American Society of Landscape Architects Lauds Fourth National Climate Assessment and Calls for Action to Promote Resilience in Built and Natural Environments

WASHINGTON: The following statement was issued by Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, SITES AP, executive vice president and CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects, in response to the release by the federal government of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

The U.S. government’s groundbreaking Fourth National Climate Assessment brings long-overdue clarity to the issue of climate change by laying out the costs of inaction in stark and unambiguous language. The overarching message of the report could not be clearer: act now to substantively address the factors contributing to climate change or face a future inevitably characterized by weather-related catastrophes, disruptions to agriculture, life-altering threats to coastal communities, a crisis in human health, and economic dysfunction in every region of the country.

Importantly, the report repeatedly calls for communities to not only undertake vigorous actions to reduce emissions and mitigate climate effects, but also to begin an urgent process to plan for resilience and make design and planning decisions “that can withstand ongoing and future climate risks.” That sentiment tracks precisely with the recommendations of ASLA’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Climate Change and Resilience, whose report, Smart Policies for a Changing Climate, stated that “We can create more resilient and climate-smart communities by designing and planning in concert with natural systems, by applying transit-oriented development and smart growth strategies, and by addressing environmental justice and equity issues.”

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