For centuries stone and brick have been some of the most common materials used to build structures. Whether or not one is better than the other is a topic that is up for debate. Each has their own environmental impact. So I guess the question up for debate is which material has the least amount of negative impact on the environment.
Many factors go into deciding the level of environmental impact of stone. Such as in some cases the stone is already on the site, alleviating the need to harvest the stone. It also offsets the need to transport the materials which is also good for the environment. In these cases, the stone adds aesthetic qualities that resemble the earth that surrounds the structure. Negative characteristics of this material include the slow, laborious process that is required for construction. Stone structures are also energy efficient because they tend to stay cooler in warm temperatures as well as retain heat in cool climates.
Brick on the other hand takes many more resources from the environment than stone. The heating time needed to set the bricks also has an environmental toll that most stones do not require. Another negative attribute of brick is transportation factors. There is a much greater chance that the brick will need to be transported. While these are negative factors, other things to consider are the versatility of the material. Brick has the ability to be made into the exact type, texture, color, and size the designer wants it to be.
With these ideas in mind, both brick and stone have positive and negative characteristics. However, I believe that the use of stone is overall a more environmentally friendly material than brick.