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Standing on this scorched land on a scalding summer day it is hard to imagine that this forbidding landscape could ever have been anything other than hostile, hammered by an unforgiving sun and devoid of life, shelter or refuge.

And yet, there was a time... there was a time when great rivers flowed across this land, when rain fell in abundance and trees grew, sustaining creatures now long dead. If we had been able to stand on this precise spot through time, we might have been able to see the extraordinary cycle of climates that have influenced this place and we would be amazed. Above all else, we would realize that we are part of a cycle, that change is inevitable and that this place will therefore not always be as it is now.

We live in an era when we are beginning to realise the influence man is having on his environment and yet we pay lip service to the warnings we are given, leaving the repairs to future generations. If anything is to arrest this decline in understanding, we must rely on education. Learning is the source and sustenance of our collective intellect and the passing of knowledge from generation to generation conditions our behaviour, our recognition of values and our understanding of the subtleties of the planet we inhabit.

When reading the terms of reference for the King Abdullah Gardens Project, our immediate response has been to see this extraordinary scheme as an opportunity to educate, to entice, to excite and to entertain, and whilst doing so, to pass on a message about who we are, where we have come from, where we may be going, and the choices that may still be available to us.