Last month Finnegan Harries came to Iowa to attend the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Cedar Rapids. If you don’t know Harries, you should.
Finn was assigned to my mentoring group by the organizers, but the idea he could learn more from me than I him borders the absurd. I am smart enough to step out of the way and let the next generation blaze a trail to more sustainable living when they can. Finn can.
Right after our training he wrote an article in The Guardian, titled “My generation must save the planet.” Because of his unique celebrity, the post garnered more than 36,000 shares to date. Finn Harries has something to say, and it’s important to listen.
Here’s the article. I recommend you click through and read the whole thing, including the videos linked from it. Follow @FinnHarries, @JackHarries and @JacksGap on twitter and check out JacksGap.com. Don’t forget the YouTube channel.
My generation must save the planet
YouTube star says his is the first generation to grow up with climate change and the last that will be able to do anything about it – unless we act now
As architecture design students we are taught to constantly question and reimagine the way things are. We’re taught that the world we live in is not a given. It’s the result of the best efforts our ancestors could muster at that time. If it has flaws, it is up to our generation to pick up where they left off and create the world we want to see for ourselves and our children.
I’ve grown to understand that the society and culture I was born into is damaging the planet we live on at a greater scale than ever before. We put profit above people, economy above environment, progress above purpose. As a result, climate change has become the most important issue of our generation.
But it’s such a meaty, complex problem that we’re not sure how to approach it. It doesn’t seem to pose an immediate threat to our everyday lives, and most of us assume that there are surely some very clever scientists somewhere who will solve the problem for us.
I became curious. If climate change is as big a threat as I’m being told, then my work as a designer and an architect should focus on helping address the issue. I wanted to really understand, in layman terms, what it is that’s causing our climate to warm. Why is a warmer climate dangerous? And how can I make a positive difference?
I started by attending classes on sustainable design at my university. I spent a weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to watch former US vice president Al Gore present his famous slide show and explain it in-depth at one of his “climate reality” workshops; I picked up a copy of Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything and downloaded as many climate-change related documentaries as I could get my hands on.
To continue reading on the Guardian site, click here.