Stewardship and sustainability can only be realized if resources are used wisely, starting with the basic practices of conservation and recycling on an individual level. Government and industry,
at local, national and global levels, also have the responsibility to act in ways that serve the welfare of future generations.
The promotion of stewardship and sustainability requires education, both formal and informal. Not only do individuals have a responsibility to become informed, we need to convey knowledge to others. Combating the negative impact on the Earth will take a worldwide, multifaceted approach, but by planting a tree in a strategic location, driving fewer miles, or replacing business trips with conference calls, we can easily reduce our individual carbon "footprints."
The importance of having a high performance residential landscape like this one is now recognized by many agencies. For example, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden have jointly drafted a Sustainable Sites Initiative. This is an interdisciplinary effort to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable sites. They define "sustainability" as design, construction, operations, and maintenance practices that "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
The Initiative's central message is that any landscape, whether the site of a large subdivision, a shopping mall, a park, an abandoned rail yard, or a single home, holds the potential both to improve and to regenerate the natural benefits and services provided by ecosystems in their undeveloped state.
Our water-friendly garden was built and is maintained utilizing the Sustainable Sites Initiative's concepts. We want future generations to be able to enjoy this wonderful Earth. It is not difficult but does take commitment. The reward is a beautiful garden that benefits the community.