After the 9 groups presented their presentations of the different chapters of “Geography of Hope” by Chris Turner, we are suppose to write a blog wrapping all of this fantastic information in to a summary of all the presentation. The presentation topics were energy, transportation, urban planning, green buildings, international development, smart design, making change, economics, and sustainable communities. Although, all these topics are different there was a lot of overlapping in the ideas presented towards sustainability. The main points that I will be touching on are power, housing, transportation, design, urban sustainability, and economics and how they are all related to sustainability.
In the book “Geography of Hope” by Chris Turner, each chapter heading refers to different ways to become more sustainability and goes over different aspects and environments and explains ways to improve on the living in these places or what to do if you are starting from scratch. I’m going to dive into these ideas and summarize them so that we get a better understanding of what we have to do to be more sustainable to make for a more efficient world. The next six topics are the main topics that we must focus on as a community, city, province, or even country to make a major impact today.
Power is a crucial part in the starting process of being more efficient. I never realized it till my power went out the other day how much humans now a day’s rely on power for everyday living. When our power went out for 2 days we felt like we couldn’t function properly, we had no internet, TV, microwave, or lights. It was awful, but it made me realize how bored or screwed the world would be without power. To help in conserving power we need to come up with alternative energy sources, a few of the alternate energy sources mentioned in the presentations were mainly solar panels and wind farms. These are great idea’s and are starting to get used more and more places which I hope is a step in the right direction.
Transportation is a huge part of society today; we need transportation of some sort to get from place to place in our everyday lives. With all the different ways to get around, it is hard to steer away for the fastest and easier way of getting around, the automobile, the automobile is a major contributor to green house gases and as we learnt in the presentations there are many other modes of transportation which are not harmful to the environment at all and are starting to be implemented and encouraged more. The use of buses, carpooling, biking, and walking are starting to be used more by everyday people. The galloping goose trail is a good example of how different ways of transportation are being encouraged. A case study that our group presented was on a building in Sidney B.C. that was LEED certified. The way that this business encouraged more environmentally friendly modes of transportation are that they had a parking lot for the employees with only 15 parking stalls for 65 employees. This encourages car pooling or taking other ways of transportation. They also supplied a car that run strictly on electricity to people that need a vehicle, the business is also on a main bus route, which encourages bus transportation.
Housing/Design – when starting with the design of a new building or house it is important to try to make a building or community that provides its own energy and wastewater treatment plant. A local example that was shown in the presentations was Dockside Green, this is a new community of condos that is pretty well self sufficient. Dockside green creates its own energy and has their own water treatment plant. Each of the units is equip with monitors that tell the tenant exactly how much energy or water they are consuming at any point in time. Dock side green is platinum LEED certified and always striving to get better. The use of “Green Roofs” was also mentioned a number of times, green roofs are roofs that have vegetation growing on them to help in the cooling and heating of the buildings by natural occurrences. I believe that green roofs will be seen more and more throughout the world in the next number of years.
Urban sustainability is important because it the backbone to making a community come together and working as a team towards a sustainable community. Urban planning helps keep money within the community and helps with the design of sustainable living in mind. Some things that were mentioned in the presentations for urban planning were to build everything that is needed within a community as best as possible so everyone can support the businesses within the community and not have to venture out of the community to get supplies, this also helps in the transportation aspect as people would not have to travel far places to get what they want or need.
Economics is starting to be a new line to achieve when it comes to building a new building, improving the efficiency of an existing building or just want to continuously improve. As Royal Roads, Dockside Green and other major organizations here about all the different models, they want to strive to be the best so people will see they are trying to do better and thus might get more credit and sales. It also helps in the social aspects of the reputation of the business or building. Bigger businesses might be more know to do this to help improve sales but letting the community know that they are the greenest business but still give you the best product, lots of big businesses just to this so they look better.
All of these topics and examples encourage sustainability or a sustainable environment in some way or another through alternative ways of approaching regular everyday topics such as power, transportation, and development, urban planning and economics. The different ideas are a good start towards more sustainable solutions and hopefully more great ideas are still on the horizon.