Updates from ASLA

ASLA Launches Guide to Climate Change Mitigation

ASLA 2017 Professional General Design Honor Award. SteelStacks Arts + Cultural Campus, Bethelhem, Pennsylvania / Christenson Photography

ASLA recently launched a guide to climate change mitigation. The guide complements Smart Policies for a Changing Climate, the report and recommendations of the ASLA Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience.

From devastating wildfires to historic storms and rising seas, the effects are already being felt and will continue to get worse. According to NASA, sea levels could rise anywhere from 8 inches to 6 feet 6 inches by 2100. Additional effects include increased spread of diseases; extensive species extinction; mass human, animal, and plant migrations; and resource wars over dwindling food and water supplies. Furthermore, these impacts will disproportionately affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

Sustained, meaningful commitments and actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from all sectors of our economy can help avoid the worst of these negative effects. We will measure the benefits of these actions in lives saved and communities spared.

In 2015, the international community gathered in Paris and agreed to a landmark cooperative framework for limiting global temperature rise to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In order to meet this goal, GHG emissions will need to peak by 2020 and fall to zero by 2050. This is an immense goal, but also achievable.

Landscape architects are helping to shift us to a carbon neutral future. Landscape architects plan and design dense, walkable communities that reduce emissions from transportation and sprawl. They make the built environment more energy and carbon efficient with strategies like green roofs, water-efficient design, and use of sustainable materials and construction practices. They defend and expand carbon-sequestering landscapes such as forests, wetlands, and grasslands, helping to drawdown atmospheric carbon dioxide. All of these efforts also enable communities to better adapt to climate change and improve their resilience.

The threats posed by climate change are enormous, and there is no singular strategy to solve the crisis on its own. Instead, mitigation requires an all-hands-on-deck approach as we seek to reduce GHG emissions wherever possible. Achieving a carbon neutral future will only come about through the cumulative effect of countless individual actions.

Explore the new ASLA guide to climate change mitigation. Its sections include: regions, cities, materials and construction, green infrastructure, and natural systems.


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