Someone told me the other day that when Jesus was alive around 2,000 years ago, that is only 66 generations back. That’s a time frame that is manageable in our heads. But if we talk about 28 million light years, like the distance into space that the Chandra X-Ray Telescope sees, that is unimaginable. Now think about all of the critical global warming predictions, such as catastrophic sea level rise, that start about 30 years from now. That’s one generation. That means that severe climate change consequences will begin within our children’s lifetime. Will that inspire some action now to delay perhaps the inevitable?
I was just reading about the Coal Industry in the U.S. During the Obama administration, many regulations were put in place to protect the local environment, specifically to protect air and water. The first thing that Trump did was remove those regulations. But guess what happened? It turns out that the Coal Industry has continued to comply with most of the Obama regulations. Why? Because everyone in Coal Country could see that the local environment was getting cleaner, more beautiful and safer. Trump rolled back regulations, but the regulations rolled back decades of environmental degradation, making the area a better place to live for workers and for owners.
It’s easy to have an opinion when you don’t know anything. I have found that the more you know about an issue, the more nuanced your opinion becomes. On larger issues, like climate change, that seem too big for an individual to have an impact, we tend to take small individual actions, like recycling as much of our trash as possible, because we don’t know what else we can do.
In the practice of architecture and interiors, there are many actions we can take to contribute to the mitigation of climate change. Federal, state, and local building codes have changed, the products that we use have changed, and economic realities, like the cost and the finite quantity of fossil fuels, have either changed. All of the above have conspired to change public opinion.
There are certain issues that all Americans (and frankly all global citizens) should be able to agree on, were it not for their politicization:
1. Climate change is real – what can we do now to protect our children and grandchildren?
2. Helping young people survive and thrive (no matter the circumstance of their birth) through:
c. Opportunities for personal development in sports, arts, technology
d. Safe housing, safe schools, safe parks, safe neighborhoods
3. Helping our elderly age with dignity
4. Helping everyone find healthcare, safe and affordable shelter, as well as good work/employment, and safe and affordable transportation
5. Stopping gun violence
6. Helping everyone have access to the great outdoors – see issue #1, climate change
What are your opinions about these issues? Have you thought about solutions? Do you think that these are issues that need more research or more action?