The TV programmes of Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham and the like have informed us that our future world must be greener and that we ought to be the technologists to affect this. So, we want to do the right things to journey ourselves, our clients and the public down this road. But do we know what the right things are, or are we just tinkering with minor items? Do we understand what sustainability is, what our most sustainable choice of materials are, and what is the impact of our carbon footprint? How do we foster biodiversity net gain? Surely this understanding should be within all who work in our industry, from the shovel to the sketch pad.
And where do we gain this knowledge? Do we all have to plough our own furrow? Is there a common source we can access for this information?
Landscape architect Adam White introduced the Sustainable Landscape Foundation (SLF) in the March issue of Pro Landscaper, and this is a major step in the right direction. SLF is independent of industry compartmentalisation and, though supported by these organisations, is independent of the traditional hierarchy and bureaucracy. Founded by Marian Boswall and Arit Anderson, it has been in development since 2017 and now has a formal structure in place and a group of respected and experienced trustees. What it now needs is for us to sign up (for free) to become more involved and agree to share our positive experiences of sustainable projects and actions, so they can gather, review and disseminate these best practice ideas across the industry. If this is something that you are interested in (and why wouldn’t you be) and are willing to contribute, then do visit the SLF website and get in touch (sustainablelandscapefoundation.com).
Concurrent with our environmental issues, we also need to consider the future workforce in our industry. Are our trade bodies working hard enough together on sustainability (it has been said this is like herding cats!), and are they working with the colleges producing the new members of our industry? The flow from these colleges is insufficient to meet our skill shortages. The lack of staff is restricting the progress of many of our leading companies
As a trustee of the BALI Chalk Fund and supporter of GoLandscape, we are keen to support landscape training in the colleges and want to engage with them more fully. However, if current and up-to-date landscape practitioners don’t share their knowledge and experiences with these colleges, the output will be stuck to the past knowledge and training of their lecturers. Now that our pension pots can exceed a million, can we all take a back seat? No, we can’t. So, there is a job to be done of sharing what is good and successful via SLF and on to the students and our future.
So please act: sign up to the SLF, share your sustainable successes, join GoLandscape as an ambassador and knock on the doors of your local school and college to let them know what success your hard work has achieved.