Climate strike backed by RIBA president and UK Green Building Council

Ben Derbyshire has joined the UKGBC in urging designers to join planned industrial action on 20 September.

The global climate strike is in solidarity with the millions of pupils who have participated in the Fridays for Future school strikes in recent months, orginally sparked by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

It also follows the Extinction Rebellion protests earlier this year and the declaration of a climate emergency by the UK Parliament and others, including the RIBA.

Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC, said: "We know our built environment has a huge carbon footprint, and we know it represents an enormous opportunity to decarbonise the economy.

"Designers will be vital in tackling the climate crisis. They have a unique role to ensure that better outcomes for both people and planet arise from their designs, and I hope that many of them will join us in making our voices heard on 20 September."

Derbyshire said: "September's climate strike provides a platform for people to join forces to demand the change needed to tackle the global climate emergency. As members, we must make our own decisions about whether to participate in this initiative and how, from hosting a lunchtime discussion to joining strikers on the streets.

"If members can, I encourage them to do so. The RIBA continues to guide and support the profession – as architects we all have a significant role to play in addressing climate change. We must urgently engage with our clients and in our practices to identify action to reduce carbon emissions."

Architectural practice Chetwoods founder, Laurie Chetwood said his firm would be demonstrating its support at both its London and Birmingham bases and urged others to join it.

He said: "The Climate crisis is an issue for the whole of humanity, not just school children. We believe that those in our profession can offer holistic thinking like no other profession and we believe that now is the time to prove it.

"Whilst the pioneering few are seeing the benefits of sustainable design, other clients still will not see past the bottom line and this is where we need incentives (carrot) and legislation (stick) from our country's leaders to speed up the transition. We invite all to join us and participate in the global action."

Thunberg said recently of the proposed action in September: "We need everyone...if it's not you who should do it, then who else? If not now, then when?"

This article first appeared in Architects' Journal

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Climate change