The Landscape Architecture Foundation recently announced that LAF Fellow, Pamela Conrad, launched the Climate Positive Design Challenge, which encourages landscape architects to go beyond carbon neutral by designing projects that sequester more carbon than they emit.
According to LAF, the call to action in the New Landscape Declaration has 10 parts:
Up Your Game: Build your knowledge, skills, and credentials. Understand climate science and how to design for it. Increase your cultural literacy. Research, read, and travel to learn different ways of looking at and doing things. Learn the language of developers and politicians. Find out what the kids are talking about. Sit on an awards jury or just call your alma mater and see what's new. Innovation is born at the intersection of theory and real-life practice.
Design with Purpose: The Earth is our client. Design makes a difference, so design with nature. Do everything you can on every project to think big. Look beyond site boundaries and what is asked of you. Reframe projects as problem-solving opportunities. Listen. Practice empathetic design. Make landscape architecture indispensable.
Go For It: Set performance objectives and evaluate your work. Aim for zero carbon, zero waste, and equity on all your projects. Stretch further to regenerate. Use data to innovate and promote the value of a landscape approach.
Walk the Talk: Lead by example. Reduce your ecological footprint at home and in the office. Curate your practice for diversity and create an equitable and inclusive work environment. Team with others who share these values. Love where you live and practice in your community. Steward others into leadership roles. Embrace messiness.
Partner, Partner, Partner: Landscape architects are uniquely trained, talented, and expert in understanding context and scale. Leverage your impact through engagement and collaboration. Build teams across disciplines, practice types, and publics. Join a network. Implement a research project with academic, community, and practice partners.
Future Proof: Work upstream to influence policy and planning. Meet with decision-makers before there is a project. Assemble new funding sources with agencies, community groups, corporate leaders, and funders. Use innovative tools and technology. Invite non-landscape architects to events, juries, and media. Provide internships. Lead a public agency or nonprofit organization. Work for an elected official. Better yet run for office. Be a mentor. Take kids outdoors.
Use Your Voice: If you see something, speak out. Speak for land, water, and all living things. Speak for those not at the table and make sure they're included next time. Establish a social media presence and promote exemplary work. Practice grit advocacy. Show compelling graphics of alternative futures. Understand the system and intervene to change it.
Get Involved: Provide world-class design services to people and places that can't afford it. Reconsider how you allocate your time. Serve on boards, associations, and zoning commissions. Passion, time, and talent will dictate your role.
Donate: Give financial support to landscape architecture, environmental, or other charitable non-profit organizations.
Vote: Support candidates that stand for your priorities, for the environment and social equity. Vote in all elections. Get out the vote to others. Reference the voting records of elected officials and hold them accountable.
In addition to the call for action, Conrad also launched the Pathfinder, a free web-based app that helps designers understand the climate impact of their projects by calculating the point at which they become climate-positive.
Within the tool, you can make adjustments to the design and materials to see how they affect the time to positive, according to the foundation.
For more information on Climate Positive Design and the Pathfinder app: https://tinyurl.com/y6sbks8w.