Greta Thumber
1

International summits, congresses, courses, books, doctoral thesis, rules, ministry of ecological transition, legislative texts, environmental certification tools, tactical actions taken by activists and members of NGOs and non-profit associations, including encyclicals dictated from The Vatican.

3

Garcés, Marina: Nueva ilustración radical, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2017.

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The Climate in Your Backpack

For the past few years I have been investigating the relationship between arquitecture, urbanism, and climate change, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking that maybe this faceless yet powerful industry, heterogeneous and unstructured but with an enormous responsibility and potential in regards to a territorial transformation on a global level, well just maybe this industry could lead the most advanced and mature expression of the world in which we belong to.

Over the years, what seems to be luck of a frankly extravagant paradox has come about: while governments and international institutions recognize in unison the magnitude of the problem and the pressure to act urgently1 , this same exact problem has not stopped growing nor multiplying its effects until it has now converted itself into an unquestionable global threat to human life as we know it.

Maybe the most extraordinary of cases isn’t the cynical silence or the lack of consideration of many, nor is it the frustration or the impotency of some others, rather it is the gigantic machinery generated for the service of some boastful yet innocuous message, politically correct and as inoffensive as a bubble massage with good intentions immersed in a mass of city air that is with every breath more difficult to breathe, a mass of water that is continually more polluted in our oceans, and a biosphere that is becoming weaker and weaker for our interests as a species.

Not more than a few weeks ago and what ended up being very unexpected for the establishment, a disconcerting student movement surfaced, a sharp jab that emerged from what was a dead angle for the system, too occupied in only the endless stabbing of its results. Against all prognostics, a group of European young people declared a Climatic State of Emergency, putting on hold their school studies on Fridays for #FridaysForChange, as a way to protest the lack of action being taken by the system when faced with the collective challenges that climate change is requiring, as well as its socio-ecological repercussions.2

What sense does it make to go to school if there is no future? Instead of classrooms, our children will occupy the streets, protesting under the motto #ClimateStrike. Since this unexpected yet young and transparent, collective voice has questioned us and stood up to say very hard things, for the first time ever we “adults” are being told that: the youth doesn’t expect anything from us, they call us immature to our faces; they say that we don’t truly look out for our children – for them – and they say goodbye to us saying “we don’t need you” reminding us that in the year 2078 it will be the grandparents from another time period who will explain, without a doubt, what we didn’t manage to do now; time isn’t yet posthumous.3

Some people will see in this an unbearable slap in the face, a truly biting effect that is rarely achieved in prestigious adults, in those that throughout a good part of society they are suspicious, distrusting, or simply indifferent. Other people will throw their heads back and laugh at the occurrences all at the cost of some kids, meanwhile the idiots can’t even imagine a repercussion, however small it might be.

What’s true is that whether it is of little or great importance to our solidarity or to our contempt: those young people have their entire life ahead of them and justly they have lost hope, at such a young age, before a predatory and exclusive system in fundamental areas such as access to housing or to employment; a system that condemns its young people to academic obesity, to the precarious job market, to familiar dependence, and to digital overexposure; all of that in a shuddering dynamic increase in global inequality and in breaking the environmental balance. The inverted pyramid that represents the European population is cracking where its support is weakest, there where children represent a minority that is rebelling against the manifested incapacity of the seniors of Old Europe. We think of dealing with the climatic emergency from an academic standpoint, from offices, from stages in grand auditoriums and assemblies; meanwhile, maybe the hope of any real change dwells among folders, drawing notebooks, and the colored pencils in pencil cases. Maybe young people are saving the climate in their backpack.


Text translated by Kaitlyn P. Delaney
Notas de página
1

International summits, congresses, courses, books, doctoral thesis, rules, ministry of ecological transition, legislative texts, environmental certification tools, tactical actions taken by activists and members of NGOs and non-profit associations, including encyclicals dictated from The Vatican.

3

Garcés, Marina: Nueva ilustración radical, Barcelona, Anagrama, 2017.

4
Autor:
Miguel Ángel Díaz Camacho, doctor Arquitecto por la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Es el actual Presidente de la Asociación Sostenibilidad y Arquitectura vinculada al Consejo Superior de los Colegios de Arquitectos de España. Dirige la compañía MADC & Partners SLP dedicada a la arquitectura, el urbanismo y el diseño ambiental, obteniendo numerosos premios en concursos nacionales e internacionales, así como reconocimientos a su obra construida. Profesor universitario, investigador, escritor y crítico de arquitectura, es autor, entre otros, de los libros “Párrafos de Arquitectura. Core(oh)grafías” (2016) y “Arquitectura y Cambio Climático” (2018).

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