My heroine of the week is Amanda Baillieu, editor of architects’ trade journal Building Design. She noticed that when Environment Secretary Hillary Benn gave a talk at the Royal Institute of British Architects the other day on the looming peril of ManBearPig, hardly anyone bothered to turn up.
In an extremely brave editorial entitled “Is Global Warming Hot Air?” she speculated that the reason may have been because even architects are getting tired of listening to hysterical drivel about impending eco-doom and the so-called “consensus” on Anthropogenic Global Warming.
In fact, you’d be forgiven for not knowing there is a debate because it’s certainly discouraged by the RIBA, whose successive presidents have said that fighting climate change is the biggest challenge facing the profession.
While there’s no argument that natural resources such as water need to be conserved and low-energy buildings make sense, the scientific evidence has now shifted enough to warrant a more questioning position on climate change.
The editorial was brave because it’s still extremely rare for any editor in the mainstream media to question the prevailing orthodoxy on ManBearPig. Braver still because it is a known fact that 99.82 per cent of all architects (not my mates the Lahiffs, I don’t think, but pretty much all the others) are achingly worthy, politically correct, Big-State-endorsing toadies. (They have to be because Government projects are where all the money is).
The response has been much more mixed than you might imagine. Here are some of the more positive responses:
There are lots of people out there, including droves of architects, who take on the accepted view and know absolutely nothing about global warming, so why should they silence debate on the basis that the person who disagrees also doesn’t know. This is just a new religion where heretics are to be silenced.
Regrettably and incorrectly sustainability/energy conservation as the sole cause of global warming has become the new “sacred cow” which is only very rarely questioned given the risk of general derision.
The environmental movement is a beating stick used by governments. All you believers will be in for quite the shock when you cannot afford to turn on the heating or even have a drink of water, because you cannot afford it.
Excitingly, it has also led to a cat-fight, of sorts, with a female columnist from rival publication Architects’ Journal. Hattie Harman – the AJ’s Sustainability Editor, no less – takes Baillieu apart for her incorrect thinking.
Hattie intones (at least, I’m assuming she intones: her picture – redolent of a Greater London Council Wimmin’s Issues Adviser, C. 1983 – suggests she’s the intoning type):
I am not a climate scientist, but it doesn’t require detailed scientific knowledge to see that we are living beyond our means. I applaud the RIBA’s position on climate change and wish that more of the profession would heed its wake-up call. I would even say that the RIBA has been slow to champion the green agenda. Under Sunand Prasad, it endorsed the Global Commons Institute’s Contraction and Convergence framework, published its climate change toolkits and launched the speaker series, of which secretary of state for environment Hilary Benn was part.
The best bit, though, is the more-in-sorrow-than-anger Spartist ticking off Hattie administers at the end:
Journalistic endeavour would be better spent showcasing pioneering projects and disseminating best practice. It’s alarming to see a widely-read journal do otherwise.
Baillieu’s response? Why, only a challenge to a naked mud-wrestling match, You Tube footage of which it is my pleasure to show you via the following link: www.dirtyarchitecturalgirlsgetdowntoitruffnready.com.
Nah, not really. What Baillieu actually says is:
I’m delighted that the AJ is using its pages to publicise an article in a rival magazine – a first I think. Despite the line trotted out by among others the Green Building Council that there is no debate, there clearly is one otherwise why would the AJ be running with it?
Ooh! Claws out! Over to you, Hattie!