This I Believe

David - Spring Hill, Kansas
Entered on March 28, 2007

I believe in change, I believe we must change.

Many people would be surprised to know that in the United States, the transportation industry doesn’t consume the most energy – buildings do. Transportation isn’t the leading cause of carbon emissions in our country – buildings are with an estimated 48 percent of all the carbon emissions in the U.S. Evidence shows that CO2 has been linked to global warming possibly resulting in catastrophic consequences such as coastal flooding, drought, fresh water shortages, plant and animal extinction and increase in storm intensity. That is why I believe that as a global leader America needs to lead the way for change. And it is imperative that we do this now.

Growing up I believed that we would not change even if the evidence was right in front of us. I thought that we would make this change toward a cleaner environment too late and we would be in dire straights. In my somewhat cynical mind, I envisioned “reverse smoke stacks” that would have to be built by eastern states because of all the pollution that was made by the western states. These “reverse smoke stacks” would essentially take in the polluted air, force it down through scuppers that would clean the air, and then blow the air out the bottom where people could breathe the “clean” air. If extreme measures such as these become necessary then we are in bad shape, and I believe we are getting close.

Keeping this in mind, when choosing a profession I decided to become an architect. It seems counter-intuitive to want to go into the building industry when you know that the essence of, the basic meaning of, the industry is to impact the environment. But that is precisely what I did and I am using it as an agent for change. I believe that the industry needs to build more responsible buildings that, first and for most, reduce energy consumption thus reducing carbon emissions. Then the building industry needs to focus on air quality, conservation of water and natural resources, and making our communities stronger. I believe that these changes need to come from within the profession as well as outside the profession. So, we need more businesses, more city and state governments, more school districts and universities, and more people demanding a change from the industry. And together we can make a positive difference.

Now that I have grown older, I believe that we can make the change. I don’t believe that we will need “reverse smoke stacks” to turn this around. I believe in an America that can change and America needs to be, and can be, the leader because when America unites, change can happen. So I now ask of you, will you be the source of change, will you be the voice that champions my belief, the belief that we must change in order to prevent the catastrophic consequences of global warming?