Source: 
American Public Gardens Association

Public gardens pledge to reduce climate change impact and engage visitors on solutions

Scottsdale, AZ: A landmark leadership initiative has been launched that adds public gardens to the growing list of sectors leading on climate change solutions. Through YOUtopia, launched today at the annual conference of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), public garden leaders pledge to reduce their climate change impact and engage their visitors in climate change solutions. This first cohort of 26 leaders have pledged to reduce their climate impacts by and engaging their visitors in climate impacts and sustainability solutions through garden education and outreach.

Created in partnership with ecoAmerica, YOUtopia will be rolled out throughout 2013 to all 500 APGA public gardens who enjoy over 80 million annual visitors. 

With YOUtopia, public gardens will engage their visitors on climate change impacts, which pose existential threats to the flora and fauna they showcase and protect.  YOUtopia empowers gardens with positive visitor education and communications that allow Americans to “see with their own eyes” the impacts of climate change, and the many things that are being done to prepare for and prevent it. YOUtopia inspires visitors by communicating current solutions for climate change globally, regionally, and locally, including includes steps visitors can take in their own lives to be part of the solution.

To show leadership by example, public gardens are making commitments to reduce their own climate impacts. These actions (such as energy efficiency, green power, local food in cafes, composting) will be shared nationally through YOUtopia. Casey Sclar, APGA executive director said, “This institutional commitment will add public gardens to the other formidable sectors collectively implementing climate impact reductions, on par in scope with efforts such as The U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement and The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.”

“YOUtopia furthers public gardens’ goals of positive change, leadership, public engagement, and empowerment on climate change,” said Paul Redman, Chair APGA Board of Directors and Director of Longwood Gardens.  He continued, “by bringing the facts of climate change to life in our gardens while focusing on relevant, positive solutions, our staff, educators, visitors, and communities can understand how their personal and civic behaviors can have positive impacts while helping to prepare for and help prevent further change.”

YOUtopia has the potential to be a significant influential force in engaging Americans to prepare for and help prevent further climate change.