There’s home and then there’s Home

Home improvement is a big topic. There are so many options. Common improvements include makeovers in the kitchen or bathrooms, new flooring or wall coverings, or even entire additions. In every case, I can imagine, there are worthwhile green options that make sense.

Improvements that prioritize home performance and efficiency are increasing since awareness of energy and environmental issues is exploding. These primarily green improvements can also provide good long-term value; the deeper the green, the greater the value.

For many, home improvement means buying something completely new or different, moving from one house or apartment to another. Often there is a need for more room, additional features or better performance. Sometimes a more desirable location is the goal. Real estate is big business.

It’s great that some have that choice. They can decide whether to improve an existing home or move to a better one somewhere else. Not everyone is so fortunate but, for many of us, moving to a new home provides solutions that no other option can.

Now let’s expand the concept of home. Rather than the place we go to after work, think of Home (with a capital H) as the place we call Earth. In a very real sense, it is our only real home. Home improvement in this context takes on a whole new meaning.

It is immediately apparent that we all have something very fundamental in common. We share this Home. We’re not just neighbors, we’re family!

There is another important distinction when it comes to Home improvements: None of us has a choice to upsize, downsize or move to another Home in a new neighborhood. Like it or not, our permanent address is Planet Earth — third house on the right, just down the block from the Sun.

In a traditional home, deadbeat owners or tenants can be evicted. In our real Home, no one gets to leave, except in the ultimate sense. Therefore, we all share a common interest to care for and maintain our digs. Home improvement is life, as essential as breathing.

So what kinds of improvements make the best investment? Everyone will have their own opinion of course. I think it comes down to perspective.

Some people look at our Home and see resources that can be sold for short-term profit. They overlook the value inherent in the whole intact structure. Instead, they choose to dismantle it bit by bit, selling parts to the highest bidder. Dismantling one’s only Home is not a wise thing to do. Gains are an illusion and come at the expense of all others.

There is another perspective, one I think most people share. This Home is an exquisitely beautiful, finely tuned, life-sustaining place. It is an incredible garden and is the only representation of wealth that is real or meaningful. In its natural state, it is already perfect.

Our Home is built so well that improvements are not really necessary. In fact, most of the recent “improvements” we thought we were making have thrown the system out of balance. Walls are cracking and there are holes in the roof. The very foundation is beginning to crumble. As for the plumbing, well you can imagine.

These are important lessons that have come at a great price. Now it is time to learn and change our approach.

Thousands of scientists are practically screaming that we must divest our culture from its love affair with fossil fuels, immediately. Logic and apparently not-so-common sense says the same of nuclear energy. Genetically-engineered food, chemical-based agriculture and other earth-damaging practices must be reversed. Every choice we make can improve the world.

There is no other Home on the market. We can’t move. We don’t need to improve this one, just restore its natural state of life-sustaining equilibrium. So no matter where you go to after work, always choose in favor of preserving our Home. Live like you give a damn. If we take care of that, Home will take care of us.