That was the battle cry this entire project. I'm not a hippie sort for sure. Far from it. I was, however raised in a community that looked to the long term of life, and considered actions and lifestyles and investment. Well, the good news is that I accomplished the battle cry nearly 98% of the time! There were exceptions like the PVC plumbing (i'm not obsessive, folks), and a couple pieces of garbage picked/donated melamine shelving that ended up being very practical, like in this picture of my bathroom inset cabinets.
The earth matters to me. I hope it matters to everyone. The ability to use tile for the bathroom, composite for the countertops, brick for the exterior, wood for studs, recycled and reused plumbing fixtures that are Detroit (my hometown) steel, hardwood for the floors, pine and poplar for the custom cabinets, wool rugs, metal & hardwood furniture....all of that matters. They say that homes can actually poison you. Pressboard cabinets off-gas, plastics in carpets never go away, like ever. Plastic knobs, plastic handles, plastic shelves...why? It's not necessary, and with some extra time spend searching, you too can have the real stuff.
Now, let's talk about contemporary lighting. 99% of new lighting options are LED, which, in theory, is great. What's not great, and frankly, sucks, is that these fixtures are literally disposable. You can't replace the lights, and when they have lived their life, which ill be in my lifetime, you have to remove and replace. In 20 years you have to find something to fit the hole in the wall and you have to dump these fixtures into a landfill. It's disgraceful, IMO. I made a point to save a portion of my budget/credit to install solar on my main building, and as a result, in theory, my electric will be brought to me from the sun. I'm very fortunate about that. Even light bulbs. Why can't they make LED lightbulbs out of glass and metal vs 100% plastic. It doesn't make sense, and I would encourage someone out there to fill me in on what that is the case.
I get it, it's cost effective in the short run, but life shouldn't be lead in the short run. Let's look to the future, and what we are leaving the generations to come, okay?