“Toward a Humane Environment: Sustainable Design and Social Justice" is a chapter in Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford, ed., Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism (Metropolis Books, 2008). The essay explores the origins of sustainable design and its inherent connections to social justice.

"The most frequently quoted definition of sustainability comes from the 1987 Brundtland Report: 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future.' But how well are we meeting current needs? Today more than a billion people live in extreme poverty—a sixth of humanity is literally starving to death. Over 20,000 die every day for lack of food, water, and basic sanitation, and most are children. The needs of the present are far from being met."

Five Principles Toward a Humane Environment:

  1. People come first. The problem of the planet is first and foremost a human problem. 
  2. Now comes before later.The present cannot be sacrificed for the future.
  3. More for more. Prosperity must be measured with all of humanity together. 
  4. The triple bottom line is bottom up. Social justice may be defined as first helping those most in need.
  5. Nature knows no bordersNatural and human communities transcend politics. We share one world.

Widely cited in other publications (e.g., Adrian Parr and Michael Zaretsky, New Directions in Sustainable Design, 2010).