by Edward Mazria, AIA
Like the fairytale princess “Cinderella,” we are in a race against time. Global warming, caused by a manmade blanket of greenhouse gases, is well under way and is seriously threatening our planet unless we act now to reverse that for which we are responsible.
The building sector is responsible for half of all U.S. global warming emissions annually, which are increasing at an alarming rate according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The consensus is that we must limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2° C above pre-industrial levels to avoid disastrous impacts: millions displaced from their homes, declining food production, rivers too warm for trout and salmon, decreased snow pack threatening urban water supplies, more extreme weather, glacial melt inundating coastal areas, coral reef destruction, and mass plant and animal extinction.
At 3° C the impacts are projected to be catastrophic. If we continue on our present course, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that we could reach 2° C by 2050 and 3° C by 2100.
Two major steps your AIA is already undertaking are to adopt the 2030 Challenge and support the establishment of a mandatory, full-year, innovative, studio-based program for schools of architecture that promotes creative problem solving relevant to climate change.
Let us accept this challenge and make this our profession’s finest hour.
What do you think?