Thursday, August 8, 2019

#220 / Land Lines

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy publishes a quarterly magazine, Land Lines, which I receive in my mailbox. You can peruse the magazine online, too

In its most recent edition, a special issue celebrating the Institute's thirtieth anniversary, Land Lines devotes the entire magazine to a set of deliberations about what Ian McHarg's famous book, Design With Nature, might mean for us today. If you are not familiar with McHarg, this blog posting is an invitation to become acquainted. Be warned, however, McHarg is not given to sweet talk, as you can undoubtedly tell from the quotation above. 

In the latest edition of Land Lines, the "President's Message" is particularly straightforward in presenting what McHarg had to say about human "development." 

“Man is an epidemic, destroying the environment upon which [he] depends and threatening his own extinction.” 
ddressing a throng of 30,000 people in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park at the first Earth Day demonstration in 1970, landscape architect and author Ian McHarg minced no words. His was not a feel-good speech; in addition to the sobering assessment above, he also informed the crowd, “You’ve got no future.”

I guess we could all accept that judgment, and decide that we don't have any future (and then give up). 

Or, we could try to reorient our human activities and prove McHarg wrong. That is, as you can imagine, what Land Lines counsels. McHarg's book was titled, Design With Nature. The Lincoln Institute has put out its own book, and its title is the prescription it recommends:

I have to say I agree. Emphasis on the NOW! (That is the only time we've got).

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