In my most recent action to incorporate policy and sustainability, I entered the Global Energy writing contest. In a letter to the UN Secretary General, we were to describe the future we hope to see, and how to achieve that through sustainable energy. While posting the entire 10 page letter might be over kill for a blog, I hope the excerpt below shows the vision I was portraying in my letter:
Here on this brisk October night, I write to you from a quaint corner café. From this café, I can see two different scenes; one from the left and right window. The left window shows the city that resonates deep in the soul. It is the city that has motivated my pursuit of architecture; it is the one to that has inspired so many to call the Twin Cities their home. Looking down the gridded street, I see the center lanes being occupied by public transportation, outside them the bicyclists swerve around traffic, and beyond that, parks form an envelope for the community, of both children and adults joyfully playing and exercising. With a quick shift of my head, from the right window, I see the deteriorating neighborhood. The only residents are seen through the windows of their cars; the light of the street crackles from the fluorescent open signs, and in the distance, the smog stands thick over the abandoned industrial zone.
Its no secret our world is changing. With a quick 360 glance of one neighborhood, we can see both the past, and sadly the possible future of where of our actions have led us. But let us remember, there is still a left window. Society, like myself, it sitting at the intersection of two different futures, and there are crucial choices to be made .The obstacles are high, but the outcomes are too great to do nothing. Because this fight requires action and knowledge in almost every field, let us begin with the most pertinent issue, energy.
Recently, I was talking to a fellow student about my ambitions to pursue landscape architecture and urban planning. He, to my surprise asked me if I was more interested in helping humans, or the environment. Me being an optimist, said without thought, hopefully both; and looking out the right window at the people thriving in the environment that caters to the natural world, I cannot help but think that by helping one, we are helping the other. This balance of ecological and human systems won’t come easy, but the premise of our current situation is that there is hope. There is hope in educators to teach students basic ecological principles, in engineers to further develop energy that is wholly renewable, for designers to create buildings that push the limits of how little energy is consumed, and for policy makers to be held responsible to create and uphold laws that adhere to our ecological capacity.
Here in this café, in this warm and well-light space, the world outside seems grim. The cold has just set in, and as the leaves pile high for the impeding snow, the unadjusted civilians bury in their coats searching for warmth. A scene that may seem uninviting to some, resonates differently with me. It tells me that there is some pattern in our world; that here in the northern state of Minnesota, the drastic seasons of the year still remain. In the coming decade, as shifting of political and economic global unrest will undoubtedly continue to grow, we hopefully will continue to possess some dependency on the earth’s natural cycle. While, because of our actions we are at stake of losing nature’s reliability, we also in the next decade have the opportunity to alter the path we are heading, and maybe one day, someone from the future generation will be sitting where I am at, and see the blissful scene from the left window, in all directions.