Earth Day and cities
For 10+ years I've joked that my efforts on a variety of urban issues are a form of "built environmental justice."
The environmental justice movement more generally is about linking social justice and equity considerations to the placement/links between environmental hazards-problems and race and economic segregation. For example, chemical plants and noxious uses like trash transfer stations tend to be located in poorer communities where residents tend to be less organized.
2. Today is a good reminder to read David Owen's Green Metropolis, which makes the argument that because of its high transit use, low automobile-gasoline use, comparative low per capita generation of trash and efficient use of energy, New York City is one of the "greenest" places on the planet.
Park Pride Parks and Greenspace conference in Atlanta focused on cities and low impact development-water infrastructure. The conference was earlier in the month and many of the presentations are online.
4. I've been thinking about solid waste because DC is in the midst of doing a solid waste plan and there is a public meeting next week (April 30th) although there is a distinct lack of information on the website.
Years ago I wrote about Johannesburg and how they branded and organized their waste collection function as "Pikitup." See the 2005 blog entry, "Every Litter Bit Hurts."
For example, I was very much impressed with how DC Water's new program for compost generation will reduce "solid waste" generated for compost by 60% leading to a reduction in truck trips, plus how the process will generate 1/3 of the plant's elextricity. Pretty impressive ("DC Water adopts Norway's Cambi system for making power," Washington Post).
Then I saw an article about a cement plant using tires for fuel via a process that reduces waste and pollution simultaneously ("Old tires to roll on as fuel for Tijeras cement plant," Albuquerque Journal). A few times/week I ride past the concrete plant in Fort Totten and I am always thinking how they could systematically reduce truck trips if they would receive their raw materials by train. It could be a great way to get rid of old tires too.
5. We can't forget disaster planning and climate change given the earthquakes, tornadoes and other storms that regular cause havoc in cities around the world.
6. Nor urban agriculture, but I wrote about an element of that a few days ago. Next week, Environmental Action is sponsoring an online "Food Revolution Summit."
And the Edible Communities group, which publishes local food magazines in 80 different parts of the US (off and on Edible DC publishes, and will relaunch this summer, but the closest one that is actively publishing is Edible Blue Ridge) has their annual institute May 10th and 11th in New York City. The program lineup looks pretty amazing.