Seven Years or Bust

Event: Pratt Institute President’s Lecture Series
Location: Higgins Hall, Pratt Institute, 11.29.07
Speaker: Edward Mazria, AIA — Founder, Mazria Inc., Architecture Planning Conservation and Founder & Executive Director, Architecture 2030
Organizer: Pratt Institute

NYC 3M-5M

NYC if there is a three-meter (left) or five-meter (right) rise in sea level.

Courtesy architecture2030.org

Edward Mazria, AIA, conveys a frightening reality of a world fueling global warming. He predicts the world’s population has seven years before its discharge of greenhouse gases brings it to a point that scientists consider irreversible. Seven years before the inertia of a rising concentration of carbon dioxide will be beyond our ability to stop catastrophic rises in sea level.

Architecture 2030 — a non-profit organization aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by changing the way buildings and developments are planned, designed, and constructed, according to their mission statement — recently released a study showing the incremental rates that sea levels are changing throughout coastal American cities. Cities like Boston, New Orleans, and Miami would be devastated from just one meter of rising waters. Mazria, who is the founder and executive director of the organization, exclaimed, “It astonished us that our government did not do this study before.”

There are two methods to solve the greenhouse gas emission problem in the U.S., according to Mazria. Since burning coal is the single greatest source of carbon dioxide emissions today, a moratorium on coal is necessary to reverse its affect. Also, the nation must begin implementing the “2030 Challenge,” calling for all new buildings to use a maximum of 50% of the energy required by today’s standard by the year 2030.

Mazria is confident that the challenge can be met, but the time to act is now. Santa Barbara, CA, is the first municipality to carve the standard into its building code. Hopefully, more will follow soon.