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Climate change is an emergency but despair is not the answer

n 2000, Tsai Jen-Hui, a professor of architecture at the National Taipei University of Technology, had the walls of the campus torn down. In their place, he had a stream built that functions like a moat, fed by recycled water and rain. He gave the university an entrance way inspired by – and incorporating – living trees; he designed eco-roofs and an eco-balcony featuring species lost to the area; and he built a reservoir and waterscapes along with permeable pavements – all measures to help cool the campus and buffer against environmental change.

When I met Tsai in his treehouse on campus a few years ago, he was full of lament. He recounted his setbacks: the many occasions when university administrators and city officials had rejected his ideas, torn down trees or demolished some structures.

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