“We have all the tools and technology we need to deal with greenhouse gases. We just have to deploy it! But we only have 10 years – at most, maybe less. So good news, bad news, but I think, overall, good news. At least we can do it. It’s not hopeless.”

Craig Applegath

For all of you who have been following the science of climate change, you will know that this is no ordinary decade!

The coming decade is most probably the last decade our species has to pull back from the brink of climate change catastrophe, and hopefully save ourselves, and the rest of the biosphere, from run-away global warming – or, more accurately, global incineration combined with global flooding! (At the time of the recording this podcast, Australia was a continent on fire!)

As I make clear in this podcast, the good news is that we now have all the tools and technologies to stop global carbon emissions if we decide to do it, and we have done this before! We did it in the Second World War, in 1940, where in 2 years under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States of America instituted their “Arsenal of Democracy” program, and went from producing no planes, no tanks, and no arms, to producing hundreds of thousands to supply all the allies in their fight against Nazi Germany and then Imperial Japan.

This month’s podcast is not our typical interview format. In place of an interview, you will hear a presentation I had the pleasure of giving to the American Institute of Architects Students Conference, held in Toronto at the end of December, a few weeks ago. This presentation summed up the key ideas that I have been exploring with our podcast guests over the past two years, as well as background research for those interviews.   

I’ve come away from the last two years of producing this podcast very much inspired by the hugely valuable contributions that my guests have been making to help us address the challenges of the Twenty First Century Imperative. But at the same time, I’ve had a mounting sense of concern at how slowly our species is coming to grips with terrible reality that now faces us.

It is no exaggeration to say that we now need to be making serious preparations for an all-hands-on-deck, heroic, last-ditch effort to save ourselves, and the biosphere as we now know it from global warming catastrophe. From what we are hearing from the most knowledgeable and expert climate scientists, we have ten years – and possibly less, depending on how the quickly the global warming positive feedback loops accelerate the warming process – to stop emitting CO2 into our atmosphere, and to find ways to reduce existing atmospheric concentrations of CO2.

In my presentation I lay out how we can most effectively do this, and I introduce what I have called the “Architects NEW DEAL” – an acronym for the seven key things that I think architects, engineers, and planners can do to make a significant contribution to this effort.

The clock is now ticking! Our future hangs in the balance. It’s time for us to get serious”!

Let’s make this coming year count!

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