As the end of the year draws near I find myself in a typical reflective mode. Im thinking big picture about my year, my life, my work and the industry and world I am so eagerly engaged. A world that saw many in our golf turf industry turned upside down by a storm that thought it was in a NASCAR race and made a left hand turn.
Whether you believe that the climate is changing or not, you cannot escape the media blitz that inundates us with whys, wherefores and what ifs. The media blitz and the effects of the storms are causing us all to reflect on how we must adapt to a world that is in flux.
We are beginning to contemplate as humans what we will do as the climate changes, i.e., prohibit building on the coast, design stormwater management systems, etc. It seems we are moving away from discussing how to stem the tide of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources, and in general lowering our footprint on this Earth.
I believe the golf industry (not just the turf folks) but the entire industry has a unique opportunity to become completely sustainable. Ed Brockner, the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Golf Course Superintendents Association said in a meeting about golf and water quality, we should embrace the integrity of our game and call penalties on ourselves when it comes to environmental issues. I think he is right.
We should go one step further. We have large chunks of land that have water, wildlife, organic matter, green plants, productive soils, etc. We should view our courses as multi-functional landscapes that can produce food (large or small scale), produce energy (wind, hydro,solar,bio-fuel), help society deal with waste and also for stormwater management -- why cant a portion of a golf course serve as a bio-filtration system in urban areas to improve the quality of pre-used water?
Yes we must all adapt to the changing climate, but we should look forward to creative solutions not just to help golf be successful, but for golf to say, yes we are part of the problem, now we want to lead the way to a solution.