Los Angeles architect Angela Brooks is envisioning a banner, 10 by 8 feet at least, to catch the eye of every motorist passing her practice at the corner of 139th and Prairie Avenue on the morning of September 20. “I want it to be big and bold,” Brooks says. “It’ll say, ‘Architects Stand With Greta for Urgent Climate Action.'”
Greta is Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has asked the world to join a general strike on the third Friday of September, three days before the United Nations is holding an emergency Climate Action Summit in New York. Brooks is one of more than a hundred architects in the U.S. who have committed to participating, whether they march, plant trees, or find another way to express solidarity.
In New York, architect Barak Pliskin says he’ll ask his six-member team to walk with him a few blocks to Foley Square and join marchers around lunchtime. “I plan to attend this climate strike as a business owner and professional, not just as an individual,” Pliskin says. “As architects, how are we not doing anything we can to drum up the conversation? Apathy and giving up are not options in my mind.”
Helping coordinate the national strike effort—and planning to march in Chicago’s Federal Plaza himself—is Tom Jacobs, an architect who cofounded a group called Architects Advocate in 2016, right after President Trump said climate change was a “hoax.” “That blew my gasket,” Jacobs says. “We gathered 900 firms in six to eight months. It was a clear reflection of the fact that the architecture profession wants to be more outspoken.”