Image courtesy of DC Sports Bog
We aren’t even going to pretend that there is anything green about this picture – isn’t it amazing what human ingenuity can come up with these days! Gilbert Arenas, point guard for the Washington Wizards, just built a pool/mountain combo in his backyard that will cost upwards of…wait for it… One. Millllion. Dollars.
Granted, things are more expensive in the Capital, but we’ve got to ask ourselves, does anyone need this? It’ll probably host one kick-ass party, but when is something over the top? Particularly something that you can only use a few months out of the year – remember this is just northwest of Washington, DC. The stone for the mountain alone cost half a million US dollars. There are three fish tanks – on in the grotto, one in the front hall and one in the basement, whose combined value is also half a million US dollars. The tank in the basement by the way will have a recess so Gil can relax and look up at the fish. There is also at least one flat-screen tv down in the grotto.
We’re sure it increases the value of the house, and with the $111 million (we’re not kidding) he will be awarded over the next 6 years, its not like this pool will put him in the poor house, but when one considers all of the resources that go into something this massive, it kind of makes your head spin. For one million US dollars, think of how many solar panels he could have put up for that money (recognizing space limitations). Or maybe use some of that money on a Tesla, or even spend some of that money on projects that will fight climate change, or at least bringing solar and clean water applications to developing nations.
The pool should be completed this August, just in time for temperatures to drop? For that much money, we’re sure he’s thought of something. Sounds like another case of having more money than you know what to do with. We’re not saying we have all the answers, but we could probably come up with a few things…
Note from author: Clearly there are plenty of people, with more than enough money buying ostentatious things. Arenas is not alone and I didn't mean to single him personally out. I don't have a problem with the guy, in fact I really like basketball. But, clearly I didn't get my message across with this article.
My concern was more that we can no longer afford to do things the same way we've always done them. For example, when Hugh Hefner put his pool/grotto in years ago, we were just beginning to become aware of the environmental footprint that something like that might have. Today we are way more aware and thus responsible for our actions. We know how our actions affect people around the world and we know how resources are distributed unevenly.
The amount of money spent on the pool, or the fancy design elements are not bad in themselves, but knowing what we know today, can these types of projects be designed with more sustainable elements? For example, maybe add solar hot water panels to keep the pool warm and useable year-round without the electric bill, or using reclaimed rock for the mountain. Could the landscaping use a conservation-minded design firm and ensure that all removed dirt is used for something else instead of landfilled. If we have these options available, and they improve public health, save electricity, conserve water, and recycle/reuse materials, then why not use them.
In treating this pool as if its the only extravagance out there, or as if its the worst of the worst, I lost the focus of the article. This stirring up of comments shows that we have some strong feelings about who can tell us what we can do, when and where. You can expect that future Treehugger articles will delve more into this issue and thread out responses.
Other Monuments to Excess
UnTreehugger: A Yacht That Thinks Its An Island
UnTreehugger: Spice Up Your Carbon Footprint
Rocket Powered Bike For Sale
SuperSize Me: Giant Fridges Are The New Ugly Trend