When President Obama signed the American Recovery Act in February, he committed to a number of reform principles, including getting America’s energy independence back on track. There are real problems with energy today, involving our foreign dependence on it of course, but also, a major issue is this country’s overuse of the stuff. In many places, from homes to offices to entertainment destinations, electricity is the driving force behind many daily activities. Recovery.ca.gov says California will receive “$80 billion in benefit[s]” that will go to Health and Human Services, Education, and Energy, among other things. In order to make these dollars count, it is crucial for Californians to do their part by limiting consumption and promoting sustainability.
Related to the playground and parks world and sustainability, the American Society of Landscape Architects, ASLA, has teamed up with United States Botanical Garden and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to create the Sustainable Sites Initiative. This initiative will outline “voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices,” announces the initiative’s website. On that site, a 2008 draft of the initiative focuses on sustainability in ecosystems, dealing with health in terms of the environment, the economy, and society. Linking energy use to standards of sustainability, outdoor recreation can greatly reduce everyday expenditures. For example, a playground can last for a decade and a half. A park can last exponentially longer with the appropriate maintenance and upkeep.
Back to the Sustainable Sites Initiative, parks themselves can further conservation by using the practices outlines. They can work with the surrounding ecosystem during construction and use more eco friendly maintenance procedures. Also, using recyclable substances and reusing building materials will aid this cause. Parks and playgrounds will limit energy consumption and promote sustainable recreation, especially in the long term.