When it comes to constructing the newest designs for the post-postmodern world of God’s dreams, it almost goes without saying the kids are in charge (and there’s that thing in Isaiah about “a little child shall lead them”). So, when we held our well-documented Demolition Derby in March, we made sure to invite 4-year-old Soren. He showed up the second day with his hard hat, tool belt, earth moving machines…oh, and his mother Heather! In the Demolition link, you can see a picture of Soren (the shortest of our team) with Tim (the tallest) swinging his big hammer to knock down the old house.

When you first meet Soren, it’s easy to see he’s an extraordinary human being. His parents Heather and Dan Peterson are raising him to be curious about the world and make a difference in it. And is he ever tenacious! At the Derby, we expected he’d have fun for a couple of hours, then Mom would take him home for his nap. Oh no. Not this kid! He kept engaged whacking stuff, hauling debris to the dumpster, playing in the dumpster and consulting with us on the more technical aspects of destruction work. He and Heather were with us to the end of the day.

Several months later, he brought his parents to the Net Zero Party, exploring the whole structure thoroughly, before taking on the mountain of excavated dirt in the back yard with his friend Collin. They put their diesels to work in manly cooperation! A few days later we joined Soren for his 5th birthday party organized around the design of paper airplanes.

A couple of days ago, Heather emailed me this note which I post here for the ages. Here’s how she shared the story:

Soren was playing with his legos last night, building a structure.  Little did I know it was a Net Zero building.  His dialog with the lego people made me stop and listen and smile.  He is absorbing so much information and I’m so honored that Net Zero construction is part of that! Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

You may notice Soren drew a plan for the house and Lego friends (Bob, Wendy and Cash) watched the construction happening.  Later the friends stood in front of the house to show it off.  The small red ‘slides’ are actually chairs outside.

Heather concluded:

Among his lego people dialog (with Bob, Wendy and Cash), one of them didn’t understand what Net Zero was. A very exasperated Soren explained that his friends Debbie and John are building a Net Zero house with solar panels on the roof.   He said, ”It helps the world.”

Hope this brings a smile to your face!

I’m sure this will bring a smile to all our faces. Heather says she thinks Lego could really teach a generation about Net Zero houses because the pieces create thick walls. As I smile, it brings a deep gratitude head to toe. And just as I was preparing to post this tale of Soren the Architect I see this breaking story of other children in the news.

Our Children’s Trust has filed lawsuits, State by State, on behalf of particular children who reside there. The legal actions claim the governments of our States and the federal government have a Constitutional and Public Trust duty to protect the atmosphere for present and future generations. In the photo, Julia Olson (right), Executive Director of Our Children’s Trust and lead attorney on these cases filed around the country, poses with 8 Washington youth who are plaintiffs in the action.

The Good News is that Judge Hollis Hill has ruled in the children’s favor. In this landmark decision, Judge Hill declared “[the youths’] survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming…before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.”

The court confirmed what these Washington petitioners and other young people who work with the Trust across the nation have been arguing in the courts, that “[t]he state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public’s interest in natural resources held in trust for the common benefit of the people.”

This Washington decision, together with the decision earlier this year doing the same in New Mexico, evidences an awakening of the judiciary to the truth that our collective right to a habitable future is at stake and must be protected by the courts before it is too late.

The language of the ruling declares survival of the children depends on “the will of the elders to act now.” Our children are not going to effectively act on their own yet. We must engage them with our wisdom and our will. Go to ourchildrenstrust.org and see the videos of children around our country telling their stories of the impact of climate injustice on the lives of their communities. Share the videos with your neighbors and community groups. If this doesn’t spur you to action, check your pulse.

And if you want to build a Net Zero house, consider hiring Soren Peterson Architectural Associates LLC (Go Net Zero—-It Helps the World)!!! And, just so you know what you are getting into, we understand that, before your Net Zero home is certified, you must take a really big crane and lower a huge green fish into the living room. Apparently the purpose is either to a) feed the people of the house or b) eat them! So says his Mother. I would check with the Better Business Bureau on that one. In the meantime, keep on keeping on.


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