Green space? Who needs green space?

In class we have discussed Lester Brown’s book Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.  In it, Brown discusses ways that we can help make the planet more livable and sustainable – from building better cities, to growing more food and dealing with climate change.  In my time at FGCU, I have taken a class called Environmental Chemistry, where we discussed many of the issues that are covered in the book.  I am aware that we are doing critical, detrimental damage to our earth as a result of all of the complete urbanization movement we are currently experiencing.  We are cutting down the rainforest, damaging the Everglades, and tearing up the face of our planet all in the name of “progress.” Don’t even get me going on the mountain top removing that’s happening in my home state of Kentucky.  The things that we are doing are mostly permanent and irreparable, but we don’t seem to care.

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When you don’t have space for a garden….you improvise!

Humans have a problem with plowing down rainforests for any reason we can find.  We do rely on paper a lot, so i think being able to recycle more and use cloth products would be very helpful.  I assume that if we are no longer using paper products, we should be able to stop cutting down the rainforests and allow the trees to recover around the world.  Especially in Fort Myers right now there is a lot of construction and building going on, with them leveling more and more trees to make space.  What’s funny to me is that once they have torn everything down they then go back and try to add a manmade lake and trees to make everything “pretty.” Why didn’t they just leave those trees and build around them? It makes no sense to me.  It’s like we make no connection between livability and green space.  We can’t keep trying to urbanize everything, building more and more buildings with more and more resources, and just hoping that the world will be a better place.  We have to try to restore some of the damage we’ve done, as well as build green space into the cities we’re building.

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One of London’s many parks

In addition to having more green space, Brown asserts that we need to make more public transportation available to the population of a city.  I learned that there are certain cities around the world where the driver of a car has to pay a fee to drive into the city center, and I think this is a brilliant idea.  I’ve been all over Europe and the people in those countries seem to be in better health overall than Americans.  Whereas we drive everywhere, people in Europe ride bikes or take the bus or trains – American needs more transportation like this.  I think that if we make people understand how their cars are affecting the environment, especially in Southwest Florida, they will be more apt to develop a lifestyle that doesn’t involve sitting in the car all the time.  The extra carbon dioxide is causing global warming and additional problems in the atmosphere.  We are also causing the ocean to be more acidic – which directly affects this area specifically.

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The Tube Map in London….one of the most confusing and efficient ways to get around the city

Brown’s use of Masdar City as an example of a green, sustainable city is a great representation to the reader of what needs to be done in order to have cities like this in the future.  Masdar City relies heavily on solar power, is continuously recycling its water, and uses “a rail-based, electrically powered, computer-controlled network or individual passenger vehicles” which replace any need for fossil fuel.  I believe that in order for a city to be sustainable, it needs to be reliant on alternative forms of energy – such as solar and wind – for power, it needs to recycle all its waste, and it needs to have forms of transportation that don’t involve cars.  The cities that we have now don’t have these components and, thus, they aren’t as sustainable as they could be.  Sure, some cities have some of these components, but there aren’t many that have all the key ingredients.  If we could have more cities with these components and more cities that are planned based on these components, I feel that the earth as a whole would be better.

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If we want our water to continue being this blue, we must do something. Now.

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