Waving FlagThis Saturday, Americans will celebrate Independence Day. It’s a wonderful day to celebrate the birth of our country with family, friends and community. Do we really think about what Independence means?

Let me digress a moment. Earlier this week, I was checking my internet connection with my usual connection to What I saw there caught in my throat. It was a picture of a young person standing in a very dry, parched looking place. The message read “800 million lack adequate food and climate change is making it worse.” I was preparing to do a webinar on “Why High Performance, aka Green, Homes Matter to Your Bottom Line” and all I could think about is that what we build, how we build DOES matter, a lot. Building and remodeling high performance, smarter, greener impacts not just you as a resident of that home, it also impacts the people around us and around the globe. Just think if every person did one thing a little smarter, a little better every day, how much difference we could make.

OK, so what does this have to do with Independence Day? One definition of Independence, according to is “freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.”  If 800 million people in our world suffer daily from hunger due to actions of other people around the globe, how are those 800 million people enjoying Independence? Are you squirming a bit yet? I am.

You can debate Climate Change however you want. It really doesn’t matter if it’s real or not to me. What does matter, is that people are suffering.  People do not have the opportunity to enjoy Independence. Things “green,” environmental, eco-friendly and so on, are a key component of human rights. The right to have Independence. But what could that mean?

So, I went back to our Declaration of Independence and read it again (it has been awhile). One of the most well-known declarations in it really stood out.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

800 million people on the face of our world are going hungry due to actions of people (governments, companies, etc. are made up of people too). In so doing, these people are being denied their own independence, their opportunity to pursue their own unalienable rights. We all share this world and I want to do my part. Honestly, I am not exactly sure what that looks like in the future. Right now I continue sharing the inspiration for green and greener homes. Green and greener homes lighten our impact on our world and are one step I can help people take.

When you celebrate Independence this Saturday, take one small action to improve the human condition. It does matter.

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