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2019 Keynote Luncheon

Charles Fishman, award-winning journalist and best-selling author, delivered a thought-provoking talk based on his research for his book, The Big Thirst, which looks at our relationship with water. He stressed a sense of urgency regarding water conservation, showing how every problem associated with climate change is also related to water; he shared illuminating and fascinating anecdotes about everything from Indian river pollution to Las Vegas by-laws to the path of bottled water from Fiji to your hotel room.

Fishman tied this discussion into the Conference’s theme of “Empowering Change” when it comes to how architectural thinking might offer new insights into dealing with future water crises.

“We need to take steps that don’t fix things today, but years from now. Architects know how to ask questions, listen to answers and take imagination and transform it into concrete—and wood—ideas,” he said.

“We live in what you create, but we don’t often think about it—architecture can be invisible but indispensable, like water. Your clients aren’t just the people who pay you to design, but all the communities and people living in a building,” Fishman continued. “You understand the art of context, and climate change is changing context for every community and we need your skills to adapt to this.”

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