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Bank of Canada Head Office Renewal, DTAH

Editorial Board Message: A message from Eric Klaver, Chair, Ground Editorial Board

Our current environmental crisis is perhaps best defined in terms of the opposing sides of the same coin: consumption and waste. This issue of Ground focuses on consumption, but lurking in the background is the spectre of what happens when the bills for our consumption come due.

Even though Canada is a small nation, our consumption of resources has led to our having one of the largest per capita carbon footprints in the world. Agriculture and energy are Canada’s largest industries, and most of our pollution is connected to them. I have often thought that our poor treatment of our collective natural heritage is based on the fallacy that we have both a bottomless supply of resources and the ability to hide our environmental sins far away from notice. Industrial agriculture is energy intensive and fossil fuel-based, and is responsible for almost all of the nutrient-loading of the Great Lakes. Nevertheless, our impacts are evident if we pay attention. One of the most beautiful and photographed features in Ontario, the Cheltenham Badlands, is the result of the poor treatment of the environment. Shannon Baker’s article in this issue underlines the irony that this incredible “natural” feature has been under threat once again from new environmental pressures.

This issue of Ground demonstrates the leadership role that landscape architects can take to ameliorate these problems. On one level, in our immediate control, our choices of materials and methods can help reduce our carbon output and waste. On another level, something mentioned in Eric Gordon’s conversation with Joe Nasr and June Kosimar struck me as critical if we, as professional stewards of the environment, wish to facilitate change: one of the benefits of connecting people to their environment, in this case through the practice of urban agriculture, is that it contributes to building community. Our ability to create and, more importantly, maintain sustainable cities, towns, and industries lies in our ability to overcome divisiveness and instead facilitate strengthened communities. Sustainability is ultimately about reconnecting people to the environment, and the resiliency of our sustainable practices and environments is ultimately about the strength of those communal ties.

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