About the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force

In May, 2014, the CSLA Congress, held in Ottawa, focused on climates, adaptations and landscapes. The Congress delegates explored how landscape architects could be leaders in climate-conscious planning and design.

The ultimate objective of the Congress was to encourage landscape architects to integrate options to mitigate and/or to adapt to climate change within short and long-term planning recommendations, to encourage climate sensitive design and to initiate proactive leadership on climate change amongst the related planning and design professions of Canada. David Philips (inset photo by J. Landry), spoke to CSLA members about about how landscape architecture is poised to lead the climate change issue at the 2014 Congress. 

The CSLA Climate Change Adaptation Task Force is a group of eleven landscape architects from across the country, north to south, east to west.  Your colleagues are working hard to bring their national and local perspectives on our changing environment, to promote improved understanding of new science, and to facilitate the dissemination of emerging tools and lessons learned from shared experience.  We meet monthly by teleconference.  With limited resources but great enthusiasm, we have in the short year since the Task Force was formed created a working partnership with climate scientists at the University of Waterloo, conducted a survey of members views and needs, and are in the midst of advancing planning for collaborative efforts with other professions.  We are just entering into a collaborative partnership with the Canadian Institute of Planners. 

The Task Force has encouraged its members to speak from their own perspectives on their altering landscape, and the struggles to accommodate to change.  As a result, we got fabulous emails on how international experiences bring the troubles of the developing world to our doorstep, how rising seas could obliterate many of the historic and cultural landscapes that define us as a people, how sustainability of prairie landscape must be more than a continuing battle between the need for development and the need for tall grass.  We created this blog to make important the personal and professional stories of change as it is being experienced across the country.  We also intend it as an open forum to provide information on emerging knowledge and events critical to improving our understanding of changing conditions.  And we hope the blog will be used to teach each other about the tools that worked brilliantly and the ones that failed stupendously.  It truly is a brave new world out there, and by working together, we will ensure the future sustainability of Canadian environments and Canadian cultures.

Members of the Task Force:

Colleen Mercer Clarke, Chair (APALA)
Bev Windjack (BCSLA)
Hope Parnham (APALA) (CSLA Representative on the Canadian Institute of Planners' Climate Change Sub-Committee)
Cameron DeLong (NuALA)
Lisa Parker (BCSLA)
Stewart  McIntosh (OALA)
Miriam Mutton (OALA)
Nina Pulver (OALA)
Anne-Carole Beauregard (AAPQ)
Ryan Hennessey (CIP Representative)
Pierre Bouchard (AAPQ)
Devin Tepleski
Christene Stenhouse LeVatte (CNLA Representative)
Jim Thomas (MALA)

The Messages

  • The CSLA recognizes that climate change is causing fundamental impacts in ecosystems and communities.
  • Landscape architects are in a unique position of adapting our society and ecosystems to prepare for short and long term environmental change associated with changing weather and changing climates. 
  • Governments and businesses rely heavily on the advice of landscape architects on a wide range of environmental, resource management and land use planning decisions. It is therefore critical that the professionals who are making key decisions about our ecosystems and the evolution of our communities are fully informed on the most current climate science, increasing their ability to make accurate and timely recommendations to government and industry.
  • The CSLA recognizes that climate change imposes new and challenging responsibilities; however, the Society will take steps to enable and encourage their members to incorporate the best available climate-science into their professional decisions.