If 2019 was the year of climate action, what does 2020 have in store?
There is no doubting last year’s seismic shift in public perception of our changing climate, when we woke up to the fact that ‘our house is on fire’. In the UK, levels of concern reached an all-time high with 85% of Britons saying that they were worried about global heating. Right now in Australia the realities are all too real and heartbreaking.
Credit for this shift is in large part due to climate activists around the world, none more so than Time magazine’s Person of the Year, 17-year-old Greta Thunberg. But as Thunberg recently tweeted, this is not really about any individual. Change will come from the power of the collective – every person and every organisation listening to the science, rethinking how they do things, and coming together to call on governments to take action. As Thunberg says: “We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow.”1
The challenge for 2020 is to build on this increase in public awareness. At LDA Design, we are starting the year by launching our climate statement – our commitment to each other and the world at large to keep climate breakdown front of mind.
Our mission – which we have held true to for 40 years – is to make great places and shape the world around us for the better. Fundamental to this is addressing the climate and nature crises, and working towards a more equitable and sustainable future. Our understanding of landscape and our expertise means we are well placed to champion new practices that will help to change policy and lead to more climate-conscious design.
As pioneers of green infrastructure planning and design in the UK, we are committed to pursuing a rigorous understanding of what needs to change. We see the potential for all new development – if it is truly creative and transformative – to achieve ‘net good’, including social value and biodiversity gain. We will be leading the growing call for this to become the new normal.
We want every decision we make to be a step on the way to a zero carbon future, and commit to making our own operations carbon neutral by 2025. Every key meeting we host – internal and external – will begin with a ‘climate moment’, so that the issues and the solutions (many of which can be found in nature) are at the fore of what we do and how we do it.
This year LDA Design is moving towards employee ownership, embedding systems and agreeing a Charter that celebrates the strength and responsibilities of the collective. In truth, it is a critical year for all of us, and not a moment can be wasted. We’re rolling up our sleeves and heading into the fray.
As the writer Alexis Wright, member of the Waayni nation, an indigenous people of Australia, urges in a powerful essay on the global environmental crisis: “We would do well to see the world as a sacred site that is holy, speak to our planet with kindness, and protect it as such.”2
LDA Design’s climate statement
As landscape architects, masterplanners and environmental planners, we take a holistic approach, which recognises the close links between climate, biodiversity decline, wellbeing, and social and economic inequality.
We will identify the opportunities in every project to adapt to and mitigate climate breakdown through reducing carbon emissions, enhancing biodiversity, conserving natural resources and promoting healthier and more equal communities.
We will invest in and support our people so that they are equipped to rise to the challenge of achieving ‘net positive’. We are committed to our own operations being carbon neutral by 2025.
We will be bold in advocating change within our work, taking our clients, co-consultants and suppliers with us as we champion new practices that transform policy and lead to more climate conscious design.