2010 Imperative - Global Emergancy Teach-in


i've always loved the argument of only supporting sustainability if it looks good. it's kinda like eisenman's statement that “To talk to me about sustainability is like talking to me about giving birth. Am I against giving birth? No. But would I like to spend my time doing it? Not really. I‘d rather go to a baseball game.”
basically it's like, if we, as designers, don't begin to look into how to solve these issues beautifully and with an aesthetic sensibility, what the hell is our use. we should all just close up shop and stop...frankly isn't that our job? to make things beautiful that typically aren't? to solve problems that are difficult. or are we all going to just go forward like ostriches with our heads in the sand solving only the ridiculous problems we create for ourselves (why on earth anyone would want to solve the problem of detailing a million eifs corners is beyond me....i'd rather figure out how to daylight a building)

Feb 21, 07 10:19 am  · 

Just give me a box in a corner.

Feb 21, 07 11:50 am  · 

I always make the analogy of comparing the architect who doesn't embrace sustainability today to the architect who didn't embrace fire escapes in 1907. Sure, it wasn't required in most places back then but it wasn't very smart, especially considering NFPA 101 was published by 1913. I suspect many of the aspects of LEED (or some other rating system) will be absorbed into the building code by 2013, if not sooner. Unless you plan on retiring soon, why not get ahead of the curve?

Feb 21, 07 12:32 pm  · 


There will be a Teach-in for Africa and Europe soon. This is just the first one of many, let 2030 catch its collective breath I am sure they will contact you soon.

The Teach-In will be posted in its entirety tomorrow at:

Feb 21, 07 12:47 pm  · 

Diabase- yes. there is great variability in many different sources of 'global warming'. why this is a political question puzzles me.

That said, humans have changed the balance of CO2 in the atmosphere over the last 200 years. All that extra gas is causing some nasty chemistry changes in the ocean (and you thought acid rain is bad), along with the 'supposed' global warming. The ice caps are melting, the glaciers are disapearing, we have overfished and polluted the ocean to the point where 90% of large fish are gone - and this is political??????????? you can't argue or stick your head in the sand that these phenomina aren't happening.

Ok, can we do anything to preserve the benign and fertile climate that our civilization has emerged in???? the simple answer is to use less, much less carbon based energy. This isn't a 'liberal' conspiracy, but common sense and scientific data.

So, some companies will suffer (do we really need exxon?), while others will find new economic opportunities selling products and services for a carbon-neutral future. I'd rather get rich trying, then look backwards smelling the lead gasoline fumes of excess. We've already figured out how to reduce the CFCs emitted to reverse the ozone hole, we've already banned ddt in most corners of the world. WHY CAN"T WE STOP USING CARBON???

oh- ed mazria is an OG (original greenster) architect, more so then sorkin (one of the most interesting free spirits around). Maybe the energy use of buildings is exagerated, but since most of what we consume occupies buildings or uses infrastructure (like roads), those energy uses are within the influence of our profession.

Feb 21, 07 2:06 pm  · 

I hope that each one will be taught be in country experts.

Feb 21, 07 2:10 pm  · 

This might not be the right thread for this kind of debate. Like I said:

"I am a global warming skeptic. Not skeptical that it is happening, but skeptical that it is caused by what most people think it is caused by."

This is a reasonable position to hold. There should be a reasonable discussion about these issues.

I don't begrudge anyone here for pursuing a more sustainable approach to architecture and construction [which I believe to be a worthwhile and necessary pursuit], but at the same time I dont expect to be hassled for pointing out some issues with the current thinking towards global warming [specifically].

Feb 21, 07 3:07 pm  · 

D- the other causes of paleohistoric climate change in the past have been either changes in the sun's energy output, the distance of the earth from the sun/moon, or the atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases such as co2, methane, and others.

there is a solid, very solid link between the paleohistoric climate and greenhouse gases. the current trend of increased co2 in the air can easily and simply be corrolated to the burning of fossil fuels including coal, petroleum and natural gas. As we have burned more, the level of ghg's in the air have risen. that's simple.

so what is your theory of it's cause?

Feb 21, 07 3:44 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

an alternate view regarding CO2:

and an excerpt:

Water vapor, the most significant greenhouse gas, comes from natural sources and is responsible for roughly 95% of the greenhouse effect (4). Among climatologists this is common knowledge but among special interests, certain governmental groups, and news reporters this fact is under-emphasized or just ignored altogether.

Of course, even among the remaining 5% of non-water vapor greenhouse gases, humans contribute only a very small part (and human contributions to water vapor are negligible).
Feb 21, 07 4:29 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?


carry on ..

Feb 21, 07 4:37 pm  · 

The Teach-In is already available to watch on-line:

Also if you are interested in Mazria's slides go to:

Feb 21, 07 5:01 pm  · 

water vapor either shades (and reflects sunlight) or traps radiant cooling on overcast days. The amount of clouds and climate info shows that due to high levels of particulate matter (which creates smaller water droplets) the surface temps over the past 50 years are lower then what would otherwise be observed. Proof was after 9/11 when all air travel was suspended, the amount of sunlight at the ground increased significantly - then was observed to reduce once flights were resumed.

so if we shift to alternate/cleaner energy sources we will observe better health, better visibility, and higher solar radiation levels- and the climate will warm faster. damn catch-22!

Snow also reflects heat back into space/air- less snow/ice cover in the artic means more heating at the ground.

Just because there are other mechanisms of heat trapping on the planet doesn't mean we can ignore the role of co2 aand our culpability of influencing the levels...

why are you having such difficulty seeing that there is a problem?????

what do you gain?

Feb 21, 07 5:04 pm  · 

Global Dimming

Feb 21, 07 5:15 pm  · 

"Just because there are other mechanisms of heat trapping on the planet doesn't mean we can ignore the role of co2 aand our culpability of influencing the levels... "

This statement equally applies:

Just because there are other mechanisms of heat trapping on the planet doesn't mean we can ignore the role of larger historical weather cycles, changes in solar activity, atmospheric conditions influenced by magnetic and gamma ray activity, the restoration of the ozone layer, etc etc...

Feb 21, 07 5:31 pm  · 

Dia- I'm starting to think that you either own stock in exxon/haliburton or believe that children are delivered by storks.

As learned in New Orleans, prevention is much, much cheaper then cleaning up after a crisis, so acting to reduce our carbon emittions now makes the best of financial sense. doing nothing is the riskiest path to take...

Feb 21, 07 5:44 pm  · 


That is an absurd comment to make. If you had actually read what I have talked about on this thread, you would find that I am not denying that global warming [as a process] exists, nor that CO2 is part of the reason why this is happening.

I am merely trying to point out that there are other mechanisms that can explain what is happening, and that the level of influence on global warming by these mechanisms [increase in CO2 emission by human population, solar activity etc] are not entirely known.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change submission is only 90% sure that global warming is caused by human activity. But this is not my single argument - there are plenty of opposing voices.

I believe that global warming can be accounted for by a number of factors. Many of these factors can be researched and debated, but are not. They are not being talked about because they do not fit into the current framework of discussion, which is increasingly becoming political and in some cases, hysterical.

This is a very common situation across many academic and scientific circles - it is not uncommon for the prevailing theory to stifle or even prevent alternative views to be publicised.

The fact that most people are quite happy to not even acknowlege other scientific points of view on the global warming debate is irresponsible and actually not very scientific.

The only recourse you have is to label me a neocon, an oil company stockholder or a lunatic. I would have hoped that a rational, reasonable approach would be appreciated when most people are losing their heads, after digesting a few headlines and watching a [questionable] Al Gore doco.

And as the father to two children, I can assure you that I know how they are produced and delivered. And to make myself clear, although I really dont have to explain myself to anyone, the only stock I own is chicken.

Feb 21, 07 6:09 pm  · 

Whether the climate change is caused by us or by natural atmospheric or otherwise earth-based circumstances, I think we need to keep one thing in mind: the climate IS in fact is getting warmer....and we, as design professionals, need to plan for this. Now if we can only stop finger pointing long enough to get on with it we might actually have some progress!

"Fix the problem, not the blame"

Feb 21, 07 6:18 pm  · 

OK, OK, but remember that the '90%' figure is based on the political dillution of the science. those IPCCer had to get all governments to sign off, all including our current administation...

I was getting rilled up because it seemed that you were shifting all blame. after a more careful re-read, I get your initial point- yes there are LOTS of causes for the weather and the climate.

Feb 21, 07 6:27 pm  · 

im just glad people are finally talking about it all.... +q do you know if the webcast is available to download not just as a webstream but as movie that you can fast forward and rewind?

Feb 21, 07 9:56 pm  · 

"...the only stock I own is chicken"

effing hilarious.

cross posted in the school blog, but probably would have been better off here...

why don't we see enough firms here in the US doing well-designed projects that are sustainable? there are a whole slew of firms overseas that specialize in this. i'm not talking LEED, which is pretty bogus in comparison to a lot of other programs.

Feb 21, 07 10:07 pm  · 

sorry 9-5 right now we are making it only available as a streaming video. Should that change y'all will be among the first to hear.

Feb 21, 07 10:09 pm  · 

I'm with you, diabase, and there should be some serious discussion about this because it isn't just a party you can chose not to attend.

actually I think it's just as dangerous how this issue is in fact becoming a religion - either you're a believer or an outcast.

Feb 21, 07 11:28 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

a look at the bigger picture ..

Feb 22, 07 12:37 am  · 

Free Ramos and Compean. How how HOW is it that you are still missing the point!?!?

According to your pretty picture, the last time the temperature was as high as it is approaching now was approximately 125,000 years ago. New York City is only about 400 years old. What part of "40 million people under the sea" do you not understand?

Feb 22, 07 1:32 am  · 
drums please, Fab?

we are right where we should be according to scientific fact. per the 425,000 year graph, we are headed toward the next ice age.

and should the seas rise up, i doubt 40 million people will sit in their homes as the water rolls in.

stop the hysteria.

Feb 22, 07 2:01 am  · 

ramos one diagram taken out of context does not refute anything. if anything that site supports many of the statements noted here. yeah and i guess, how many people in New Orleans were able to get out of the way of the water rolling in? quite playing with funny money, and put up or shut-up.

Feb 22, 07 4:58 am  · 

I agree that we need more firms designing beautiful high performance/carbon neutral/ecologically generative (or whatever term you choose) buildings - even more imporatant is designing eco-cities (what was the term that the guy from Arup used?).

maybe I should start a firm to do this, before I get my licenses, otherwise I was looking to launch in 5-10 years and by then it may be too late.

Just started getting my subscription to mother earth news. (ok, ok, shouldn't be wasting paper and transportation to subscribe to a magazine- I'm guilty, get over it!) their articles range from libertarian 'live free or die' to granola 'be nice to the organic animals'... But the perspective into the off-the-grid homesteading is good inspiration for us urban denizens too. the best read so far is Whither Wind, exploring the full impact of wind power development on the environment and culture- a must read for us eco-geeks! didn't know about orion magazine before..

Feb 22, 07 1:34 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

i drove by the palm springs wind farm recently .. quite beautiful.

Feb 22, 07 1:44 pm  · 

nice article on wind farms, there are some amazing windfarms between barcelona and sevilla (or was it the phenomenal landscape under the spanish sun)

i haven't watched the teach-in yet, though i'm interested in hearing what the guys from arup say. eco-cities sound like an interesting topic. holl's abomination in china and this are one way to go.

i've worked for a few guys that felt it was not only imperative to design eco-friendlier projects, but it was the moral and ethical duty as architects and humans. they didn't sacrifice design, and in the end had these well-designed projects that basically required no heating or cooling (or significantly reduced systems in the case of institutional and large scale commercial projects) and none of the techniques used are really that foreign or expensive. the theory being, if enough people are able to reduce the depenency on elec/gas/oil heating, the environment would be much better off and the client would get to recoup some of the construction costs. this also brought the connection between earth and client a bit closer.

oh, and most of the projects didn't utilize grass (or sedum) roofs nor photovoltaics.

Feb 22, 07 4:40 pm  · 

^ that's what happens when video game designers try creating 'architecture'... sigh, and we have an entire generation of archistudents who only learned maya, not sustainability.

Feb 22, 07 5:02 pm  · 

Just a follow up to the 2010 Imperative:

The archived webcast lectures and question and answer session are now available as flash videos (easier to watch):

Also, I would like to invite all those interested to join the discussion on ways that we can implement the 2010 Imperative at the 2010 forum:

The forum is only to discuss future steps towards a carbon neutral built environment, so please keep all posts relevant to that issue.

Apr 1, 07 12:01 pm  · 

[shameless self promotion]
see my rant on why the AIA isn't doing more to promote the 2030 challenge.
[/self promotion]

Apr 3, 07 9:38 pm  · 
drums please, Fab?

yay !!

Apr 3, 07 9:38 pm  · 

Block this user

Are you sure you want to block this user and hide all related comments throughout the site?

  • ×Search in: