff no doubt. To put it in layman’s terms: It’s ok to keep on doing what you’re doing just as long as it doesn’t throw a stick in the spokes of other folks riding along next to you. And that goes for today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day and you get the idea. It means to think outside the box a little. And let’s remember that we’re not just talking about taking care of our fellow two-legged upright creatures either. Accepting the simple fact that our individual impact ACTUALLY MATTERS is the first big step in understanding the concept of sustainability. The painful truth is that most people who “keep on doing what they’re doing” are unknowingly throwing sticks in all directions.  

What’s real is the simple fact that most people don’t have a solid grasp on what it means to BE sustainable.

Anybody reading this magazine more than likely has a strong connection to the beauty of our home. The natural landscape is what we’re drawn to, the connectivity to the wild outdoors and each other, pulling on our heart strings and fueling the fire of inspiration that drives our soul.  This place we all call home is amazing, no doubt about it. We feel that it’s important to remember that our home is actually bigger than we think. It stretches far beyond the nest of mountains surrounding us.  

One LAST thing! Remember how we said there’s so much more to sustainability than all of the usual taglines and trends? Well here you have it…  We recommend that people slow down, enjoy the process of life (whatever it may be) and give yourself a pat on the back when you do something good, both for yourself, your community, and your home among the wild outdoors. THAT right there is the sweet spot of sustainability.