Another project I’m working on is the LEAF standards. You’ve heard of LEED…now this exercise is to develop “Leadership in Ecological Applications and Functions,” where we really start to look at ecology and natural process and psychological functions in urban ecology as a part of the built environment and reward people for having an understanding of their particular site capacity to support biodiversity. What a concept! It’s called LEAF, and you don’t get a silver or gold or platinum award, you get an oak leaf, maple leaf, sycamore leaf and willow leaf award.
LEED is sometimes inadequate to really address particular species of rare plants or animals; so this would provide incentives for those kinds of developments within the built area. I keep throwing the idea out there and most people kind of look at me like I’m a little bit deranged; but that’s probably a good thing! I must be on the right track.
It’s time to get real. It’s too late to continue protesting and saying the word “saving.” That era is over. We need to be proactive and incorporate this in our design with a clear understanding that the population is going to nearly double in California in the next 40 years. That’s going to put pressure on the natural resources. And since we are going to do so much redevelopment and we’re going to create such a broad-based economic revival based on ecology, let’s celebrate it. I’m very optimistic!
*You’ll find Part II of this interview here.