Former SOF Fellow (2020–2023) Leah Aronowsky, historian of modern science and the environment, recently published "It Only Gets Worse" with The Nation and "The War on Carbon" with MoMA's Ambasz Institute.
"It Only Gets Worse" is an essay examining climate change and the displacement that will remake North America.
To date, the climate migrations that have attracted federal policy attention in the United States generally have fallen under the category of “managed retreat.” Recall, for instance, the 2016 headlines announcing that Isle de Jean Charles, La., would receive $48 million in federal funds for a first-of-its-kind wholesale community resettlement project, or the Biden administration’s announcement last year that it had awarded $75 million to Indigenous communities in Alaska and Washington state to pack up and move. “Managed retreat,” or the planned relocation of vulnerable coastal communities to higher ground, is at once a proactive tactical move and an act of resignation—an acknowledgment that, in a warming world, some geographic communities are fated to disappear into the sea. But what should we make of this intense political fixation on managed retreat? And when climate migration policies prioritize the most extraordinary and poignant cases, who is left behind?
MoMA’s Ambasz Institute presents "a series of commissioned articles that explore how the built and natural environment intersect with topics like the climate crisis, resource extraction, environmental justice, and race and indigeneity." Leah Aronowsky unpacks the high carbon footprint of energy efficiency in "The War on Carbon."
These days, carbon dioxide has a bad rap. Everywhere you turn, it seems someone wants to sell you on their plan to eradicate this pest of a greenhouse gas—reduce it, reuse it, sequester it, suck it out of the atmosphere, store it deep underground, or net-zero it out.To date, architecture’s strategy for waging war on CO₂ has been to focus on energy efficiency. By developing technologies and construction techniques for making buildings that consume ever less energy, the logic goes, we can design our way to carbon neutrality. As a result, today we have architects, engineers, and building scientists to thank for everything from heat pumps and solar panels to the LEED certification and the Passivhaus.