As landscape architecture, architecture, planning and interior design professionals, our designs are sensitive to the environment as we orchestrate nature and man-made open spaces to create a symphony of experiences for the people who occupy them.
Earth Day, which is on Sunday, April 22, should remind us of the role that we, humans, have for stewarding the Earth’s living resources as part of the created order. We should seek to live in harmony with nature and find more creative ways to harness the energy and renewable resources that it offers for both our needs and enjoyment. This should be done while respecting other living creatures that are vitally necessary to keep a balance with the planet’s ecosystems.
So, it is important to think about reducing our consumption of non-renewable resources, rethinking our use of regenerative resources, and converting used items into new, rather than burying them in the ground. Our focus and change for the future should be on what is being done that is good, and less of a focus on what we have poorly used and managed. On the other hand, it is important to look back, so we can shift away from an ill-suited direction.
The way we manipulate the land the Earth provides, build buildings and spaces that reshape the living planet is of upmost importance to us because ultimately, we seek to improve the human experience through planning and design.
This approach to our professional work supports the essence of Earth Day. The perspective of stewarding the planet cuts across all our professional disciplines and our sustainable approach to design.
Due to the continued exponential growth of the human population in 2010, we were consuming the planet’s natural resources 24 times faster than it can regenerate (regrow). This behavior of course is not a sustainable stewardship strategy and will continue to cause strife as it existed from the beginning of time. I am called to be a steward, but don’t believe we are in control.
Barth Hendrickson, PLA ASLA APA is a firm principal whose passion resides in rethinking design solutions that make physical sense of the human experience through planning and design. His solutions add value by stewarding the health and well-being of life on our planet. Many of the firm’s landscape and site design awards are the result of his encouraging a studio focus on the design and management of water, soil, vegetation, material use and, animal/human health and well-being in purposefully programmed spaces. Barth also leads significant projects for the firm.