How NOT to be sustainable, in the Landmark HK

December 10th, 2012 Mar Posted in Building, Climate change, Earth, Greenwash | 1 Comment »

For the latest example of Hong Kong’s leading companies saying one thing and doing the opposite, visit the Landmark, one of Hongkong Land’s crown jewels.    There you will find, in the centre of the atrium, a large white monstrosity masquerading as a snowy mountain, with fake ski-lodge, skis, and a gondola constantly revolving on eye level with the shops on level 2.  The whole piece is ringed by round wooden posts.

But wait! Come closer and you will notice that these round wooden posts are actually pieces of small tree trunk!  That’s right, Hongkong Land not only wanted to erect an ornament that will be demolished and sent to landfill within six weeks of installation; they also needed to kill at least thirty trees—if not more– to make that wooden fence.

As a vegetarian, my friends often try to goad me into debate about whether plants are living beings.  Whether or not you believe that trees are as “alive” as animals, surely you’ll agree that it takes a huge amount of hubris and ignorance to kill thirty trees in order to give “the public” six weeks of eyesore in the middle of Central?

Hongkong Land claims on its website and in its sustainability report to be “committed to sustainability… and to minimise our impact upon the environment as far as practicable” and to “implement sustainable practices and technologies in all our buildings.”

Even without knowing what else was destroyed to make that fake mountain, or the number of years that it will rot in the landfill after 2012 is long gone, or the amount of coal burned to run the gondola 18-20 hours a day, it seems that this whole installation is the opposite of sustainable.  No doubt Hongkong Land will spin it otherwise, perhaps even in their next sustainability report.

Holidays are supposed to be about the spirit of giving.  Instead, Hongkong Land shows us only taking:  us taking from the earth, taking from nature, and taking from the future, and all without giving anything back.  No thank you, Hongkong Land!





One Response to “How NOT to be sustainable, in the Landmark HK”

  1. Yet another downside to the tree harvesting is that each tree killed is actually a double negative in environmental terms. Trees, in environmental terms, are essentially carbon storage sticks. When one is killed, it must degrade, releasing all of the carbon it has stored. On top of that, it’s no longer available to absorb more CO2, which decreases our collective chances of lowering greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.

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