Co-scripting landscapes with nature, a possible message of the IPBES report for Landscape Architects.
“Nature is a slow author; humans kill with vicious efficiency”, states Brian Resnick** analysing the report.
The report and the follow up analysis by experts and citizens corroborates what we all know and are becoming more aware of that this era is responsible for the disappearance, irreversible erasure possibly of a million species. The scale, numbers quantification are just beyond alarming. They are simply catastrophic.
As the world erases and the planet plummets into a series of crisis, the profession of landscape architecture may bring one possible ray of hope.
As professionals who work with design schemes on ground, we have the tools, the means and probably the uniqueness of scripting landscapes. As large swathes of nature are erased we can make small yet determined efforts to revive these in our work. In every project we undertake we design a new landscape or reiterate some of the features of an existing landscape moulding what exists, enhancing it aesthetically, protecting its cultural and ecological history. So here is where we have a choice….a choice to co-script a landscape that enhances the hand of nature.
- Design, keeping local natural context paramount in every project
- Consult with ecologists, highly qualified professions and academics, barefoot botanists, students of the field, whoever we can meet, speak to, work with to cross pollinate ideas and collaborate on efforts
- Read up and take free/paid/online web courses on ecology, invasive species, designing with nature
- Invest some time to be part of nature walk initiatives in our neighbourhood and/or in the neighbourhood where our project is located
- Scale up our work/thinking by becoming part of professional/ amateur organisations with landscape professionals, ecologists. Or simply nature lovers.
- We think, eat, and breathe nature. We need to just translate this into our creations!
If the IPBES report brings home a message to the Landscape Architects it is that we can be the local magicians to bring back the lost species in our world, we can play the role of urban doctors who can save our cities from the impending pollution disaster. We can be the karmic creators who can sow without the intent of harvest and do our bit to turn this world away from the brink of disaster.
***School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi.