“Your ‘Ground Floor Houses, Offices and Shops’ are safe no more!” – Johnny D, Editor-in-Chief, www.zerobeyond.com – dated 20th September 2022
The devastating and continuous onslaught of nature around the world has still not shaken the leaders of world, citizens, and national and International media houses to wake up from their deep slumber. Ironical, isn’t it? C’est la vie!
Citizens of the world – your ground floor houses, offices and shops are safe no more – as many have experienced and watched in disbelief. The ‘BIG Q’ is – are we going to do something concrete to overcome the catastrophic effects of floods, flash floods, storms, landslides and heavy rains on war-footing emergency?
Climate Crisis ‘quotes’ by leaders of the world at the UN Assembly sessions surely makes very impressive ‘Headlines’ and provide the much-needed eyeballs to media houses – BUT, they surely cannot save millions around the world to lose their property, belongings, vehicles, houses and years of hard-earned money in a fraction of a second, when climatic catastrophes are striking with full force on a daily basis – be it the rich or the poor. If things are not taken seriously and we do nothing, but obvious devastation will become much worse and worst.
The vloggers of the world, who are accumulating clips of various climatic catastrophes happening around the world from various social networks and posting on YouTube to shake the world, are doing a great job to generate awareness. However, the world is really not interested to save Planet Earth. ‘Destruction’ seems to be the ‘in thing’, as wars are getting escalated in many parts of the world to satisfy the egos of eccentric leaders.
It is really interesting to note that more ‘developed nations’ are facing climatic catastrophes than the so-called third world or ‘under-developed nations’. As Hurricane Ian is destructing the United States of America at this very moment, the horrendous devastation of two-third of Pakistan has not united the nations of the world to support and help the poor citizens. It barely makes a serious ‘Main Headlines’ in the international media, but Hurricane Ian is making super ‘Headlines’. Ironic and really a very sad state of affair!
GROUND FLOOR HOUSES, SHOPS and OFFICES – SAFE NO MORE
All the major cities of the world have, and are experiencing floods and flash floods of epic proportion. These climatic catastrophes are going to get much more severe and worst with days, months and years to come by. Unprecedented heavy rains around the world have seen ground floors being totally submerged or in 5 to 8 feet deep of flood water. Millions have lost their precious belongings, properties, houses and invaluable memories of their past.
In every single nation of the world, the urban planners, policy makers, world leaders, incorporations, real estate builders, civil and structural engineers, and architects have to really sit down seriously and work in unison to tackle the serious existing issue of climate crisis. I do know that it is my wishful thinking to suggest such a logical solution to face the hard-pressing herculean challenge. But, if such a thing does not happen at this very juncture without wasting precious time, no leaders in the world can ever save their nations’ lives and properties.
Greek architect Marilena Sifaki believes in implementing the three Rs and enthuses, “I may sound redundant, but I am a firm believer that the key for architects to be able to minimize the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis is through implementing the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – in their design and construction approach. There is greed to produce new and striking architecture. However, the earth is unable to respond to this mass consumption. Hence, it is essential for architects to take a step back and work with the earth instead of against it to safeguard its future.
Rethinking waste management to reduce the surplus produced during the construction process, reusing existing structures instead of expropriating them using heavy machinery, to minimize CO2 emissions and the amount of additional materials needed for construction, as well as to use recycled materials or scraps from old projects when working on something new will benefit everybody at large. Reusing and preserving the on-site resources is also a good starting point for innovation, as it renders each project more unique by pushing architects to come up with creative ways of thinking that could lead to diverse architecture.” – MARILENA SIFAKI – Principal Architect, Chωros – Sifakis Architecture Studio, Athens, Greece
At the present scenario, architects of the world need to revamp their design creations by avoiding ground floors, basement parking – shops – offices to save property owners from catastrophic flooding in coming years. Each year, flooding around the world commences from the month of May and continues to devastate nations after nation till October and in some cases in November too. It means life becomes unpredictably dangerous for 6 to 7 months a year. This serious issue needs ‘logical thinking and implementation’ without really debating the possibilities and impossibilities of such an effective actions.
Young architect Aditi Shaw from Odisha, India rightly points out, “The land is the most valuable resource available to us, not in the hope of destruction and waste disposal. Due to the impact of industrialization and urbanization, people often tend to fall into the real estate business and decorative lifestyle, which causes stress to nature, land and the very consumers of its availability. Architects have enormous power and authority to override climatic catastrophes by following steps of passive and sustainable techniques in their designs.
There are different strategies and attempts like those of designing spaces without wastage of materials by reusing waste, reducing embodied carbon by the usage of carbon-smart materials, and retrofitting existing buildings to meet high-performance standards for reducing near and mid-term carbon emissions. Along similar lines, my thesis ‘Handling of the Waste with Social Acceptance’ explored adaptation of a decentralized waste management system by saying ‘No’ to the landfills and creating awareness about waste segregation towards fostering community well-being.” – ADITI SHAW – 2021 graduated Architect, ‘Architectural Professional Training’ Intern at ‘Architecture Paradigm’, Bangalore, India.
Instead of wasting billions of dollars to find water in Mars, the world needs to invest billions of dollars to safeguard the future of Planet Earth without any delay. We have already run out of time!
Feature Photo Courtesy: Mandy Rukwa
To be continued…