Could you live in this delightfully tiny home? Eco-advocates sure hope so.

When you think about climate change, what comes to mind?

I immediately imagine smokestacks billowing black soot, congested highways with idling cars, and millions of unassuming, gassy cows hanging out on the prairie. I don't, however, think about the house I live in — but I should, if you ask a climate scientist.

The housing sector is responsible for over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the United Nations.

And that's what makes this amazing tiny house all the more spectacular.


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

This Ecological Living Module — aptly dubbed the "tiny house" — aims to spark fresh ideas rethinking home construction and functionality to fight climate change.

The house, set up in New York City's U.N. Plaza between July 9-18, was built through a collaborative effort between U.N. Environment, U.N. Habitat, and Yale University. And its features are pretty darn remarkable.

Could this tiny house represent the homes of the future?

Many environmentalists certainly hope so.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

It's a mere 72 square feet (!), give or take, and is truly a work of sustainable art.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The house was constructed using only locally sourced and bio-based materials. It runs on solar energy, has on-site water collection for in-home use, and uses plants to keep the interior air pure and fresh.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

The home even has a "micro-farming wall" on its exterior so that potential residents can eat (very) locally.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

The tiny home movement has been picking up speed in American culture as more people trade large houses on big properties for a simple, cheap, and sometimes mobile alternative.

But beyond relishing in any short-lived lifestyle trend, the U.N. module home is aimed at helping solve two dire global problems in the long term:

  1. People are in desperate need of more housing, especially in the expanding urban regions of the developing world.
  2. The worsening effects of climate change go hand in hand with a growing world population emitting more carbon into the air.

The tiny home is a two birds, one stone solution.

"We clearly need more housing," explained Erik Solheim, U.N. Environment Head, "but the key thing is that we also need smarter housing."

Homes like this one do the trick.

Photo by Hind Wildman/U.N. Environment.

While this particular tiny house in New York will be moved this month, U.N. Environment plans to build future iterations in different countries to continue pushing for solutions-based design.

"Adequate housing is at the heart of sustainable urbanization," according to Maimunah Mohd Sharif, executive director of U.N. Habitat. "If adopted widely, this practice can create jobs and prosperity with lower greenhouse gas emissions."

Sounds like a win-win for our world to me.

Heroes

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

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