You may have already heard this, but America recently voted for change.
What kind of change, and how it will be implemented remains to be seen, but the sentiments for anti-globalization, nationalism, and against progressive change have swept Donald Trump and the Republican Party into complete power. Although a clear majority of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton, our Constitution’s Electoral College (and Senate) favor rural and less populous states over larger, urban states. However, cities are the drivers of our economy and culture, so they must still be protected and improved.
This election will not change the fact that the earth’s environment is changing faster than science has ever documented before, and the effects are severe enough that people all over the world are taking serious steps to adapt. Population migration from regions that are rapidly experiencing desertification into northern Europe and other temperate industrialized areas, often as refugees from war and famine, have led to angry calls by natives for strict anti-immigration laws. In America, this has become a cry for a great wall on the Mexican border, and deportation of aliens. Wars over water rights, drugs, and energy resources are already being waged, and will increase refugees.
While environmentalism has been marginalized as a movement of liberal elites in the past, and used for political countermeasures, it is now a matter of survival for billions of people and many species. With anti-globalization movements taking control, this scientific reality will have to be addressed by individuals and economic interests moreso than by national governments. We cannot wait for another election cycle.
The best hope that we have is that intelligent consumers will choose to use the powers of market capitalism, and will boycott products and processes that accelerate environmental decline. We will design buildings for our clients that attract these smart consumers instead.
At Gunn Meyerhoff Shay we are committed to the design of buildings and places that are environmentally excellent. Perhaps more importantly, we are also committed to fighting for ways that demonstrate how cities like Savannah can be shining examples of ways that people can live together closely, saving energy, reducing carbon emissions and even farming again. We will design apartments for students, creatives and working class people to be able to live here in greater numbers. We will create high performance energy and resource conservative hotels and rentals so that many people can see that we know how to live well here (and hope that they go back home with lessons learned). Most importantly, we will create places of “common ground” where people of all types can work and play and gather in civility and safety together.
Simply stated, we are committed to educating consumers and giving them acceptable, environmentally sound choices. We are also going to be more active in our community, helping other groups to persuade people that there are ways for us to share our community, and our planet, without violence or despair.
The changes are coming. For our part we intend to be a force for positive change. We believe that it is our responsibility to our clients and to every living thing.