News Brief

Architects to Join Global Climate Strike September 20

Firms from around the world are mobilizing for the international climate protest inspired by teen activist Greta Thunberg.

Teen activist Greta Thunberg, known for her weekly school strikes in Sweden, has inspired architects throughout the world to take action.

Anders Hellberg. License: CC BY-SA 4.0.
From Brooklyn to Buenos Aires and from Vancouver to Vermont, architects around the globe have committed to joining an international climate strike on the morning of September 20, 2019.

At the center of the move to #StandWithGreta (16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg) is the organization Architects Advocate, headed by Thomas Jacobs, AIA, of Krueck + Sexton Architects. Thunberg has been raising awareness of climate change with weekly “school strikes” and has spoken to political leaders; she recently crossed the Atlantic in a zero-emissions yacht in order to address the United Nations.

“Our children are the true leaders of our time,” Jacobs told BuildingGreen. He said Thunberg’s activism “has given me a ton of clarity in what to focus on,” adding that “the word of today is ‘courage.’ And we [adults] have to find ways to be much more courageous ourselves.”

Architects Advocate began in September 2016 when then-presidential candidate Donald Trump declared climate change a hoax, according to Jacobs. “That was basically the occasion at which we decided to try to start a nonpartisan grassroots action platform,” he explained. “We felt the architecture community hadn’t been outspoken enough.”

More than 900 firms and 2,500 individuals are part of the Architects Advocate network, he said. The number signing up for the climate strike is also growing, with more than 100 committed when we spoke with Jacobs. “A hundred firms is great, but we need a thousand,” he said.

Marsha Maytum, FAIA, of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, told BuildingGreen her firm will be joining in the events of the day by gathering in downtown San Francisco for that city’s protest.

“Our office supports everyone doing volunteer activities in areas that are important to them,” said Maytum, who is also the current chair of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE). “We will encourage people to participate on that morning if they are so moved.”

Both Jacobs and Maytum encouraged action in everyday practice—such as joining AIA’s 2030 Commitment—in addition to participating in special events like the climate strike. “There are a lot of things that people can integrate into their practice that don’t cost more,” said Maytum. “And there’s an education with our clients and our communities about responsible environmental stewardship and environmental design on all of our projects.”

Maytum added that the impacts of climate change are widespread, from Hurricane Dorian’s devastation to flooding in the Midwest and wildfires in California. “Architects need to be making sure communities are thriving, resilient, and in a good position for the future.”

To find an event in your city, visit globalclimatestrike.net.

For more information:

Architects Advocate
architects-advocate.org

 

Published September 5, 2019

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