Sustainababble: Moving beyond talk and taking action!

Well, here we are well into the new year, for better or worse only time will tell. It seems that adversity fails to slow the clock; I don’t know about all of you, but certainly for me and others I’ve talked with time continues to flow at speed, perhaps even accelerating.

I think the sea of adversity that was 2020 calls for a flood of optimism as we surge into 2021. So, we are theming this issue around climate action, and there is reason to believe the conditions may be better as a new administration comes aboard. We start with an article from the Guardian assessing Biden’s position on the climate crisis and noting his pledge to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of his inauguration. Writing this on inauguration day, I’m very happy to say that he has honored that pledge. Now, on with getting to carbon neutrality by 2050! (Or better, 2040, as AIA Gold Medal recipient Ed Mazria encourages in the following item 6.)

Next, we take a look at the Green New Deal Network, which is indeed surging with optimism regarding climate action in the emerging context of the Biden administration. But Biden has not endorsed the GND, offering his own plan instead. A CBS News reporter takes a look at just how Biden’s plan stacks up against the GND.

At the level of global actions, it’s the Race to Zero: A global campaign for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon future (item 4). Not familiar with it? It’s not headline news…until it is. I recently saw LA mayor Eric Garcetti in the local news talking about a global green new deal and touting the C40 Race to Zero. Garcetti is the chair of the C40 (item 5), which currently commits 96 of the world’s largest and most influential cities to aggressive climate action independent of their national governments. In addition to the cities, the Race to Zero initiative includes an array of businesses, municipalities, over 500 universities, and other organizations.

It’s that time of the year when the industry pundits, overlords and soothsayers dust off their crystal balls and venture predictions about what is coming at us. Oracular tools seem to be particularly clouded these days and uncertainty reigns, but we’ve got two looks for you. FTI president Helen Sanders fearlessly wades in and lays out a compelling vision for 2021. Val Block, another FTI officer, amalgamates what some key industry trackers have to say, saving us the work of researching the different sources.

What we are attempting to do at FTI, our mission, is hard in the best of circumstances. But context is everything, and it’s been made all the harder by context in recent years: the spread of alternate realities that deny science, among other things (see The Social Dilemma if you haven’t already, I think it helps explain some things), an anti-regulatory sentiment among the governing leadership, etc. Things may be getting better but, regardless, we must persist. As a non-profit member organization, we cannot do this without the unflagging support of our membership and those who engage with the Institute as event participants, authors, committee members, podcast guests and so much more.

We know times are tough. Tough times make your continued support even more critical. Please renew your membership if you have not already done so. Organizational members please consider joining at a higher level and playing a more active role in Institute governance and activities. For you unrepentant facade geeks out there, we have a special level of individual membership for ya! Not a member? Consider it; much of what we do in the building industry continues to exacerbate the climate crisis and many of us wish we could do more to fix the problem. We created the Institute as a platform for fixing the problem. So join us; it’s the right thing to do!

If you haven’t seen my New Year’s message on behalf of the Institute, check it out.

Our very best wishes for a dynamic and productive new year from all of us at SKINS and FTI,

The SKINS Team

Mic Patterson
Executive Editor

Katie Gould
Creative Director

Val Block
Associate Editor

Brienna Rust
Christopher Payne
Marty Trainor
Content Editors

Nick Carrillo
Event Calendar Editor

This is the personal opinion of Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+ and does not reflect the views of Facade Tectonics Institute.

Photo of Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+

Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+

Ambassador of Innovation & Collaboration

Facade Tectonics Institute

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