I have recently been back to my native Lithuania, where I’ve attended the annual general meeting of the Lithuanian Association of Landscape Architects and received a commendation from the Ministry of Environment for one of Terra Firma’s projects submitted for the awards ceremony. This has been specifically commended for the good use of methodology in regenerating industrial landscape. I also had many discussions about the importance of the politics of green urbanism and the current economical situation’s influence on status of the landscape architecture. As always, I left these events with a head full of thoughts and the nagging feeling that a plan of action must be started. Admittedly, coming over from the every day landscape life of a western European country,Lithuaniawith its Baltic neighbours does seem like a country full of opportunities. However, this is contrary to the views of a lot of Lithuanian based colleagues I have spoken to.
Yes, today’s economical situation in Lithuania is suffering as much, if not more than elsewhere in Europe and at a glance it seems difficult to prioritise the importance of the landscape – quote obviously it is more important to have a food on the table and pay the heating bills (temperatures in Lithuania can drop to minus 20 in winter). Such thinking however cannot be the determining answer and with my modest experience of the life in the excesses of the western world it is obvious that plane materialism leads to mistakes, which are likely to cost more for our future generations to fix. Coincidentally, I happened to get hold of a periodical cultural magazine with an article which reminded me about E. F. Schumacher’s ideas and an alternative model of economics based on values of sustainability. This can be expressed perfectly through the ideas of green urbanism and Green Infrastructure. Yes, this is a big task and strong political thinking is essential.
I strongly believe, that although these are tough economic times at present and the future is uncertain, there are plenty of possibilities to shape our environment in the way for it to last and benefit the future generations. And again I am happy realising how fortunate position of landscape architects is. Let’s make most of it! It already is happening here, inUKand it is time for it to properly begin there, inLithuania.