McGill Convocation Address Continued . . .
Most recently a scientific micro-climatic analysis in New York City enabled us to design a sustainable ground-floor courtyard at the new New York Times Headquarters Building, reflecting the impact of the local environment of sun, snow and wind.
Thus Landscape Architecture as a profession, attempts to mediate between human needs and available resources and aesthetic ambitions. It tries to resolve the rapidly increasing conflict between our desire to be near nature while depending on a fixed amount of
land. Today Landscape Architects attempt to practice invisible mending of the torn environmental fabric holistically.
Landscape Architecture as a profession faces ethical responsibilities, social consequences, and immense environmental opportunities. It must be taught in an inter-disciplinary fashion within a multi-disciplinary structure: collaboration between relevant professions
must be the cornerstone of any curriculum.
At McGill we have the opportunity today to expand landscape education by bringing together the successful teaching of architecture, urban planning, and all aspects of engineering, by adding urban design in the context of land as the fundamental and
unique environmental resource. Then Landscape Architecture, its practice and research will flourish as a science and an art. Transforming land and its use is a noble and ancient tradition; after all it started with the Garden of Eden.
When I discussed my Convocation address with our 16-old granddaughter, she said “Omi, don’t talk only about doom and gloom, but give us hope by presenting us with some tools.” …which I call the new ‘three R’s’
1. RESPECT for each other and for nature and natural systems
2. RESPONSIBILITY for the Environment
3. RISK TAKING with innovation
And so I challenge the Class of 2008 to go forth with vision, imagination and motivation, in short VIM. To implement the goals of sustainability in light of climate change,
our challenges are:
- teach the next generation to become stewards of our land
- conserving arable land
- preserving and managing our precious water resources
- diversifying our energy consumption
- and learning to live with less
This will prompt Canada to continue to champion peace with social
justice, and assume global leadership amongst nations.
Congratulations to all who have worked so hard for their degrees, and
to their parents, Faculty and friends who have supported them in
more ways than we will ever know, including my partner for life,
Peter, and my family. As McGill’s most recent Alumnae, allow me to
joyfully invoke our motto:
- BY WORK ALL THINGS INCREASE AND GROW