I’m pleased to announce that I am now a certified Chesapeake Bay Landscape Pro! The program involves a rigorous series of practicums (practica?) and testing, and emphasizes a dedication to sustainable landscape design.
So, what is sustainable landscape design, and why do you need it? Essentially, sustainable landscape design aims to provide not only beautiful landscapes, but also landscapes that serve the invisible lives that share those landscapes with us (and without whom we stand no chance of life on this planet). Sustainable landscapes feed soil, protect water and air, support the flora and fauna indigenous to the project site…and at the same time bring beauty, health, recreation, and solace to those people using the landscape. Win-win, right?
Of course, climate change being the juggernaut it is, deliberately setting out to not only maintain, but to actively improve the conditions in which we live is becoming more and more important. Let’s not kid ourselves: the very air and water are at stake, here. The combination of greed and a simple lack of education on what really matters – how what we do, the choices we make, affect everything around us – degrade everything we know and love every moment of every day.
All is not lost, however. Changes we began to make two decades or more ago have made our water safer, our air cleaner. It’s returned the bald eagle to a common sight along waterways. It’s reducing sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus in the water that runs off into the Chesapeake Bay, and increasing the numbers of native oysters in beds of native grasses replanted along the Bay’s shallow waters and the numbers of crabs and fish whose babies grow up in those grass beds. It’s bringing the Bay back to you, and me, and everyone around us.
We must not give up. We cannot simply shrug and say, Oh well, at least today is pretty. Our children and their children won’t be able to say the same if we don’t work to make our landscapes truly sustainable.
I, for one, have hope that we can slow this juggernaut. I think we can help all life adapt as inevitable change continues. If you want to talk about sustainability in design, or want to see what your personal landscape can do to help with the greater battle, give me a call. If you want to read up on the subject, allow me to direct you to Dr. Douglas Tallamy [Bringing Nature Home: How you can sustain wildlife with native plants], Larry Weaner [Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change], and Claudia West and Thomas Rainer [Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing plant communities for resilient landscapes].
Yes, it’s a pretty day. Let’s make sure tomorrow is, too.