The high temperatures of recent days has, for some, brought back memories of the deadly July 1995 heat wave in Chicago that killed more than 700 people. While our recent high temperatures don’t come close to breaking records, it should prompt another conversation about our changing climate and our industry’s response to mitigating the impact of a warming planet. In recent weeks, the Royal Institute of British Architects made news by declaring a state of climate emergency.
Last December, 2018 AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA issued an open letter detailing the AIA's stance on climate change mitigation, steps the Institute has taken to confront the issue, and how architects can get involved. Here is an excerpt from that letter:
Climate change and the heightened severity of weather events will cause increased loss of human life, more frequent crop failure, and more displaced people. This will destabilize governments, increase the risk of conflict, and hurt the global economy…The science is irrefutable.
The building sector accounts for roughly 40 percent of current global greenhouse gas emissions. By achieving significant emissions reduction in our own sector of the economy, we can contribute a large portion of the solution.
As architects, we have unique skills to explain the challenge to a wide audience, and the design knowledge to find more ways to reduce building emissions. We are equal to the task. But we must not wait.
Buildings are major producers of carbon, so climate change poses both major obstacles and opportunities for architects around the world. I am proud to be a part of an industry that is taking a stand. You can read the entire call to action here.