Just yesterday, leaders from the public and private sector from across the globe met at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit to “deliver new pathways and practical actions to shift global response into higher gear” in response to rising emissions and increasing impacts of climate change. Payette Building Scientist Melanie Silver and Associate Dan Russoniello reflect on the Climate Strike, and the role of architects in the fight against climate change.
On Friday, September 20, just three days before the UN Climate Summit, twenty-five Payette employees took to Boston City Hall to join the global Climate Strike. We were in good company amidst the 7,000 that were in attendance throughout the day in Boston alone. In addition to the millions of young people around the world, we strike to demand immediate and transformative climate action
Payette, along with other architecture firms through Architects Advocate For Action on Climate Change, has taken a pledge to Stand with Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist leading the charge.
As architects, we have a unique responsibility to design buildings that will reduce their impact as much as possible. Building’s consume almost 40% of the total energy consumption in the United States. At Payette, we have made great strides designing buildings with high energy savings that we track through the 2030 Commitment. However, this is just a piece of the pie that makes up the energy use consumption in the United States. The Climate Strike calls upon our elected officials to take more urgent action through policy changes to address the current inaction on climate change. We need everyone in the fight together, and it is heartening to see so many young advocates believe in preserving the environment that I care so much for.
On why we strike:
I think our work at Payette is great relative to architects’ role in this space. It is something I take pride in. As much as we are working to improve the way the built environment is formed, through decisions and victories both large and small, our work is inherently part of the systems we live within that promote expansion of human consumption and natural resource extraction. Striking is a chance to take a step further out of our (my) comfort zone. Our roles every day are to inform and challenge ourselves, our clients, and our collaborators; we are a high-performance cog in the machine. Maybe for that reason, it matters all the more that we participate in lending our voice/presence to throwing a wrench in the gears, if only for an afternoon.