Last year turned out to be the hottest since record keeping began. In June of that year, leading landscape architects gathered at a summit on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on a 90 degree day, just a few degrees shy of the record. With the input of the 715 attendees, the Landscape Architecture Foundation wrote the below declaration of values and objectives embodied by the profession.
In the months following the publication of the declaration, the shift in the political climate has invigorated it with new urgency. As Trump's administration silences dissent at government organizations such as the National Park Service, and threatens funding to programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Environmental Protection Agency, it is more critical than ever to champion the outlined beliefs as we step into a new era. Trump's denial of the consequences of climate change will have devastating global outcomes if embraced by the larger population. As a profession, we must continue striving towards environmental equity, innovation and education.
You can pledge your commitment to the below values by visiting: https://lafoundation.org/news-events/2016-summit/new-landscape-declaration/ and signing the declaration.
THE NEW LANDSCAPE DECLARATION:
"Across borders and beyond walls, from city centers to the last wilderness, humanity’s common ground is the landscape itself. Food, water, oxygen – everything that sustains us comes from and returns to the landscape. What we do to our landscapes we ultimately do to ourselves. The profession charged with designing this common ground is landscape architecture.
After centuries of mistakenly believing we could exploit nature without consequence, we have now entered an age of extreme climate change marked by rising seas, resource depletion, desertification and unprecedented rates of species extinction. Set against the global phenomena of accelerating consumption, urbanization and inequity, these influences disproportionately affect the poor and will impact everyone, everywhere.
Simultaneously, there is profound hope for the future. As we begin to understand the true complexity and holistic nature of the earth system and as we begin to appreciate humanity’s role as integral to its stability and productivity, we can build a new identity for society as a constructive part of nature.
The urgent challenge before us is to redesign our communities in the context of their bioregional landscapes enabling them to adapt to climate change and mitigate its root causes. As designers versed in both environmental and cultural systems, landscape architects are uniquely positioned to bring related professions together into new alliances to address complex social and ecological problems. Landscape architects bring different and often competing interests together so as to give artistic physical form and integrated function to the ideals of equity, sustainability, resiliency and democracy.
As landscape architects we vow to create places that serve the higher purpose of social and ecological justice for all peoples and all species. We vow to create places that nourish our deepest needs for communion with the natural world and with one another. We vow to serve the health and well-being of all communities.
To fulfill these promises, we will work to strengthen and diversify our global capacity as a profession. We will work to cultivate a bold culture of inclusive leadership, advocacy and activism in our ranks. We will work to raise awareness of landscape architecture’s vital contribution. We will work to support research and champion new practices that result in design innovation and policy transformation.
We pledge our services. We seek commitment and action from those who share our concern."