At the beginning of my career in 1984, I built a zero-carbon emissions, super-insulated residence for my young family. I wasn’t thinking about Global Warming. I was concerned about the environment in general and needless waste. The years went by and my attempts to add sustainability to projects never seemed to pan out, often the result of client over-reach and cost cutting prior to construction. I guess my own commitment was limited. When working for other architects these issues were never even considered.
During the economic down-turn in 2010 my traditional pathways to success were disrupted. In the pause, I became aware of the existential risks of AGW and the need for immediate action. It also became clear that because of the political situation, individuals were going to have to take a stand for positive change. “If not me, then who…”. I decided to return to what was important to me from the beginning. I drew line in the sand or should I say chiseled a line in the granite. The burning of fossil fuels must be eliminated from buildings and my practice of architecture should reflect this.
I learned what I could about the science and politics of Anthropogenic Global Warming. For 3 years I researched and dabbled in organic farming; a manmade system of sustainability and balance and closed systems. Then, drawing on my 30 years in Architecture and construction, I began designing and testing solutions. I even explored different methods of disseminating what I learned into the marketplace. It was new to me to center an architectural practice in this way, even though over the years, I had paid attention to the state of the art of sustainable design and construction as it developed from its historical roots to its innovative present. I am now a zero emissions building specialist.
This path involved personal and financial sacrifice for me and my family. I worked in isolation going against the mainstream in our culture and the construction industry which has not yet budged in the direction we need to go to survive. The necessary task is to make the burning of carbon fuels obsolete in buildings; totally unnecessary. The challenge for me was to create, not one building, but an approach to construction, using materials, methods and tech available now that that will result in buildings, assembled by the existing workforce, designed by the architects and designers we have now, without massive re-training.
This brings us to the present. I have completed the task. I am emerging from my comfortable hiding place. As an Architect I am now engaged in the process of bringing ideas to the public, finding clients and making buildings. If you have read this far, I am hoping you might send me an email or give a call and join the fray, as you are able.
I have two reasons for moving on this path. The first is to become a part of the solution when it comes to maintaining a livable planet while the second contributes a little to the possibility of the increasing global populations living together in a progressive world with less conflict.
Anthropogenic Global Warming
We accept the findings of the overwhelming majority (97%) of active climate scientists, that Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is real and poses an enormous threat to the balance of the natural environment which has allowed us and many other species to prosper for a very long time. Extreme projections indicate that the world could become uninhabitable to the human species. At the low end of projected change, sea level and temperature rise enough to require mass relocation of people, unstable weather patterns will cause death and destruction, food production will become difficult. many species will become extinct. The oceans will acidify and possibly die. It is time to step up and do something about it.
Limited Resources & Sharing
For a long time, Americans, representing 4 1/2 percent of the worlds population, have consumed 25 percent of the worlds available resources. The fact that world population is growing rapidly is not as important as the fact that an ever increasing percentage of that population is becoming consumers and attempting to join the middle class. This is causing overload on many global systems, both man-made and natural. This will lead to instability and conflict as competition for limited resources increases. To limit this trend we must become much more efficient in our use of resources and learn to share better. If we in the developed nations have grown accustomed to peace, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness, how can we stop others from having the same. We are morally obligated to work to change the world so that more can participate in this journey.