The Year of Perfect Vision

The Year of Perfect Vision

Earth Day 2020 is this week – the 50th celebration of our planet and the birth of the modern environmental movement. In 1970, 20 million Americans (10% of the US population in 1970) took to streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies, protests, and demonstrations. This movement united groups that had been fighting individually against oil spills, pollution, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, the extinction of wildlife, and many more under a common banner. In a nation torn by war and political division, republicans and democrats, rich and poor, urbanites and farmers, business and labor leaders discovered a rare moment of alignment. The power of this effort led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air Act by the end of that year, and the passage of the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act shortly thereafter.

Through BNIM’s history, we have been both champions and cheerleaders of the evolution of the green building movement. In 2019, we renewed the environmental and social commitments of our own practice, helped to shape the AIA’s national shift to focus on climate and writing the resulting climate action plan, participated in national development of the IECC 2021 energy code and the subsequent push to adopt this code in Kansas City, and have emerged as one of the key partners and thought leaders in the Climate Action KC effort to develop a regional climate plan for the 9-county area surrounding Kansas City as part of a global partnership with the European Union and International Council of Mayors.

So how do we celebrate this 50th year of the environmental movement at a time when we cannot take to the streets, parks, auditoriums, and board rooms?

1. Heart

With help from BNIM alum, Stephen Hardy, Climate Action KC is shifting from a series of large conference-style meetings at MARC to a broader community engagement using MindMixer. Join us in the conversation and participate in the KC Climate Action Plan. You don’t have to be an expert on any topic, just invested in the future of our City and Region. As we say at BNIM, “No one knows as much as everyone.”

2. Head

BNIM’s Sustainable Action team (Joyce Raybuck, Jeremy Nelson, Katie Nichols, Dana Sorensen, Adam Wiechman, and Jeremy Knoll) is helping guide BNIM as we continue to set performance goals on EVERY project in ALL STUDIOS. We are compiling our 2019 report now and are seeing projects across OneBNIM that have expanded the conversation about sustainability to new frontiers as a result of the questions and goals we set early in our process. This is an ideal time to take the initiative to set up sustainability kick-off conversations or revisit the goals at project phase milestones.

3. Hand

Bridging the Gap and the Urban Tree Alliance are offering a day of service that follows the COVID-19 CDC safety guidelines, as we plant trees alone together. Here are the dates they’ve announced so far:

4. Foot

In a time when we are in our homes 24-7, this is an ideal time to plan the improvements that always seem to be out of reach. Change your air filter, replace your lights, insulate your hot water pipes, get a bid for adding solar to your roof, and consider planting food in your windowsill or yard – it’s easier than you think.