Blog Post 8

In the fall of 2016 I attended the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s Climate Forward Bay Area Leadership Forum. The keynote speaker Van Jones spoke on eloquently on Equity and how to best address it as policy makers. He highlighted that people avoid truly addressing equity- real answers and real tangible change. True genius is in other people’s experiences and seeing past your own blind spot. In his speech he mentioned the importance of actual pay off through all the “political nonsense” he referenced the Greenling Institute which directs money from the cap-and-trade programs to communities most in need of economic investment, good jobs, and clean air (SB353). There we see a win-win situation between environment and people.

 

A program I would propose in order to promote environmental equity would involve community engagement throughout the process. The program would involve prioritizing to replace polluted manufacturing centers and factories with clean energy (solar, wind, etc.). Because this population is disproportionately effected by pollution it is critical to address this issues. These new clean energy centers would be a hub for new jobs for these populations that have been disappearing due to autonomization and deindustrialization. This program would accomplish jobs stimulation and reducing greenhouse gases in employee’s own communities and beyond. This policy would require funds in place as well as public and private partnerships.

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Blog Post 7

Urban Recreation

According to Professor Stein, some characteristics of Urban Recreation include:

  • Need to preserve
  • Significant personal effort
  • Communication
  • Self-actualization

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My passion for hiking links urban recreation to grater urban ecology. I enjoy taking hikes in Tilden Park, which instills a need to preserve the natural area I hike in. I put in significant personal effort to ensure I live in a more sustainable way especially when in the park and utilize communication and self-actualization to meet other likeminded people to hike with or attend nature events with.

I actually find Professors Stein’s emphasis on leisure and recreation contradictory to her Plants and Wildlife lecture. For example, children typically enjoy grassy areas to run and play sports, yet Professor Stein calls for wasteful lawns to be replaced with drought tolerant plants or “more useful orchards”. I think this stark contradiction fails to understand the complexities and interdependencies of the three types of sustainability: ecological, economical, and equitable (social). When looking at the NY Plan to increase parks, they are not necessarily only focusing on ecological sustainability, but how to increase opportunities and infrastructure for the at risk populations. For example, Initiative 5 in the plaNY calls for creating and upgrading flagship parks. “With additional investment, these parks could have the space and features to serve a large amount of people…rebuilding McCarren pool as both an outdoor Olympic-size pool and a year-round recreation center…indoor track and field facility”(38). I would suggest that recreation in urban areas should not simply focus on either people or ecology, bur rather how they best can exist together.

I would argue that urban recreation and urban ecology at times were presented as separate concepts but are obviously intertwined. The purposes of these two concepts are to show that providing opportunities for urban recreation allows for better urban ecological stewardship. It is critical for people to be educated on the importance of Urban Ecology and how their own recreation and hobbies are part of the process.

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Sources:

PlaNYC 2011- Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Environmental Design 4B Lecture 3/14/17 and 3/16/17

Blog Post 6

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A technology fromthe 19th century or earlier that cold help humanity respond to present-day environmental challenges would be a Yakhchāl. A Yakhchāl, as presented by Professor Stein is a Persian evaporative cooler designed in 400BCE. Despite the extremely hot a dry climate, this structure is oriented and designed to work as refrigeration system requiring no electricity.

This historically provides for human life by providing cooling properties for regions that are warm and are unable to store perishables and also provide cooling to structures. This can provide for humans in the present by serving as a natural and carbon free approach to cooling homes and buildings. This would be an example of mitigation to reduce consumptions of CO2 and reduce the contributions to climate change.

This integrates well with the larger ecosystem because it fits well in the urban landscape utilizing mud and water from aqueducts. It doesn’t require any artificial or toxic materials allowing it a small environmental footprint.

Potential issues with current levels of density and lack of craftsmanship would not allow for the Yakhchāl to be utilized. Additionally, our structures are probably much larger and have a larger cooling and chilling needs if this would feasible replace HVAC units. Lastly, this would only be able to thrive in few and limited climates and regions where such a structure could thrive which could be rapidly changing as a result of climate change. According to the Climate Vulnerability reading, mega cities are facing an increased rate of change and phenomena such as flooding and growth, which such a historical Bronze-Age technology might not be able to adapt to.

We can learn about materials, orientation, and techniques for evaporative cooling from the Yakhchāl, but current environmental changes may require something more dynamic and flexible.460px-20110102_Ice_House_(interior)_Meybod_Iran.jpg

 

Sources:

Environmental Design 4B Lecture 3/7/2017. Professor Stein

3. Climate Vulnerability  Reading by Andrew Schiller, Alex de Sherbinin, Wen-Hua Hsieh, Alex Pulsipher