Gould is a writer and a LEED AP whose current role is sharing the possibilities of the Cradle-to-Cradle and Upcycle philosophies birthed by William McDonough. Widely published in her own right and described as a “powerhouse” of organization and leadership, she shares what she’s learned from many years of green building advocacy:
“Listening is powerful. The best way to continuously learn is to listen—to people and to place. In a fast, information-saturated world, there is ever-greater pressure to prove one’s value with assertion and action before hearing and synthesizing inputs. (Synthesis is often devalued or even dismissed as a “female trait” and an impediment to decisive action.)”
“Voice is more important than vision. This dichotomy became very clear during the research for Women in Green, and was especially reinforced by the writings of leadership expert/author Sally Helgesen, and especially her book, The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership. Vision tends to relate to a worldview in which truth is abstract and objective, whereas voice represents an interactive, inclusive process in which truth relates to context and circumstance.”
“Finding leverage points is critical to making change. Donella Meadows taught us this in her seminal “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System,” a brilliant, approachable treatise based on serious system analysis. “Monocultures fail. Monocultures are a dangerous invention of a species that appears to be proving that it values cleverness over wisdom, and homogeneity over diversity. Monocultures are dangerous (and often suicidal, ultimately) in the context of companies, teams, communities, and physical environments. Human organisms thrive on diversity.”
“The natural world is a powerful model. We are a part of the natural world, within which are many models—many of which evolve far faster than we do—to inspire us to adjust our thinking.”
Gould is clearly inspired by McDonough, but also cites Janine Benyus (Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature), Rachel Carson (Silent Spring), and Stewart Brand (How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built)—as well as the biophilia hypothesis and the framing of buildings and communities as social contracts – as significantly impactful and beneficially disruptive. “Once you understand the implications of these concepts, it’s difficult to think about a building or a community the same way ever again,” she says.