Editor's Note

Stephanie Stroud 

I can’t recall how many times I've seen a picture of a kingfisher, or a grizzly bear, or a magnificent photo of a prowling lion only to glance at the caption beneath it to find that it is being hunted to the brink of extinction, its habitat practically destroyed. You almost feel guilty for looking at the photo and marveling at its beauty, knowing that it does not represent the horrific living conditions for the species of this animal described in the caption. Don’t know what I mean? Check out National Geographic on Instagram, and have your world shattered. After looking at a photo, you can almost feel your brain shaking off the knowledge from the information it just absorbed, in an attempt to make everything feel OK again.

My generation was raised with constant reminders that our world is rapidly slipping away. It is what encouraged many of us to seek career paths into professions such as landscape architecture. It is tremendously hard to ignore what is going on around us, and the awareness that environmental organizations bring us is undoubtedly crucial for us to understand the dwindling health of our environment. However, I think landscape architects have a unique opportunity to change the message.

What many environmentalists offer is the harsh and sometimes very hard-to-swallow reality of what is happening to our world. What we can offer as landscape architects is hope. We can offer solutions. We can offer the public a vision of what can be.

I think sometimes we forget, since we are creative visionaries, how difficult it can be to look beyond the destruction and the gloom and doom. I think many people eventually shut down and unintentionally begin ignoring what is happening around us because it is easier to block out the fact that bees are disappearing and our food sources croaking then to think about it all the time. But we can change people’s mindsets. We can begin a revolution into a new way of thinking, and therefore a new way of understanding and taking action. We just need to reach out and share what we know.

I urge each of you to share your visions with those around you, especially those that may not be familiar with environmental solutions. You have the power to change minds.

-Stephanie Stroud


Return to the November 2014 Newsletter