Dear AIA Baltimore Members,
As we approach Earth Day, we are ever more frequently reminded of the urgency and importance of drastically reducing our carbon emissions. Too often outside our field I hear that one approach or another isn’t worth pursuing because it alone will do too little. That the onus is really on something or someone else.
I believe that you, my colleagues, join me in understanding that we are past the point of pointing fingers or passing the buck. The answer to any viable carbon-reducing strategy should be “Yes, and…” (to borrow a phrase from improv). Yes, we need to take significant and sometimes challenging steps to reduce our own personal carbon footprints. Yes, we need to look at every workday as an opportunity together with our clients and partners to move the needle on the carbon footprint of our built environment. And yes(!), we need to advocate for development of more sustainable materials, more energy efficient systems, stronger codes, and funded policies that will support healthy, sustainable, resilient, and equitable communities worldwide.
The recent passage of the Climate Solutions Now Act, for which AIA Maryland and many others advocated, is a welcome step forward. Achieving a 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2031 and net-zero emissions by 2045 will require substantial effort in our industry and others throughout the state. I am also heartened by the continuing efforts of our Committee on the Environment and Resiliency and the support of so many of our local firms for the 2030 Commitment.
Please join me this week in helping to normalize the change we want and need to see in the world. In a conversation this week, mention not one but two ways you are furthering carbon neutrality, preferably at different scales. For example, I recently switched from a gas to an induction range in my home, and with my team and client worked electrification goals into a recent campus plan. I hope that, as it was for me, the act of considering what you wish to share will bring to mind even more sustainable goals for the future.
Laura Wheaton, AIA, LEED AP bd+c
2022 AIA Baltimore President