Environmental Science 100
Warner Pacific College
June 28, 2011
Today’s human population is larger than at any time in the past. Our growing population and consumption habits affect the environment and our ability to meet the needs of the entire world’s people. Almost ninety percent of the children born today are likely to live their lives in conditions far less healthy and prosperous than most of us in the industrialized world accustomed to (Withgott & Brennen, p.220).
Human population cannot continue to rise. The question becomes how we stop it. Will it be through the gentle process of demographic transition, through governmental intervention such as China’s one-child policy or through the miserable Malthusian checks of disease and social conflict caused by overcrowding and competition for scarce resource (Withgott & Brennen, p. 220)?
Visions of our sustainable future often look like the stuff of sci-fi or comic books. I don’t know if that’s because of the often exotic locations, the large scale of the vision or the seductiveness of the computer-generated images. Nevertheless, while sci-fi and comic books remain fictional, these innovative projects are designed to be developed for real (Internet 1).
Today more than ever planners are recommending and being urged to recommend “sustainable” development practices. But what makes a development truly sustainable remains an open question, as there is uncertainty over what the sustainable community may look like as little as one generation into the future (Internet citing 2).
Sustainability is similar to the precepts of new urbanism and form-cased codes, or “smart codes,” that emphasize the public realm and connectivity. Urban planners have been perfecting these tools over the last 15 years (Internet citing 2). We need to employ the tools, especially when reworking suburbia into a form that involves an organic mix of uses such as home businesses and small shops, transforming malls into walkable downtowns, and forging links between single-family neighborhoods and these new downtowns.
The text states that a related movement among architects, planners and developers are moving toward “New urbanism”. This approach seeks to design neighborhoods on a walkable scale, with homes, schools, businesses and other amenities all close together for convenience (Withgott & Brennen, p.357). The aim is to create functional neighborhoods in which most families needs can be met close to home without the use of a car. This will also cut back on the amounts of pollution being released into the air (p.357).
This sustainable village will have a fine have a fine-grained, organic mix of uses, extensive open space and greenways and community food systems. There will be a lot fewer motor vehicles and more people (internet citing 2).
Buildings should be carbon-neutral, meaning they only use as much energy as they can generate through nonpolluting means. Locating buildings to take advantage of passive solar light and heat, and installing heating or photovoltaic systems and even vegetated rooftops are concepts we know how to implement (Internet citing 2).
Industrial agriculture has allowed food production to keep pace with our growing population, but it involves many adverse environmental and social impacts. Impacts range from degradation of soils to reliance on fossil fuels to problems arising from pesticides use, genetic modification and intensive feedlot and agriculture operations (Withgott & Bennen, p. 271).
Sustainable agriculture is agriculture that does not deplete soils faster than they form. It is farming and ranching that does not reduce the amount of healthy soil, clean water and genetic diversity essential to long-term crop production and livestock production (Withgott & Bennen, p.271). One way of making agriculture sustainable is reducing the fossil fuel-intensive inputs we invest in it and decreasing the pollution, these inputs cause (p.271). These neighborhoods transportation will be close public transit systems.
Sustainability demands a further challenge – that we stabilize our population size in time to avoid destroying the natural systems that support our economies and societies (Wittgott & Brennen, p.220).
In closing, I would like to say that I plan to use the information learned in this class to teach the children the importance of recycling, reusing, conservation and preservation of our planet and natural resources. I think it is important that we start preparing our children as soon as they can talk, so they understand the importance sustainability. I already teach my two and three year-year olds how to not be wasteful by taking only what they need, cleaning up the outdoors and ridding it of things that will go into the landfills or in up in our planets waters. We plant our own garden and compost discarded fruits and veggies. We also talk to parents about what they can do in their homes and communities to further address these issues. Lastly, we teach them it is best to walk or use mass transit whenever possible.
Does our sustainable future look like this? Internet citing 1. http://www.building4change/pame.jso?id=335.
Shigley, P. (2011). What a sustainable community looks like in the future? Internet citing 2.
Wittgott, J. , & Brennan, S. (2010, pp. 220, 357 , 271). Environment: The Science Behind the
Stories (4th ed.). New York. Pearson Benjamin Cummings. ISBN 13: 978-0-3210-715334--0