On the Spot: Rochelle Routman

The perfect city would have:
A safe and healthy environment for humans and other living beings, diversity in every sense of the word, and beauty of course, in all of its forms.

One technology on the horizon that can change the world:
In-vitro protein, in which food is grown in laboratories instead of raising animals for meat. This would save all of the energy, water, resources, and sadness associated with feeding, slaughtering, and transporting animals to their final destination on your dinner plate.

The next big idea will come from:
Nature, as they all do…

A century from now humanity will:
Be more peaceful and will have evolved beyond prejudice and hatred.

Favorite mode of transportation:
Walking, because you can see the small, beautiful details in life: the interplay between tiny plants and pebbles, the sparkle of concrete, and interesting bugs.

Industry jargon you would banish:
The term “global warming” because it hasn’t helped the cause.

A current event we should follow more closely:
Homelessness in our cities.

Way to make the environment a non-partisan issue:
Emphasize economic growth. Be positive. Embrace everyone in the conversation. Listen.


What you’d pitch to President Obama if you had 30 seconds:
Let’s take the patchwork of state renewable portfolio standards and come up with a federal solution.

Your field’s biggest hurdle to improving its practices:
Honesty and seriousness of intent; a lot of people are jumping on board and it’s not always about the environment.

The boldest idea in sustainable design:
Photovoltaic paint.

Current project you’re most excited about:
Mohawk’s Living Building Challenge project at our design center in Dalton, Georgia.

Most common green myth:
It should cost more.

Most resonant documentary:
I’m waiting for a blockbuster that will reach the masses and will result in a major shift in how people care for the environment.  I don’t think it’s happened yet.

Social media—helping or hurting:
It’s helping!

The thought or idea that centers you:
Mother Nature will continue long after we will. It might be different from how we know it, but the stars will continue to shine and the moon will continue to exert its force on the tides. We can never take that away.

Wasteful habit you’re trying to kick:
Worrying about things that happened in the past.

Your topic if you were asked to give a TED Talk:
Don’t quit pursuing your dream even if your friends get annoyed and stop talking to you because they are tired of hearing you repeat yourself.

Building you would save if the world was going to end:
The Statue of Liberty, because my grandparents and so many others saw this as their beacon of hope for freedom and a better life.

One book everyone should read:
The Origin of the Species, by Charles Darwin.