he way University of Toronto professor Danny Harvey sees it, we’re in a war to save the planet from its greatest enemy — us.
And while there’s a lot of finger-pointing all around as to who or what is to blame for acidification of the oceans, climate change and other ills affecting Earth, one of the key areas we can and must do more to improve upon is in construction design and execution.
“This is a global planetary emergency and we need to be in a footing for war, on a scale we were globally for World War II,” says the environmental studies professor, who explores the issues in detail in his most recent book, Energy and the New Reality: Energy Efficiency and the Demand for Energy Services (Earthscan, 2010).
“We are facing a catastrophic disaster; by the end of this century, will we lose one third or 90 per cent of the species. Will the seas rise five meters or 25 metres?”
He says buildings account for about 33 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to grow despite the shifting trend to LEED and other sustainable practices.