October 16, 2018
Most real estate professionals embrace the REALTORS® Code of Ethics that directs us “Under all is the land. Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment. Such interests impose obligations beyond those of ordinary commerce. They impose grave social responsibility and a patriotic duty to which REALTORS® should dedicate themselves, and for which they should be diligent in preparing themselves. REALTORS®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow REALTORS® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.”
How do we honor this obligation to ensure the highest and best use of the land, functioning cities, productive industries, farms, free institutions, and the preservation of a healthful environment? It seems to me that real estate professionals are expected to stand with the environment, advocating conservation, efficiency, and sustainability while opposing activities that will damage our civilization and the livelihood of future generations who will live here.
We, as real estate professionals, have created one of the largest political action groups in the nation.
We, as real estate professionals, have direct knowledge of the environment in which we do business, because we are out there with our clients, inspecting the land.
We, as real estate professionals, have access to the best business skills honed from experience, technology and communication systems. Communicationg value is what we do as transaction agents and independent business owners. We work with the public, representing material facts and our client’s fiduciary interests.
We, as real estate professionals, care about our the quality of life in our communities and the people who live and work here, now and in the future.
We, as real estate professionals, believe in doing well by doing good.
Therefore, I propose and have created The Real Estate Professionals Climate Advocate Lobby (REPCAL), a developing organization of Licensed Professionals who will protect our land, resources and future by advocating for atmospheric carbon reduction, conservation of manufactured energy and generation of clean energy.
The Real Estate Professionals Climate Advocate Lobby (REPCAL) will identify factual, non- partisan solutions to climate change that will provide measurable results in the next 20 years including carbon capture, high efficiency generation, natural energy conversion and conservation.
One solution that real estate professionals can support is a National Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D) which would place a predictable, steadily rising price on carbon, with all fees collected, minus transparent administrative costs, returned to households as a monthly energy dividend. In just 20 years, studies show, such a system could reduce carbon emissions to 50% of 1990 levels while adding 2.8 million jobs to the American economy.
Industries must stop damaging the earth and people with harmful chemicals or airborne pollutants.Cities like Norfolk, New York and Miami will not function if they flood. A healthful environment is sustainable in perpetuity, not threatened by environmental catastrophe, chemical contamination or physical collapse.
The highest and best use of the land includes conservation and wise use to provide stewardship of these resources for those who will live in the future with knowledge and experience that does not exist today. REALTORS recognize high efficiency conservation and clean energy generation can make real property more valuable, like replacement windows or a new HVAC, while creating no barriers to property transfer. A highly efficient, unencumbered solar system, properly adjusted for value at time of sale, can be an asset to an environmentally conscious home buyer. The cost benefit analysis of efficiency and conservation is unquestionable.
One example real estate professionals are highly educated about is lead paint, Nobody but industry knew lead paint was bad for children in the 1930-1960s. . Congress did not vote lead reduction to current levels until 2008 despite over 6,000 scientific studies. Lead was not banned from paint until 1978. The chemical industry rejected scientific evidence on lead in the 1930’s, blaming families for allowing children to eat the paint chips, claiming the children were “sub-normal to start with.” Lead was pumped into the air through gasoline emissions until 1995. These problems were maintained at the expense of children who would grow up in a knowingly hazardous future. A similar mindset exists today in people displaying Climate Change Denial Syndrome.
We have learned forests are the key to removing atmospheric carbon which is causing the oceans to warm and acidify, which increases severe weather. What will the value of a forest then tomorrow? Could a forest or river be a more valuable resource than a development? It’s hard to imagine right now, and easier to ignore. We have seen massive forests destroyed to grow food while new technology has multiplied the crop yield efficiency of an acre beyond traditional row farming. Severe weather has made some farms nothing but bankrupt dust bowls after turning rivers into raging floods, or mud.
The jet stream has been increasingly disturbed, changing ocean and wind currents, contributing to severe weather destabilization. Will ocean warmth and acidity threaten 70 % of the oxygen in the atmosphere which is manufactured by single celled marine plants named photosynthetic algae? Can we afford to gamble with that tipping point? I think not.
What the babies born today will be thinking when they are 50 years old, if their drinking waters are polluted and their air is so loaded with carbon that cloudy days and heat advisories are the norm. The Mauna Loa atmospheric carbon level went over 410ppm in 2018 which is 17% or 60ppm above the scientific safe level of 350ppm. Extreme weather ravages every part of our world this year as temperatures soar or sink due to atmospheric change. We cannot anticipate the world we live in today will exist the same in their future.
Our stewardship, or lack of it will be remembered in history, by our children and grandchildren. When animals are extinct, the oceans are higher, and everything else that results from exploitation instead of stewardship for our posterity has become a reality, those who live in that future will wonder what we were thinking. Today we, REPAC, have the opportunity to communicate the severity of this moment in time. We have the ability to make change in our communities and the world we live in. We each have a choice.
The 2017 NAR Property Rights and Environment Committee recommended a commitment to principles of sustainability and energy conservation which will preserve our environment and nation as a vibrant, healthy prosperous place to live and work, endorsing programs and policies that promote environmental resiliency while educating real estate professionals and the public about voluntary, market-based solutions that reduce greenhouse gases and conserve energy, including expedited permitting and tax benefits. In repose to that recommendation David Carr, Milford New Haven Metro Real Estate Specialist since 1996 has accepted the challenge an is prepared to work with, and on behalf of my colleagues
It seems to me, as a real estate professional, my industry is uniquely positioned to advocate for a carbon negative future. To join The Real Estate Professionals Climate Advocate Lobby (REPCAL) means only that once you accept this reality, you dedicate moments to signing and mailing letters to elected representatives who vote against decarbonization of the Earth’s atmosphere. Maybe you would travel to another place where people do not understand the scientific reality of our planet and talk about this. Maybe you just send an email, text or make a phone call for with your family once a week. Maybe you will make a video, or visit an elected official at a town meeting. Maye you will commit to learning about environmental science from organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists of the USA or Yale Climate 360.
I have decided follow a path of stewardship by supporting families born today who will live in a world I will not see unless I am 118 years old. Please join me. The important thing is, that in our hearts, we commit to protecting the Earth where we will not live, because it is the place our grandchildren will live and remember us. Imagine the good works you could do and how your good works will be multiplied by your commitment to doing well by doing good.
The most recent United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report , released in Korea on October 8, 2018 includes more than 6,000 scientific references which can be summarized in just few sentences with terrible implications for our future by 2040. We watch wildfires burn the west of our great nation, while superstorms destroy the east. Extreme weather threatens land, functioning cities and healthful environments everywhere on Earth. A continual buzz of rising carbon levels in the atmosphere, melting glaciers, wildlife degradation and floods stream across national newspapers. I have come to accept my responsibility reaches beyond my next closing, consultation, property identification or marketing plan. As REALTORS®, we can no longer stand in silence as the very basis of our industry, the land and environment, is threatened by atmospheric carbon.
When I opened my own real estate consulting business in 1996, my plan was to help other people, practicing skills based on confidence, personal integrity, empathy, transparency, comparable property analysis, investment opportunity, community knowledge, education, property functionality, financial planning and transaction management. My business has been refined and succeeded with hands on experience, earned trust and continued education that directly improves the quality of life of those to whom I give my services. My goal was never to convince people to do something that would benefit me before them, but to give a service that is multifaceted, interpretative, highly personal, extremely confidential and unique to each person.
In 2018 I have come to appreciate that my Code of Ethics reaches beyond fiduciary, legal and transactional responsibilities. As a real estate professional who is also a REALTOR® my obligation is to transparency and integrity supporting my clients, our civilization and the preservation of a healthful environment.
David Carr, MA, PSCS. Member GNHAR since 1996
Contact me on twitter @ctrealdavecarr
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