Ireland Landscape Architects Declare Climate & Biodiversity Emergency

The twin crises of climate heating and mass biodiversity loss are the most serious issues of our time. Infrastructure, buildings and construction play a major part, accounting for nearly 40% of energy related carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions but climate heating is only one of the drivers accelerating global biodiversity loss and dramatic rise in extinctions. Changes in land and sea use, exploitation of organisms, pollution, invasive alien species and erosion of precious soils compound the crisis.

While we have seen major improvements to practice over the last 20 years, meeting the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries will demand a paradigm shift. Together with our clients and collaborating consultants, we will need to commission, plan and design landscapes, cities, infrastructures and buildings as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system in balance with the natural world.

As we increasingly become urban dwellers, investment in city development must also consider wider global landscapes and ecosystems as fundamentally interrelated parts of the city. Nature based solutions will form the basis of our response.

The research and technology exist for us to begin that transformation now, but what has been lacking is collective will. Recognising this, we are committing to strengthen our working practices to create landscape architecture and urbanism outcomes that have a more positive impact on the world around us and which conserve and enhance the natural and built environment.

We commit to:

1. Dramatically reduce operational and embodied carbon emissions, while increasing biogenic carbon sequestration.
2. Design green infrastructure that reduces the risks associated with fire, drought, and flood.
3. Accelerate city afforestation to sequester carbon, bolster biodiversity and protect cities from extreme heat.
4. Foster resilient communities better prepared for a changing climate.
5. Use Nature Based Solutions that protect and repair ecosystems; Advocate for clean and multi‐modal transport systems.
6. Establish climate change and biodiversity loss mitigation principles as a key measure of our industry’s success: demonstrated through awards, prizes and listings.
7. Evaluate all new projects against the aspiration to contribute positively to mitigating climate change and bio-diversity loss.
8. Accelerate the shift to low embodied carbon materials in all our work.
9. Minimise wasteful use of resources in landscape architecture, both in quantum and in detail. 10. Advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
11. To meet the needs of our society without breaching the earth’s ecological boundaries.
12. We will design landscapes, cities and infrastructures as indivisible components of a larger, constantly regenerating and self-sustaining system.

Founding signatories:

Kevin Fitzpatrick Landscape Architecture, Niall Montgomery + Partners, Bernard Seymour Landscape Architects, Roisin Byrne Landscape Architecture, AECOM Ireland Ltd, Ove Arup & Partners Ireland Limited and JBA Consulting Engineers and Scientists Limited

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AECOM Ireland Ltd Bernard Seymour Landscape Architects JBA Consulting Engineers & Scientists Limited Kevin Fitzpatrick Landscape Architecture Niall Montgomery + Partners Ove Arup & Partners Ireland Limited Roisin Byrne, Nature-Based Landscape Architecture
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