Monday, May 22, 2017

Parks for All, All for Parks

Urban Ecology is an organization that works with communities in the Bay Area to establish more environmentally friendly and more socially equal urban design. A lot of environmental racism stems from inadequate and unequal distribution of parks and open spaces. The initiative focuses on removing that unequal distribution to make the Bay Area a better place for everyone; not just those who can afford it.

They had one project in Oakland that emphasized working with community members to get people to use underutlized parks. The people in these areas were characterized by poor health, such as asthma and obesity, and sedentary lives. Urban Ecology led many workshops and town meetings to work to get people to use three parks in the area. They wanted to create programs that would entice people to go out and be active, while improving their lives entirely. They set out to create better parks that people would actually use. To do so, they partnered with local organizations such as the East Bay Asian Youth Center. Together they went to work on improving school yards and other playgrounds in the area.

Another interesting project that they worked on was redesigning BART stations in the Mission District. These BART stations were very uninviting and unsafe, making very few people want to get off at these stops. Urban Ecology worked with local businesses and the community to come up with designs that would improve business and improve the safety of the community. This paired with other revitilization projects in the area have contributed to a rebranding of the district as a whole. The community is more vibrant and welcoming and has increased the productivity of business.

Urban Ecology has definitely taken the people and the environment into account during its projects. These projects are helping to make lives better for everyone in the Bay Area and it is great to see that!

Monday, May 8, 2017

CCL striking a chord

Before today, I had not heard of CCL. At first, I thought we were going to be visited by CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and that would have seriously rocked. But, I'm sure CCL will also manage to strike a chord with us global sustainability kids.

The main policy objectives that CCL addresses are regarding their Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy. This policy is pretty cool. According to their website, CCL claims that it will reduce carbon emissions to 50% of the levels in 1990 and add 2.8 million jobs in the next twenty years. This sounds awesome, but how will they achieve that?

The first part of the plan is to impose a Carbon Fee. The carbon fee would be minimal to start, roughly $15 per ton CO2 equivalent. Each year the fee will go up by atleast $10 per ton, depending on how well they met the goal in the previous year. This kind of incremental building will influence the fossil fuel industry and companies that rely on fossil fuels to run their systems to decrease their dependence. Decreasing the dependence will save them money in the long run and decrease the amount of emissions being released. This will help to foster more support of renewable energy systems, which produce much less or no carbon emissions.

The second part of the plan is to pay dividends to households from the the Carbon Trust. Paying households will allow for lower income families from being left behind with the increases in energy costs due to renewable energies and higher priced fossil fuels. It is interesting to see this sort of social safety net to help foster the decrease in fossil fuel dependency. Rather than just focusing on the environment, which is typically a problem with environmental policy, this idea combines environmentalism with sociocentric ideas that help to alleviate poverty and progress society as a whole.

This plan is pretty interesting as a whole. It will be interesting if they can actually get bipartisan support on these ideas because even though it is economically ideal, it is still not an idea that I feel many republicans will support.

My question for the CCL would be how long they think it will take to get enough bipartisan support to actually make this plan a reality.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Is it God? No, it's David Suzuki

DAVID SUZUKI IS SO COOL.

It had to be said. Not only does David Suzuki denounce Trump and all of this anti-science sentiment, he is also a man with great metaphors and phrases. David Suzuki is the first man I have ever listened to and truly respected every word that he had to say. David feels like one of my best pals and I haven't even met him yet. He speaks so wonderfully and has a lot of logic in reasoning in his arguments, which sadly is a breath of fresh air.

In the video I watch, David Suzuki was confronting the Australia media on how climate change does not stop when the rain comes. Australia's climate is conducive to drought and is not very well suited for an extensive human population. During the last drought, they built desalination plants to provide fresh water to the people so that they could endure the drought. The drought ended with immense amounts of rain, which led people to believe that climate change was no longer an issue and that they had wasted all of their money on these desalination plants that will never be used again. But Australia's climate has historically shown periods of droughts followed by periods of wet years, so it doesn't make sense to believe that they will never have a drought again and will never use their desalination plants again. David Suzuki was asked by the news station if he thought that climate change was rubbish since there was rain. OF COURSE DAVID SUZUKI STILL BELIEVES THAT CLIMATE CHANGE IS A BIG DEAL!!!! He goes on to talk about how Australia should be at the forefront of combatting climate change since its one of the places in the world that will be the hardest hit by the implications of increased temperatures and ocean acidification. David relates his experience diving in the Great Barrier Reef in the 80's to the present and he says there is a significant difference. This difference should be enough to convince anyone that things are changing within our climate systems.

David Suzuki draws out that the government in Australia was hands-off which should have fostered a more scientifically driven political scene, however, it led to the opposite where they barely believe anymore. David believes it is the job of the political system to inform people of the claims that science is offering - which 97% of science agrees that climate change is the real deal. Without arguing and defeating the media, David made his point that the spread of information is key to inciting a more environmentally aware world where we work with nature instead of against it. David's most persuasive point was when he said "What will we have to rely on, the  Bible, Quran, or the corporations?" which he said to point out that science is the only objective and logical way to approach these ideas. I don't think that he was trying to denounce religion in this point, but science needs to be spread like these ideas. Without the spread of science, people are going to believe that one instance of rainfall ends droughts forever. We need more Davids in this world!

POLITICS AND SUSTAINABILITY: Dr.David Suzuki 'Are We Going to Rely on the Bible, the Qu'ran or Corporations'? (YOUTUBE)