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Fifty of Shades of Green
Anthony Corso | Stratford Court

 

We are increasingly aware of the negative environmental impact cities are having in terms of their pollution of land, water and air, as well as their continuing destruction of the natural habitat. As a result, some cities are experiencing dramatic environmental devastation in terms of global warming, coastal flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes. Such catastrophes are magnified by their uncontrolled consumption of non-renewable energy, inadequate water supplies, poor waste disposal and a continuing reliance upon polluting, land-consumptive automobiles, as the sole means of transportation. Such factors represent a serious threat to the health of the environment and to the well-being of local inhabitants.

In an attempt to address these and other environmental issues a number of cities have committed themselves to “Green City Planning,” generally beginning with an analysis of the environment in terms of such categories as Energy, Environmental Health, Transportation, Urban Design, Urban Nature, Waste Reduction, and Water. The analysis, if followed by the establishment of goals and action steps supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will lead to “harmony and balance under which humans and nature can exist together in a productive relationship.

There is a great deal of variation among cities addressing “Green City Planning” or “sustainability.” In general, their goal is to achieve the smallest possible ecological footprint, allowing the lowest quantity of pollution possible, thus ensuring that the city’s contribution to climate change is minimal. All of them are making a laudable effort to educate the public. They recognize that Green City Planning and related implementation and action strategies require extensive participatory action and dialogue among government, community groups, businesses, academic institutions and other key players. Their experience has proven that successful Green City programs require the engagement and involvement of everyone who lives or works in the community.

Some California cities have taken a leadership role including the cities of Pasadena, Santa Monica and even our neighbor, Solana Beach with its “Clean and Green Citizens’ Committee. “Solana Beach is aggressively involved in determining Best Environmental Practices and replicating them in their own jurisdiction and determining specific action plans attuned to their own environments. Of interest, the City regularly publishes a list of some 30 or 40 actions and activities being taken to ensure the preservation and enhancement of the environment.

As for Del Mar—the City has a Sustainable Advisory Board and a stated vision:
“… to implement enduring development and living practices that meet the needs of the present while safeguarding and enhancing our future.” The City has had some notable achievements with a number of Sustainability Programs and is currently involved in developing and implementing others. Whether or not it is successful depends upon the willingness of local residents to be engaged in the effort and future programs. Forthcoming issues of the Sandpiper will explore in depth measures being taken towards becoming a “Sustainable Green City.”
And what remains to be accomplished.

Note: This is Part I of a two-part piece.

 

 

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