Architectural practice Lemay’s Montreal office, Phenix, has a 3-star Fitwel rating, as well as Zero Carbon Building Standard and is aiming for LEED-Platinum certification – Performance and Living Building Challenge – Petal Certification. Image by Lemay.

It’s been all eyes on the nail-biter US election, with the fate of many critical issues hanging in balance that will be felt well outside American borders.

Not least climate change, with the Trump administration officially pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement yesterday. Biden, by contrast, is set to sign the world’s second biggest emitter back up on day one of his administration if elected. He’s also got an ambitious environment and climate plan waiting in the wings.

It’s with all this in mind that I’m thrilled to be hosting a TEDxSydney Discovery Session on Friday at 1pm called Designing to Save Our Planet.

I’ll be joined in conversation with four amazing panellists representing different design professions: Breathe Architecture and Nightingale Housing’s Jeremy McLeod, HIP V. HYPE’s Clare Parry, Jiwah’s Clarence Slockee and SJS Interior Design’s Shilpa Mohan.

In a pre-event interview with architect Jeremy McLeod, who has been a key signatory to the influential Architects Declare movement, I was reminded that the built environment is a serious battle ground in the fight against looming climate and biodiversity emergencies.

The industry is responsible for a whopping 40 per cent to our total global emissions, and the growing sprawl of our cities and towns is rapidly devouring the habitat for our native flora and fauna. 

McLeod also reminded me that we have all the technology and know-how we need to turn this situation around. It’s now just the simple act of doing it.

A mechanical engineer by training, Clare Parry knows all about the nuts and bolts that go into making a low carbon building that’s also comfortable and healthy to live in. Energy efficiency might not be the sexiest of topics on the surface but once you start hearing about her experience of living in a Passive House certified home, you might just change your mind.

Clarence Slockee is from the Mindjingbal/Cudgenburra clan of the Bundjalung Nation on the NSW far north coast, and is a man of many talents. He’s a dancer and musician, a presenter on the ABC’s Gardening Australia and the director of Jiwah, which provides a range of horticulture, permaculture, ecology, urban biodiversity, plant thematics and landscape design services.

Slockee is on a mission to get a greater variety of native plant species into our gardens and parks to improve the biodiversity of our cities, and has started to see success as more people have taken interest in Indigenous land practices in the wake of the summer bushfires and drought.

It will also be great to get the perspective of interior designer Shilpa Mohan, who believes her profession is often overlooked in our efforts to go green. She says with interior design, you are up against fast moving trends and tight budgets that can conflict with sustainable outcomes.

It will be a real honour to share the amazing work underway to create thriving, regenerative buildings and cities with the TEDxSydney audience.

Registrations are still open to tomorrow’s event, which will be held entirely online for the first time, so make sure to drop in on what I expect to be an inspiring session.

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