‘The twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss are the most serious issue of our time. Buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats.’
Why are we declaring?
As the next generation of architects, we have the potential to enact real societal and cultural change within our future professions. Students need to adapt to the climate crisis, adopting a much more focused and educated agenda for sustainable design. We have both the potential and ability to incite real change within our industry, and as such within the current climatic crisis in general. We believe our education should be more implicit in providing us the tools to achieve this. We should leave education with the knowledge and skill set to apply truly sustainable and environmentally progressive thinking within all future work, both for the benefit of our professions, but more importantly, for the future of our ecosystems, urban and natural landscapes, and all that inhabit them.
What are we declaring?
The SSoA must recognise the severity and urgency of the current climate emergency we face. The school must acknowledge their role in the education of its students to work within this future context.
Both the school and the individuals within it must be honest and open about their impact and effect on the environment if we are to mitigate the impact of our choices, both professional and personal. School environmental performance and the funding behind it must be made more accessible.
Action must follow recognition. The SSoA, students and staff must acknowledge the individual impact of our daily practices within the school as well as our personal lives. Cultural and behavioral change are required at both the institutional and individual levels. This should be a communal act, where students and school work together, not in conflict with each other.
Education is a powerful and vital tool in the fight against climate change. SSoA should ensure all students leave their education with the knowledge and tools to produce truly sustainable and environmentally focused design within their future careers.
A culture of design in which sustainability is more than just a specialism, but an element of our everyday work should be fostered within the school. Critical thought on sustainable practices should be promoted to ensure conversation and progression.
A wealth of information and knowledge exists within our university and our city. Student and staff work alike should be celebrated and given longevity. A centralised and accessible platform for the distribution of this work is required within the university, reaching beyond our institution and into the public realm.
As a profession we are stronger and more effective when we collaborate. This should be no different in education. Our learning and teaching should extend beyond the Arts Tower and into other university and city groups and institutions. The issue of climate change is better addressed collectively, not individually. We wish to demonstrate the value in collaboration, both to the architectural profession, as well as to those with which we engage.
It is imperative we adopt an intersectional approach to addressing climate change and acknowledge that the threats of ecological breakdown vary in intensity depending on class, race, gender and geography. We must also acknowledge the inherent benefits of creating an open and non-discriminatory space in which to discuss and come together in a collective endeavor to lessen our environmental impacts as a society, a school and as individuals.