Actually, my new city, Salt Lake City, feels a lot greener than my old city, Dallas (but it’s always my first home). The population in SLC is edgy, kind of like Portland and Austin, but there’s also a substantial conservative undercurrent. I’ve found that the conservatives (myself included) really care about the environment as much as the liberals, and that issues relating to the environment are fairly bipartisan. Here are a few tidbits about Utah and SLC that I know about right now:
- Utah Governor Huntsman joined the Governator and five other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Huntsman signed the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative.
- Salt Lake City and Mayor Rocky Anderson approved a LEED ordinance to promote green construction for projects funded by city money.
- Many of the area’s leaders came together and agreed that building green is the direction Salt Lake City and Utah is going to take.
- A 38-acre Park City Community called Newpark received LEED-ND pre-certification.
- Speaking of Park City, the Sundance Channel and Robert Redford are really going in the green direction also.
- The Utah Department of Transportation, in conjunction with research performed at Utah State University, has devised a plan to grow biodiesel crops on the freeways.
- The City Council is working on a way to invest money into greening its zoo, arts, and parks projects.
- A major Salt Lake City law firm, Holland & Hart LLP, announced the opening of its new Climate Change Practice Group.
- The University of Utah Sustainability Practicum and several students came together to design eco-friendly features for a new building scheduled to open in 2009.
Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg in Salt Lake City. There’s a lot of good green things going on and I’m excited to be here.
$5B Clinton, Eco-Yahoo!, Health-Care Constuction, Nevada Ungreens, Porous Paving, Ed Begley Jr.'s Green Website, & Green Building Studio (WIR)
- Clinton Climate Initiative Offers $5B to Green Municipal Buildings at Cities Nationwide.
- Yahoo! Issues ‘Greenest City in America‘ Challenge with Reward of Hybrid Taxi Fleet.
- $41B Health-care Construction Industry Going Green to Save Energy, Cut Infection Rates.
- Nevada State Board Hopes to Change (Remove) Green Building Standard, Mislead About LEED.
- Porous Paving Grows in Popularity as a Stormwater Management Solution.
- Ed Begley, Jr. Launches a Truly Unique Sustainable Living Website at FixingThePlanet.com.
- Green Building Studio being dubbed A Google for Green Building Products.
- Commentary on Why Green Buildings Cannot Save the Planet.
Foster + Partners has created a master plan for a massive and bold 6 million square meter sustainable development near Abu Dhabi called Masdar. Driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar will be a zero carbon, zero waste community, one that will be entirely car free.
- USGBC Now Allows Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Points under LEED Innovation in Design Category.
- Britain Assesses the Pros and Cons of Green Homes.
- Baltimore is One Step Closer to Becoming Next City to Require Developers to Incorporate Green Building Standards into Projects.
- New Exelon HQs Becomes Largest Office Space in the World to be LEED-CI Certified at the Platinum Level.
At some point over the past year, the American population surpassed 300 million, and if we continue as expected, we’re going to have another 92 million people over the next 34 years. That’s a lot of people and they’ll need places to live. Over that period of time, it’s real important that we get planning right. The problem is, however, planning decisions are made by thousands of different people with thousands of conflicting interests. The gist, though, is that sprawl isn’t green. Here are ten good reasons to back that up.
- Sprawl development contributes to a loss of support for public facilities and public amenities.
- Sprawl undermines effective maintenance of existing infrastructure.
- Sprawl increases societal costs for transportation.
- Sprawl consumes more resources than other development patterns.
- Sprawl separates urban poor people from jobs.
- Sprawl imposes a tax on time.
- Sprawl degrades water and air quality.
- Sprawl results in the permanent alteration and destruction of habitats.
- Sprawl creates difficulty in maintaining community.
- Sprawl offers the promise of choice while only delivering more of the same.
I’m a child of sprawl. I’ve seen the effects of it. I’ve personally experienced #3, #4, #6, #9, and #10. Every smart person in this country needs to realize the effect of various policy and regulatory decisions and find a way to dig out of the mess we’re in. If not, sprawl will continue to hamper us more and more in the future.
Is there a silver bullet to fixing the problem? That’s tough. There is a temporary solution for some people: live near your work, church, and family. It will make your life more abundant when the places you go are close. Just find a way to live near the places you frequently go.
This list was created by James M. McElfish, Jr., Director, Sustainable Use of Land Program, Environmental Law Institute.