Environmental Sustainability Green Cities
Environmental sustainability is the rate at which certain aspects of the environment like non- renewable resource harvesting and depletion and pollution creation can be carried out for the foreseeable future. To make sure that the environment is sustainable, cities, governments and societies promote actions that are not harmful to the environment. These actions involve using renewable energy, encouraging recycling and reducing release of harmful gases into the atmosphere. They try to create a green city; a city where every person has access to clean water and the air is purified. A green city is a city where people are able to access basic services with ease and go about their daily lives without worrying about their health being at risk. Few countries have managed to create a sustainable environment and maintaining. Many have to deal with corruption and political encumbrances while trying to implement moves to make the environment sustainable.
The article on `A just city is inconceivable without a just society` (Marcelo) gives a clear picture of what it is like to live in an environment that is not sustainable. The research was carried out in Rio, a city that has always been regarded as a marvelous city. The author feels that the ugliness of the fact that residents can`t live in peace simply because they are dark skinned and issues like class segregation and poverty still prevail, makes the city unjust and not marvelous. The author believe the Rio cannot be made sustainable while crime rates are still high and mass media creating notions of collective fear as well as the fact that consumption habits are of grow or die (capitalism). According to him Rio is not a just society with the high rates of racial stigmatization and segregation. He believes that Rio does not need a sustainable environment but a sustainable society in general. De Souza believes for the society to be just, burdens like waste disposal should not fall on the minorities alone, individuals should not be prohibited from accessing places because of the high cost of travelling as well as eradicate racial segregation and stigmatization.
Basically for an environment to be sustainable or to achieve a green city, one of the main things a city should prioritize is solving environmental issues. These issues include poor quality of the water, inadequate waste disposal systems and air pollution. I support De Souza`s view on how a society can`t be just if class and racial segregation still exists. Mostly cities that face environmental pollution are those inhabited by the middle class. For instance, in Mireya Navarro article, Brooklyn had issues of environmental pollution with the release of waste in their water front as well as harmful gases being released and accessing house vents and foundations. Residents were weary of accepting help from the government for fear of losing their property. Brookline residents have a hard time accessing necessities like clean air and the polluted air puts them at risk of chronic illnesses like cancer.
An environment can only be sustainable if most of its energy is recyclable to avoid polluting the atmosphere. Basic necessities like clean air and water should not be a problem to make a city green. The Green Streets article by Jennifer Hattam argues that green cities are not simply made up of buildings or infrastructure. A green city observes sustainability in all its operation from building sky scrapers of sidewalks; that residents should first be assured of clean water, food sufficiency and healthy lifestyles for a city to considered green but most of all no issues of air pollution.
To completely eradicate air pollution, all industries of firms that emit harmful gases in the atmosphere should be banned from operating in residential areas. Land should be set aside if these industries provide essential services and can`t help but produce harmful gases. Cities councils should also validate companies before they are allowed to operate. This would go a long way in making sure their operations do not put city residents at risk.
Companies or industries that have no effective waste disposal systems should be banned. Those that are already operating illegally and depositing waste inappropriately should have their licenses revoked. The government should make it a public rule that all business must use recyclable energy and resources (http://vault.sierraclub.org/sierra/200607/greenstreets.asp). A sustainable environment should also have clear systems of waste management which is the city council`s responsibilities. Waste from households like sewage should be taken to sewage treatment plants which are effective in recycling.
De Souza`s thought on a just society shed much light on the issue of environmental sustainability. Many people view sustainability as only issues concerning the environment. He is right to say that most cities need societal sustainability and not simply environmental. Issues that concern the environment sprout from the population itself. This has great connection to racial and economic segregation. If favelas in Rio were not so neglected crime issues would decrease. Also, if Rio was not regarded as a place for the middle class and some areas for poor people, issues like neglect from the government on waste disposal would be handled. Areas where dark skinned people live are connected with crime and poverty. Changing our mindset towards race and economic class segregation is the first step to making the environment sustainable.
A green city can only be green if it is just and if the environment is clean and sustainable. People can only mange to observe environmental rules like waste disposal if there are already systems in place to handle the waste. Every single city should have an effective sewage treatment plant and regulations to avoid issues like air pollution and release of harmful gases by industries in residential areas. Making an environment sustainable majorly needs the involvement of the government in approving ideas and enforcing them. Obstacles like political and economic forces can only be handled if a dependable government is in place. Every city or country is capable of achieving environmental sustainability. Everything possible should be done to ensure that people live fruitful and safe lives even when it comes to adopting radical measures. The end justifies the means. It does not matter if its protests or rough and strict rules and measures are used. What matters is that everyone is safe and at no risk of falling ill because of harmful gases being exposed to their living quarters.
De Souza, L. Marcelo. “A Just City is Inconceivable without a Just Society” The Nature of Cities, 2019, p 1-10.
Navarro, Mireya. “A Problem Rises to the Surface in Green point.” THE NEW YORK TIMES, 7 Dec 2008, p 1-6.
Hattam, Jennifer. “SIERRA CLUB.” Where Great Ideas are Transforming Urban Life, Jul/Aug. 2006. http://vault.sierraclub.org/sierra/200607/greenstreets.asp