EG talks to the youth of today on climate change

Samantha McLary of EG spoke to some of the children of industry professionals to get their take on climate change and how the world is tackling it. Josie Price, Alex Price’s daughter added her input on how the industry can help.

Today, people around the world are striking for action on climate change. The movement is being led by young people. The people who, if real change doesn’t happen, will be forced to live with the consequences of global warming.

As part of EG’s new sustainability programme, we are asking young people whose parents work in the real estate sector – one of the biggest contributors to global warming – about their views on the climate emergency, and what they think the built environment could and should be doing to protect their future.

Josie Price, the 10-year old daughter of Palmer Capital’s Alex Price, says:

“The adults aren’t trying hard enough and everyone says that it will be fine, but we are the ones who will have to deal with this. We are more aware about the issues as we know that when it gets to our generation it will be too late.

“Adults need to use less of everything, and a little less here and there should be enough – if everyone does it. In buildings we need to use less electricity. We need to use less energy to make houses. At my school we don’t have air conditioning and it is pretty much always fine. We have radiators but we only use them for a couple of months a year. We only use lights in the winter afternoons. We also only use reusable boxes and we recycle paper. Why can’t other buildings try to do the same? If they did, the world would be a better place to live for generations to come.”

Industry effort

Cosmo McWilliam, 15, the son of Grosvenor Britain & Ireland chief executive Craig McWilliam, says there should be requirements that all new buildings generally have solar panels and insulation to reduce energy. He says his dad generally agrees with his views on climate change and that the industry should be doing more, but that in practice that is not always actioned. He suggests simple measures that could make a big difference.

“They recently developed Berkeley Square,” he says, “and while they added cycle parking, they could have added a water fountain to allow for the refilling/avoidance of plastic bottles.”

He adds: “I think the change to more environmentally sustainable buildings is happening, but not fast enough. A very good example is the Olympic Village, which has plenty of innovations, yet was only built that way because it was needed to make the bid. Similar designs aren’t that common compared to more traditional designs. If the industry could actually look at what they have, can and could do, that would be helpful.”

Missing the message?

Like Josie, Cosmo thinks young people aren’t being listened to enough, and that leaves him feeling concerned about the future of the planet.

“The government as a whole has disregarded what we have to say. The recent climate strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg were ignored and some politicians said that our generation should go back to school, misunderstanding the meaning of the strike,” he says.

“While our government has committed to no petrol/diesel cars and no diesel-only trains by 2040, which is a step forward, the US under Trump is continuing to repeal climate regulations. With the US as one of the largest producers of C02, it’s looking bleak.”

Originally published by Samantha McClary in EG, September 2019.