Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Architecture of Change

In February, 2007, I watched a televised teach-in sponsored by the American Institute of Architects and the New York Academy of Science. The speakers included Dr. James Hansen of NS.S.A. and Dr. Ed Mazria, a member of A.I.A. and the founder of a non-profit called Architecture 2030.

While all of the section are informative, I was particularly impressed by Dr. Mazria's presentation and the 2010 Imperative that his organization is championing. Here is the simple truth, known then and still valid. You can not solve the problems of climate change without addressing the building sector. If you do take on the building sector, then many of the other diminish in scale and the time frame to finish the job becomes much more manageable.

The title of Dr. Mazria's talk was Resuscitating a Dying Society. His original proposal was to get strong backing for what he called the 2010 Imperative. Many people listened, but few acted. Had they done so, I don't think we would be facing the possibility of a failure in Copenhagen. Had they done so, we would not have had to listen to the Palin-ites chanting "Drill, baby, Drill."

Now, however, more and more architecture firms are taking up the challenge. I quote from an Architecture 2030 release date Sept. 28, 2009. (2010 will soon be here.)
Building Sector Leaders Call for
Steep Energy and Emissions Cuts

SANTA FE, NM - Twenty-four of the largest and most influential architecture, engineering, and development firms based in the U.S., which are responsible for a combined $100 billion in building construction annually, have joined forces with Architecture 2030, a leading non-profit research organization, to call on Congress to update national building code standards to meet steep and achievable energy reduction targets.

Specifically, this group is pressing the Senate to pass the building energy reduction targets in Section 241 of the American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009 (S. 1462) and incorporate timelines to reach carbon-neutral buildings by 2030.
Now we know what the Republican response will be: Lie, obfuscate, delay until it is too late. The leader of the charge is Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma. The initial Press announcement has already been made. A major chance was missed when OK failed to replace him in 2008.

So, here is the next challenge, for those who believe in thinking globally and acting locally. Attend the next meeting of your local planning commission and demand that they only approve projects where the architecture meets the standard laid down by Architecture 2030, that the Cities where you live only deal with architecture firms who have signed on like those listed.

This is not for you and me. It is to resuscitate a dying society for our children and grand children until the 7th Generation.

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