On Climate Strike Day, Architects Around the World Ask ‘What Can We Do?’

Today, as millions of people around the world gather to participate in the youth-led Global Climate Strike, architecture firms are talking about how they can help. According to the grassroots outreach initiative Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change, more than 330 firms and individuals in architecture and design plan to participate in their local strikes.

Given that buildings account for almost 40 percent of total energy consumption in the United States, architects and designers can make a big impact in global efforts to cut carbon emissions. In fact, members of the American design and construction industry have a responsibility to contribute to the transition from fossil fuels to “a thriving zero-carbon economy,” says the group.

Young people from more than 150 countries are skipping school today as part of a series of protests led by Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg, with the aim of urging world leaders to take aggressive action against climate catastrophe. Among the largest of the protests is expected to take place in New York City, where strikers will be joined by members of American Institute of Architects New York Committee on the Environment.

In the UK, firms like Stanton Williams, Grimshaw and dRMM have joined the strikes, but they’re pledging to do more than just march. Some have promised to do internal reviews of their companies’ carbon footprints, while others will be taking part in industry discussions that can identify measurable changes architects and designers can make.

“At Architects Advocate, we believe the demands of the striking youth are not only reasonable, but that they resonate with our professional interests and commitments,” says Tom Jacobs, co-founder of Architects Advocate for Action on Climate Change. “That’s why we launched the #StandWithGreta campaign in support of their movement. In Chicago, we’ll be meeting at 11:30am at Federal Plaza on September 20 to participate. Other cities around the country will organize to do the same.”

“Architects please join us in standing up for the next generation by supporting the true leaders of our time. Learn more and sign a pledge to #StandWithGreta at architects-advocate.com.”