Today more than ever, Conway”s design projects take climate change into account. For example, during spring term 2013 a student team helped residents of Wilmington, Vermont, grapple with a future for their town center, which had been ravaged by Tropical Storm Irene. Citing climate projections that suggest more intense and more frequent storms like Irene, the team helped Wilmington”s residents consider moving their downtown away from the Deerfield River instead of putting things back the way they had been.
Ottmar Edenhofer of the Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recently said: “There is a clear message
from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual.” The release of the IPCC’s fifth assessment (April 2014) spawned headlines such as, “Global Warming: 15 Years to Change Things”. For the first time, the IPCC has put a timeline on making changes to head off some aspects of global warming.
Conway seeks more projects with clients who are anxious to leave behind wasteful “business as usual” practices. Such practices can be resource-consuming (think oil-dependent lifestyles) and miss opportunities to find new uses for “wastes” (such as stormwater and organic byproducts).
One recent student project has climate destabilization directly in its sights. Just a few hours
after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in Tacloban, Philippines, on November 8, 2013, the Conway School community began envisioning ways ecological designers could help after such disasters strike; measures that might reduce future impacts were also considered. Five months later, a student team began working with the Philippines-based nonprofit organization Kusog Tacloban on environmental and sustainability standards for the rebuilding of Tacloban, a city of 220,000 residents that was directly hit by Haiyan. Trevor Buckley “14 and Marie Macchiarolo “14 will return to Tacloban this year to continue their work as David Bird International Service Fellows.
This year, Conway is always looking for projects that deal with important planning and design issues. If you have ideas for projects that would allow Conway students to explore issues related to climate change, contact Administrative Director David Nordstrom.