The Climate Emergency
At the beginning of the new decade, harrowing scenes of Australia’s wildfires set off alarms around the world. While they wrought destruction, forced mass displacement, claimed dozens of lives and affected hundreds of already threatened species, the uncontrolled bushfires also spewed 306 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This ecological disaster came on the heels of California’s uncontrolled wildfires of 2019. How much clearer a message do we need that climate change is a global crisis requiring our immediate and sustained attention? The art and architecture communities have released manifestos — such as “Architects Declare” and the Tate Museum’s “Climate Emergency Declaration” — while grassroots activists such as Extinction Rebellion and the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg are fighting to keep the issue front and centre. But we are confronted daily with evidence that we aren’t doing nearly enough. And yet, now is the time to act: to protect our natural habitats, to build more efficiently and make our cities less car-dependent, to invest in carbon-fighting technologies and to bolster the social safety net so that we can meet the uncertain future with more resilience.