From John Shannon who writes about green energy, sustainable development and economics. Email him at john[AT]borderstan.com.
A massive shift in demographics has taken place in the past few decades as millions of people leave rural lands and move to ever-expanding cities. This phenomenon is not limited to any one continent, it’s happening everywhere.
Today, more than half the world’s population live in cities and close to 80 percent of global economic and environmental output is tied to cities — as opposed to rural or undeveloped areas. The migration of people towards cities looks set to continue for some time.
And not alone in this is New York City, where the Big Apple’s three-term Mayor Mike Bloomberg recently commented about the NYC experience.
“Recent college graduates are flocking to Brooklyn not merely because of employment opportunities, but because it is where some of the most exciting things in the world are happening — in music, art, design, food, shops, technology and green industry. Economists may not say it this way but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts. When people can find inspiration in a community that also offers great parks, safe streets and extensive mass transit, they vote with their feet.”
“New York has an impact on the rest of the world” — according to Bloomberg. “The environmental stuff, whether or not it reverses climate change, influences you and your kids today–the air you breathe, the water you drink, the economy you have, the opportunities you have. Today. That’s how you sell the environment. Don’t try to sell it for 40 years from now. Think ‘my air, my water.’ And cities are where it’s all going to happen,” according to Bloomberg.
Acting in their own self-interest, a growing list of cities are joining together to find and share new environmental and economic solutions via the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40), which “is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change.”
Acting both locally and collaboratively, C40 Cities are having a meaningful global impact in reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks. Through a partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative, C40 brings together a unique set of assets and creates a shared sense of purpose. C40 offers cities an effective forum where they can collaborate, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change (C40).
As cities now comprise more than half of the world’s total population, which is slightly more than 7-billion as of January 2013, it makes sense for responsible and visionary leaders to find solutions to common problems and to find better ways to enhance the enjoyment of citizens. From Vancouver, Canada, to Washington, DC, to Copenhagen, Denmark, mayors and other civic leaders are at work improving the present model for more than three billion city-dwellers worldwide.
- Explore an interactive list of the C40 Cities and their current initiatives. (C40)
- Explore our latest research further to learn more about our work. (C40)
Borderstan is happy to introduce a new columnist to the team, John Shannon. He will write about the environment, green energy, sustainable development and economic issues. We had a little chat with him and he explained what his new column will be bringing to us.
Borderstan: Tell us a little bit about yourself? Please include the types of publications and websites to which you contribute.
Shannon: Since the late 1960s I have been interested in sustainable development on the planet. We have just passed the 7 billion population mark on our way to approximately 10 billion people in 2050 and if the rapidly growing developing-world decides to match our developed-world rates of consumption, we will need another five planet Earth’s to support us at that time.
To put this in some kind of context, of the 7 billion people alive today only 1 billion live in the developed-world. The other 6 billion live in the booming (population-wise) developing world, which will add another 3 billion (approx) to the Earth by 2050. Developed-world nations will retain their largely static population numbers through 2050.
Green energy is my preferred topic and now, as solar and wind energy are about to meet price parity with conventional sources of energy, it is an exciting time for sustainable energy bloggers to be alive. I write for a number of websites covering energy, sustainable development, and diplomacy, and I contribute articles to the United Nations Development Programme.
Borderstan: Why are green energy and environmental issues so important, particularly in cities and urban areas?
Shannon: We are all healthier when we breathe clean air and have ready access to clean water. These are life necessities and are in no way optional, in my opinion. Years ago, before California enacted air-quality legislation, that city was covered with a thick blanket of smog — just as Beijing, China, and other cities are today.
There is no doubt that the quality of life has improved for the citizens of Los Angeles — as it relates to clean air and the knock-on health effects of breathing dramatically cleaner air. Everyone on the planet deserves to breathe clean air and have access to clean water.
Borderstan: Tell us what your column will be about?
Shannon: The vast majority of people want to help our planet’s environment. This speaks well of us as a species and is in our best long-term interests. By showcasing successful examples of sustainable energy and development, with a nod to environmental policy and practices, I hope to share timely information with Borderstan readers.
Borderstan: What have we missed… what would you like to add.
Shannon: When the economics of green energy aligns with the economics of other sources of energy, the transition to cleaner energy solutions will happen quickly. In fact, this process is already beginning to happen. Until 2020 at least, green energy bloggers will be bursting with good-news stories! Life is good.
From Jana Petersen
Don’t let the ominous forecast keep you from celebrating Earth Day this Friday — consider ringing it in indoors. You read correctly – indoors. Project 4 Gallery will commemorate Earth Day and, fittingly, the end to its run of “GREEN WORKS,” an exhibit highlighting the convergence of man-made objects and nature, with a panel discussion of green experts and entrepreneurs this Friday at 6:30 pm.
“GREEN WORKS” features artists Heidi Fowler, Sayaka Ganz, Julia Anne Goodman and Duncan Johnson who, according to Project 4, “remove paint from their palette and look to the recycling bin for their medium and inspiration.” Fowler, Ganz, Goodman and Johnson use man-made and found objects like bottle caps, plastic utensils, wood carved from construction sites, junk mail (to name a few) to “create extraordinary pieces that capture the grace and beauty of the natural world.”
Avid recyclers, environmentalists, and creative minds alike — head down to Project 4 between 6:30 and 9:30 pm this Friday, April 22, for a final glimpse of the exhibit and conversation around the green movement.
Find out what’s showing at 12 galleries in the Logan-Shaw-U Street area below the fold.
Saw this at Logan Circle News… The D.C. Schoolyard Greening Program (DCSGP) is sponsored by the D.C. Environmental Education Consortium. The Greening Program’s mission is to “Increase and improve schoolyard green spaces to promote ecological literacy and environmental stewardship among students, teachers, parents and the surrounding community.”
The 2nd Annual D.C. School Garden Week is scheduled for Oct. 6-11, 2008. This week we celebrate and build awareness about DC’s school gardens. There are many different types of gardening projects in approximately 80 DC schools. These gardens provide wildlife habitat, absorb stormwater runoff, beautify schoolyards, nourish students’ minds and bodies, and more. We encourage everyone to get out to explore and celebrate DC school gardens!
Get more information about the garden photo contest for students; the deadline for photo submissions is September 22.