I, like many, many others, will be going on strike tomorrow as part of the Global Climate Strike. We will be making a statement to our respective governments that the time to act is now and that we will no longer accept ‘business as usual’. There is nothing more important than the struggle to avert complete climate breakdown and I have so much respect for people who are risking their jobs, businesses and education to support this battle.
It is easy for me, working as I do for myself, as I am not going to get fired. In fact, I came to the conclusion that if I went on strike for one Friday, it could quite easily go completely unnoticed by my clients - Friday’s are often quiet days for me correspondence-wise! So… I’m striking for a week.
My clients come to me largely due to my environmental ethos and Passivhaus background, so predictably they have largely been very supportive of this move - I also make a point of only working with wonderful people so this helps. I look after my clients and will continue to do so, I’m not going completely off-grid. However, the point is that there should be some level of disruption. As I say, this is not business as usual.
This is all about re-setting our ideas about what is the social norm around the climate emergency. For years, many people (myself included) have felt uncomfortable about, and perhaps shied away from, talking about climate change in an honest way in mainstream circles. This may be because we have felt like a minority and our views have at times been labelled as extreme. In doing so we have contributed to the lack of action from individuals, companies and, as a result, governments and therefore contributed to subsequent further breakdown of our environment.
It is, and I can’t state this enough, time to get over it. If you have a good (or any) understanding of the situation we now find ourselves in, it is time to start having these honest conversations. It is your responsibility to do so and as part of a wider societal change it will have a greater impact than almost any other thing that you do. And it is time to – and this pains me to say – stop being quite so polite about it. This is not about judging people, but it is urgent that we change the way we as a society look at these things. By adjusting the way we speak about the environment, we are changing the wider culture and social expectations, which is needed to make a significant systemic change.
In closing my office for a week, I am hoping to contribute in some small way to these conversations. This may sound naïve, but it is one of the small areas where I hold some power so I am exercising it.
Hannah Dixon Architecture will be closed from 20th to 27th September 2019 for the Global Climate Strike and Earth Strike.