_finding center manifesto

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man·i·fes·to / manəˈfestō / - a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives, as one issued by a government, sovereign, or student chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

As development and urbanization transforms the physical landscape, it arguably transforms our mental landscape even more. This transformation results in an ever increasing disconnect from the environments we depend on. Out of sight out of mind has become a blessed state of ignorance that only increases as we continue to become even more plugged in. That is of course until Mother Nature offers us harsh reminders with extremes of climate change, extinctions, and natural disasters.  We offer ourselves equally blatant and often times equally ignored reminders as we face the consequences of social, economic, and environmental injustices.

It is in this mental landscape that green infrastructure is needed most.  A paradigm shift in the mental landscapes of our campus and communities that is not simply a systems upgrade, but rather a systems overhaul facilitating a complete reboot of our relationship with our environment and each other.  Design is a primary ingredient to a green future.  Everything around us is either design or de facto design (the design because there is no design).  This conference is an opportunity to engage in the design of ourselves and our future.

For designers at the forefront of green design, it is no longer a question of “becoming” but rather “being”.  A green designer is who they are.  They have found their center.  It is our hope that this conference will initiate a paradigm shift so that it is no longer a question of becoming green but being green and in doing so help us all find our center.

The series of keynote speakers and associated breakout sessions will allow new ideas to be accessible to all who attend.  The variety of speakers will appeal to other design fields, engineers, policy makers, scientists, developers, land owners, community members, and more.  The high profile speakers of “Finding Center” will also attract regional professionals and alumni as well as students and faculty, resulting in a ripple effect that will spread ideas beyond the walls of the conference hall.

As leaders and future leaders in their respective fields, students and professionals need to have an understanding of green design and the sustainability issues that they will inevitably meet.  It is our goal that the success of “Finding Center” will be an annual tradition of hosting a sustainability conference as a precursor to Earth Week at Oklahoma State University.  A tradition such as this will be a benefit for students, professionals, and the community at large for years to come.