[Essay] Earth, Water, Air, Fire and COP26 (C3 no.415)


Herbert Wright

C3 no.415 / pp.010-013(4 pages)



Earth, Water, Air, Fire and COP26 _ Herbert Wright

2500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Empedocles proposed that everything was made of combinations of air, fire, water and earth. We now know matter is much more complex, but the four basic elements of ancient Greece provide a shorthand to describe the principle driver of the climate emergency. The fire from burning fossil fuels feeds CO2 into the air, trapping heat which makes waters rise and scorches the earth. Fossil fuels are not the only root of climate change, and CO2 is not the only greenhouse gas (GHG). But because buildings generate almost 40% of GHG emissions1, architecture has a big responsibility to mitigate the global crisis that threatens life on our planet. […]