YOUtopia offers tools, resources, and a pledge(pdf) so that public gardens can individually and collectively reduce their climate impact, and engage their visitors in climate solutions. YOUtopia will recognize the many gardens that already have sustainability efforts underway, empower them further, and enable new gardens to make climate and sustainability a priority.
The YOUtopia pledge is formidable yet flexible, allowing gardens a variety of ways to successfully realize impact reductions and share the results. There is no single best climate impact reduction tool for the variety of gardens across America. Gardens may adopt an applicable existing program or using commonly practiced measuring and reporting guidelines. Existing programs that compliment YOUtopia include the Sustainable Sites initiative, LEED EBOM (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design Existing Building Operations and Maintenance), and the Public Gardens Sustainability Index (coming 2013).
Gardens that are not yet ready to work within these existing programs can still achieve success with YOUtopia by starting with smaller steps. This reduction could come from a variety of measures including energy and/or water conservation, waste diversion and reduction, recycling, composting, local and organic food production and/or supply sourcing, sustainable planting designs, “green” building projects, and other sustainability measures.