Humans demand more from nature than what is able to be replenished: clean water, air fossil fuels, fertile land for agriculture, trees for lumber to build our lavish homes, paper, diversity of plants for medicine, animals to fill our hunger, and the list goes on. Due to our increased demand for resources, there has been a recent resurgence of interest among the world about the Earth’s condition. The elders are concerned about the world they are leaving for their grandchildren, and the young are concerned about the world that they will be inheriting. Going Green” is the popular phrase that has been sweeping the nation. It is associated with living a more eco friendly lifestyle. If is also used in the context of sustainability and responsibility. “Going Green” has evolved into a major lifestyle or policy change where the individual or company operates by the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), thus allowing for economic development while still conserving for future generations. The element I decided to focus on was Environmental Planning.
Phoenix’s goals are to: 1. Improve and protect the environment, manage and conserve resources, preserve open space, and manage growth to ensure healthy and vibrant neighborhoods (“Phoenix. gov”). 2. Study and explore options for using green building techniques and goals when designing and constructing city facilities (“Phoenix. gov”). 3. They want to ensure water availability, become more efficient by implementing more reclaimed water resources, and become more efficient with water conservation (“Phoenix. gov”). 4. Use more alternative modes of transportation to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
This would in turn decrease air pollution and reduce traffic congestion (“Phoenix. gov”). The current population of Phoenix is around 1. 5 million (U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs). The population has grown at such a high rate that it scares environmentalist. Phoenix should be concerned with long-term sustainability. This makes complete sense for Phoenix to be focusing on things like water, energy conservation, and air quality. After all we do live in a valley where the heat is plentiful, fresh air and water is scarce.
The first four goals are obtainable. However, I feel like the General plan of Phoenix is more optimistic than what reality allows for. They point out how they do not want to be dependent on ground water sources in page 3 and that they want to create larger water reservoirs. My main confusion how that solves the problem? I found a statistic stating that this river also feeds “two countries, seven states, and ten Indian tribes” (U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of international Information Programs).
Also an interesting fact is that 17,000 miles of the Greater Phoenix depends on water from the Colorado River that has been in a drought for the past decade (Ross, 2012). Seeing these statics, I do not understand how reservoirs are even an option, because the water is so limited already. Reducing emissions will be more difficult that described in the general plan. On page 2 they discuss the problem of the Brown Cloud in Arizona. “From 1990 to 2007, Arizona added fossil-fuel pollutants faster than any other state- the rate of increase was more than three times the national average” (Ross, 2012).
This came to be known as the Brown Cloud. However pessimistic I may be, there is a great chance to reach their goal. The Light Rail was a great step towards reducing gas emissions in the Valley. They are also attempting to implement something like a bike-hire for phoenix. In my opinion, this is a phenomenal idea. A plus that I have noticed is how Phoenix has integrated promoting suitability with public events to get the people involved and aware. Phoenix’s Waste Management program plays host to the largest golf tournament in the world; accounting for around 100,000 attending.
They use this tournament as a platform to teach people how, when, where and why to reduce, recycle, and reuse. Many individuals have realized that by going green they are able to save money in energy efficiency and land efficiency. It is because of these companies, the general plan will be able to take into effect. The public needs to be engaged. They need to understand what the city is trying to do and how it benefits them. It takes one person to light up a dark room, but it takes 1. 5 million of us to buy into this green movement.
Ross, A. (2012). Bird on fire: Lessons from the world’s least sustainable city. New York: http://grist. org/cities/phoenix-rising-can-the-worlds-least-sustainable-city-go-green/. U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs, (n,d,) Water usage and the colorado river. Retrieved from http://www. america. gov/water-usage. html “Environment Planning Element. ” Phoenix. gov. City of Phoenix. Web. 5 Dec 2012. <http://phoenix. gov/webcms/groups/internet/@inter/@dept/@dsd/documents/web_cont nt/pdd_pz_pdf_00166. pdf>.