Philly Tree People: Kensington Tree Planting

April 26, 2011

Belated Post, forgive me!

On April 17, 2011, I went (by my lonesome in the group! which was actually a serious accidental disaster…) to Kensington. The bus was late (thank you SEPTA) but we arrived (I went with SEA–Students for Environmental Action) almost on time. I signed a waver for my safety, went to group number 2, and loaded trucks with six trees, 15 gallons of water, clippers, prunes, special growth seeds, and more.

The community was really accepting to the help. There were team leaders for each group, from Philly Tree People, and also prominent community members.

What I learned in particular, was the mechanics of tree planting.

  • a healthy tree needs water every day (duh)
  • in my group, we planted six trees
  • the root flare needs to be  a little above the ground when planting
  • trees should be chosen according to how high they will grow
  • a hole should be dug for the space of the roots
  • pruning trees and clipping bad roots are especially good for roots; if it’s dead or will go out in a different space, then it is okay to trim
  • spread a white gelatin into the soil for growth and nutrients; also, to fight bacteria
  • put gardening soil on top at the end to help the tree and for aesthetic appeal

What we learned in Kensingtion, to our surprise

  • the ground had a lot of topsoil
  • there could possibly be needles (BE CAREFUL)
  • they cut out the wrong sidewalk (but it all worked out)
  • randomly, there was a hammock in this plot of land
  • community members were generally interested in the tree planting and requested certain trees in front of their houses
  • it was difficult to find house numbers because most places were not labeled
  • we celebrated our success by going to the local brewery

That was basically my day in Kensington! I volunteered for four hours and it was worth it.

April 17, 2011 for 4 hours


Case Study: Washington University in St. Louis

April 26, 2011

Blog Post #3 Individual Case Study

A model from Washington University in St. Louis can help Temple University consume less and save more. Water style!

With the recent wave of environmental action, people are looking for small, inexpensive ways to consume less and save more. What most people do not realize is that it is as simple as drinking water from a good plastic bottle, just not bottled water.

Washington University in St. Louis ended the sales of bottled water in early 2009, with only two venues selling bottled water for a few more months due to contractual obligations. The ban encouraged students, guests, and faculty to drink tap water and use reusable water containers because of the hazards of bottled water.

Bottled water uses fine resources, including mass amount of plastics and fresh water. Propaganda from bottled water companies promote that it is healthier than tap water. Yet, bottled water does not have to meet all of the federal, state, and municipal regulations; also, it is more difficult to check water quality.

Students at WUSL are incredibly supportive of the ban of bottled water because it made them take time to think of the impact. Students and faculty supported the decision because it would promote St. Louis’ water supply. In September 2008, students built a ‘tower of consumption’ out of discarded waste bottled water created. The group also started selling reuseable water bottles.

This idea, banning bottled water, should be an incredible issue for Temple University. It can promote conservatism and in the long run it is cheaper for poor college students.

Temple University has the misfortune of being located in urban North Philadelphia and using Philadelphia’s municipal water system. With that system is a lot of negative connotation of the water being dirty and unhealthy.

Unlike WUSL’s water system, North Philadelphia is not one of the best water sources in the country. That said, special water fountains have been placed around campus that filter the water again, furthering environmental action on Temple’s campus.

The case study of WUSL shows Temple University that it is possible to eliminate bottled water purchases and drink tap water. The case study is a perfect example on how colleges can become green, simply through student movement and environmental issues as a first-thought.

Philly Water Case Study

April 26, 2011

The City of Philadelphia’s drinking water supply, servicing over 1.4 million people, comes exclusively from surface water sources.Philadelphia’s drinking water is drawn from two rivers, the Delaware and Schuylkill. The three modern water treatment plants — Baxter, Belmont and Queen Lane — have a combined, design-rated capacity to treat 540 million gallons of water per day. The city of Philadelphia passed a Safe Drinking Water Act in 1974 that was amended in 1996. The act does the following: directs the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue national Primary Drinking Water Regulations for all public water systems having at least 15 service connections or regularly serving at least 25 people. The Act sets standards aimed to control substances that can pose a threat to health when present in certain quantities in drinking water. However in a case study done in 2003 Philadelphia’s water showed high traces of lead in it especially in schools and homes of young kids. The lead derived from the corrosion of pipes or faucets. High traces of lead can cause serious health issues for children which is why it is an issue.Levels of chlorination by-products, specifically total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs),were as high as 80 percent of the new national standards and occasionally spiked above those standards. HAAs and TTHMs are by-products of chlorine disinfection and may cause cancer and,potentially, reproductive and other health problems. At levels measured in Philadelphia tap water, TTHMs
and HAAs came in well above health goals and are of potential health concern.The city’s water sources are threatened by contamination from treated and untreated sewage, industrial point sources, transportation accidents and spills,urban, suburban, and agricultural runoff, acid mine drainage, and drought. Philadelphia has put a major effort into assessing this pollution and is trying to encourage protection of its source water, but the city
does not control its watersheds, and the state does not adequately regulate pollution of these waters. Philadelphia could benefit from methods of storm water management greatly. Being that most of Philly’s water comes from groundwater and surface water stormwater management is critical and this can be seen through methods such as green roofs.

Safe Drinking Water Information System, U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency database, available online at:
report. last visited on 04/26/02.

Milcreek Farm

April 26, 2011

The kids outlines were made with recycled items

The incredibly green living roof.

Milcreek Farm was quite the experience. It’s a communtiy garden/farm out in West Philly that grows vegetables, houses bees and ultimately provides a good, organic environment in a concrete jungle. There were lots of interesting things at the farm like the living roof. The roof is what caught my attention the most, even though it is expensive I think it would be a smart choice as a roofing and the way it adheres to different weather conditions is great. We pulled weeds and clover out of the soil to make room for the planting of the collards. I expected the work to be hard but the lady made it look so easy. Once I attempted to do what she was doing it was so hard and so tiring and we had to be careful to leave as much soil in the ground as possible. It was also interesting to see how everything their foundation was made up of was recycled glass they found around the neighborhood, old bike pedals, old water hose handles. It was so creative and it looked as if the kids really enjoyed doing it from their forms on the wall. I really enjoyed this work day and it definitely made me more aware of my ecological footprint.

Case Study: Project Earth

April 26, 2011

One group for the IB Exhibition researched how plastic water bottles effect the pollution on earth. They discovered that the caps don’t recycle and cause huge environmental issues. Also, they discovered the massive floating island in the Pacific that is the size of Texas. They decided to try to ban water bottles at our school. They figured out by surveying the classes, that the students at our school would be willing to stop buying water bottles and would pay up to $6.00 for a reusable water bottle. Then the group researched eco-friendly bottles and ones that are the safest for kids to use. They found a stainless steel one that would laser our logo on it for $5.50. The company they would use makes 144 @ $5.50. If your organization could cover $500.00 of he production cost for the first batch of bottles, the rest of the production costs would be paid by our PTO (the kids had to submit a proposal to the board which agreed to fund the project, on the condition that we find a way to pay the first $500.00). The students could sell them to the kids for a very good price and then with the profits make more for the rest of the school. They surveyed the 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes and have enough customers for the first 144 bottles. It would be awesome if we could get our whole school off of plastic water bottles. Our current student population is 400 students from k-5th!


Celebrities Endorse Green!

April 21, 2011

I was reading articles about my one and only, Matt Damon, who is now the co-founder of He and his celebrity friends are just like us–they endorse green. This might not be that exciting, but these organizations have merit and funding! Here’s a list I’ve borrowed from a website (source at the bottom):

1. Brad Pitt
In 2007, Brad Pitt toured the lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, an area unable to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Pitt founded Make It Right, an organization with a plan to build over 150 environmentally friendly homes in the area. The Make It Right community is currently the largest greenest neighborhood of single family homes in America, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Make It Right is also constructing micro-farms, rain gardens, and eco-friendly roads throughout the 9th Ward.

2. Leonardo DiCaprio
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation hopes to secure a sustainable future for Earth. The foundation recently committed $1 million dollars to help save tigers. In 2007, DiCaprio created, produced, and narrated Eleventh Hour, a documentary highlighting practical solutions for restoring our planet’s ecosystems.

3. Sting
Sting and his wife, Trudie Styler, started the Rainforest Foundation in 1989. The foundation works in 20 rainforests throughout the world and has helped protect 28 million acres of forest. Rainforest Foundation has expanded its offices into England and Norway.

4. Bode Miller
Bode Miller, an Olympic gold medalist, partnered with his family to establish Turtle Ridge Foundation . The organization empowers individuals to solve difficult environmental issues. The foundation has several programs to help America’s youth learn about the environment through recreational activities.

5. Dave Matthews
Dave Matthews started the BamaWorks Fund in 1999 to help fund programs for the environment in the Charlottesville area and has since expanded its parameters. The Bama Works Fund has contributed over $8.5 million to charities. Dave Matthews joined the Farm Aid board of directors in 2001. Farm Aid is a nonprofit organization helping farmers keep their land.

6. Kate Hudson
Kate and her hairstylist, David Babaii, teamed up to make a line of hair care products that are good for the environment. David Babaii for Wildaid features shampoos, conditioners, and styling products free of sulfates, petrochemicals, and animal products. All of the products were tested on Kate’s hair, not animals. The products contain natural and renewable ingredients. Ten percent of the profits from the products are donated to Wilaid . The products are very affordable.

7. Daryl Hannah
Daryl Hannah co-founded Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance in 2006. The alliance helps educate the public on community-based biodiesel programs. The Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance hopes to reduce the negative impact on our environment through energy conservation, petroleum reduction, and reduction in release of harmful emissions.

8. Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow‘s clothing line, Bootheel Trading Co., is an eco-friendly clothing line that features organic sustainable labeling, fair-trade cotton, and denim. The clothing line is affordable and features casual jeans, tops, vests, and jackets. Jeans start $60 and shirts start at $20.

9. Harrison Ford
In 1991, Harrison Ford formed Conservation International . The foundation uses science, policy, and field work to protect Earth’s resources. The organization helps communities, countries, and societies protect tropical forests, lush grasslands, rivers, wetlands, abundant lakes, and the sea.

10. Jack Johnson
Jack Johnson and his wife, Kim, formed the Kokua Hawaii Foundation to support environmental education in the schools and communities of Hawaii. Jack Johnson also established All At Once, a group that collaborates with community groups to provide sustainable local food systems, environmental education, tree planting, and other hands-on projects.


Green Managment Strategies: European Union’s Failure

April 7, 2011

Perhaps one of the most heavily debated upon issues for political and scientific reasons is global warming. It has a particularly politically charged meaning and its existence is questioned as groups separate into believers and nonbelievers. But if any action to change the planet it taken, it needs to effect the economy, the environment, and the society.

Here, it is referred to as climate change, a proven scientific phenomenon that has happened before and very well be happening now, but for a different reason. Climate change is the long term change of weather patterns over time; however, human-caused activities are forcing the planet to heat up, most likely due to the burning of fossil fuels and the increase within cities.

Urban life is quite possibly one of the main reasons evidence of climate change is happening; therefore, management strategies should be used to adapt and redirect climate change. The Greenhouse effect has been magnified by global warming because the gases can become stuck within the atmosphere.

In urban areas, where there is more density in population, the heat island effect occurs. It heats up the city. Nature’s own checks and balance, trees, are featured less prominently. Urban areas are the founders of industrial revolution and emissions. Although they established some of the first mass uses of public transportation, enough emissions are used to cause worry.

Recently, a new rise in environmentalism has given rise to sustainable development and green management strategies. Particularly the European Union region has devoted time and energy to develop and nurture green developments in the job sector, the physical environment, and the carbon offset. However, it appears that it did not follow management strategies well enough. But more on that later.

The European Union wants to increase 20% of its resources to be renewable. It wants to meet part of the Greenhouse Gas reduction obligations outside the EU through international offsets. The EU wants biofuel. It wants a redesign of architectural buildings. The only want to do this is through management. They followed the Kyoto Protocol.

“The protocol sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas(GHG)emissions. The targets amount to an average reduction in emissions of 5% against 1990 levels over the five-year period, 2008–2012” (Analysis of the EU  policy package on climate change and renewables Pantelis Capros a, Leonidas Mantzos a, Leonidas Parousos a, Nikolaos Tasios a, GerKlaassen b,n, Tom VanIerland b.).

The European Union has recognized that management strategies need to be calculated and observed and effected over time. “…one carbon offset represents the reduction of one ton of CO2,e.g. the offset value denotes a net emission reduction (CO2-eq ton). In practice, this means methods for quantifying emission reductions should be conservative to avoid overstating a project’s effect…Current carbon offset programmes generally require that offset rates should be real, surplus (additional), verifiable, permanent and enforceable in terms of maintaining the integrity of an emission trading system” (Kikuchi 357). Kikuchi recognizes that carbon offset is directly correlated to the greenhouse gas effect.

“Current carbon offset programmes generally require that offset rates must be real in terms of maintaining integrity; however, these accounting processes differ from project to project, and furthermore there is doubt about how this diminution is included as a negative secondary effect in accounting for a WPG-based carbon offset” (Kikuchi 361). As Kikuchi mentions, carbon offset programmes need to change. The image above shows how carbon offset works within the current management model. Carbon offsets should be backed by regulations and tracking systems—which will define the creation of carbon offsets.

There are so many benefits to green urban management planning; one of which is employment. Green collar jobs will be created in order to act on these management strategies. In turn the economy will pick up because there is employment and gains in the economy. And the work done from the economy  on the environment will eventually change the society into a more eco-friendly society. All are connected; if any are ignored, green management planning will not work.

“The method of accounting for carbon offsets reflects on the above-mentioned notion, i.e. the future environment and humanisation. If the accounting method remains ambiguous and uncertain, it will be difficult to forecast future climate change and assess whether a project is really cost-effective. It is important to establish an accurate method, because ultimately the method will determine the success of sustainable development” (Kikuchi).

Funnily enough, Kikuchi published this article in 2011, yet used data from 1997. Interestingly enough, his warnings have come undone. The European Union is expected to fail to reach its goal for environmental progress by 2020. The original goal of cutting costs down by 20% has now been reduced to 10%. One very possible explanation is that EU could not make the management strategies work for the economy, the environment, and the society. Kikuchi warns of this in his article, “Environmental and socio-economic factors in carbon offsets: an approach to sustainable management and planning in climate change strategy.”

The cut was an attempt to meet a feasible goal to reverse the human-caused effects of climate change. Yet climate change still exists and now it will exist longer. What is important is that the management strategy is not to blame. The EU is not a completely failed management strategy. It should be an example of what not to do and what to do. Most importantly form this, it is an example to follow green strategies from all sectors of life: economy, environment, society.


Environmental and socio-economic factors in carbon offsets: an approach to sustainable management and planning in climate change strategy


Analysis of the EU  policy package on climate change and renewables

Pantelis Capros a, Leonidas Mantzos a, Leonidas Parousos a, Nikolaos Tasios a, GerKlaassen b,n, Tom VanIerland b.).

Human Stresses On the Environment-Metal Contamination in topsoils

April 6, 2011

The environment is steadily changing in the world around us. It is constantly being affected by everything humans do on the planet as far as waste disposal, pollution, and the cutting down of trees. The two most important factors in environmental change is the metal contamination in urban soils. Two case studies that best show these instincts take place in the overcrowded country of China.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world with a population of over 6.8 million and an area of only 1067 km squared(Li p.1361) so I’ll draw your focus there. Due to Hong Kong’s rapid growth rate and urbanization all of its parks and recreational areas are built close to major roads or industrial areas. The placement of these parks leads to what is known as heavy metal contamination in urban soil. According to the Environmental Engineering Unit and the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, “atmospheric pollution is one of the major sources of heavy metal contamination(USDA p.1).” Heavy metals can accumulate in topsoil from atmospheric deposition by sedimentation, impaction and interception. Top soils and roadside dusts in urban areas are indicators of heavy metal contamination from atmospheric deposition(Li p. 1361). The United States Department of Agriculture says the main causes of this sort of contamination include; “mining, manufacturing, and the use of synthetic products (e.g. pesticides, paints, batteries, industrial waste, and land application of industrial or domestic sludge).” According to the USDA and the NCRS the most common problem causing cationic metals (metallic elements whose forms in soil are positively charged cat ions e.g., Pb2+) are mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel, copper, zinc, chromium, and manganese. The most common anionic compounds (elements whose forms in soil are combined with oxygen and are negatively charged e.g., MoO42-) are arsenic, molybdenum, selenium, and boron(USDA p.1).
Knowing that the placement of these parks is potentially hazardous a soil survey was conducted in Hong Kong’s urban parks. Soil samples and street dusts were taken from over 60 parks and public amenity areas in old urban districts, industrial areas and New Towns of the territory. Soils were also sampled in the remote country parks to establish the baseline conditions. The conclusion was that the urban soils in Hong Kong had elevated concentrations of metals. Soils from 65 parks in Hong Kong were tested in the study to show the different land use and traffic conditions. Out of all the 65 parks, 21 of them were on the Hong Kong Island, 22 of them were in the Kowloon Peninsula, and the 22 left were in the New Territories. These urban parks can be split into three groups; residential, commercial, and industrial areas. Street dust samples were also taken around chosen parks during the sampling. Collectively there were 505 soil samples and 45 roadside dust samples gathered. To make sure that the general baseline was obtained approximately 300 soil samples were also taken from 15 country parks in the study(Li p.1362).
The studies concluded that soils in urban parks in Hong Kong have elevated concentrations of various amounts of heavy metals in them. The mass amount of these in top soils are more obvious in the urban parks rather than that of the country parks, meaning that this is due to the location of the parks and is coming from the traffic sources, especially the vehicle tyres. A solution to this problem is still yet to be seen but should be looked at as the contamination of the soil could be potentially hazardous to humans even though it stemmed from them.

Heavy Metal Contamination and street dusts in Hong Kong. Applied Geochemistry, Volume 16, Issues 11-12, August-September 2001, Pages 1361-1368 Xiangdong Li, Chi-sun Poon, Pui Sum Liu

Particular air pollution in urban areas of Shanghai, China: health based economic assessment. Science of The Total Environment, Volume 322, Issues 1-3, 25 April 2004, Pages 71-79. Haidong Kan, Bingheng Chen

Heavy Metal Soil Contamination. Soil Quality-Urban Technical Note, No.3. September, 2007. United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Pg.1-7.

UC GREEN Cleanup:Documented Through My iPhone

April 3, 2011

So on Sunday April, 3, 2011, my co-superhero Zoe and I (Em) went on a crazy fun adventure to… WEST PHILLY! To help a neighborhood association and UC Green cleanup a common ground backyard.

Our morning started really early (we had to get up at 7, sorry roommates!) and we took the subway and walked over to a residential block.

When we got there it look like this:

Our task: clean this site up to be ready to build.

Since we were the first to arrive, we went to work quickly for such an enormous task. Our first assignment: raking a path. Luckily, UC Green is very organized and provided shovels, rakes, trash bags, and clippers.

The land behind us as we raked.

Zoe as she poses after raking a path.

Eventually, more people showed up from the neighborhood (all who were happy to help and happy to clean this mess) and our task was switched to clearing the piles of branches, twigs, and sticks that consumed the park.

The dumpster was filled fairly fast, too fast for most of us to compress it. We alternated cutting down the branches in the dumpster until we had to get the professional help of a chainsaw. We couldn’t fit all of the piles ready for the clearing, but the tree planting isn’t until May 14th, so there is plenty of time. What we didn’t throw away, such as leaves and soil, were put in the back of the yard to use as compost. Anne, the director, was adamant to reuse as much as possible to make the garden worth it. The trees that will eventually be planted will be ones that native birds know and like to habitat in. Anne and UC Green very much want a thoughtful bird sanctuary.

After Cleanup

After Cleanup

Before Cleanup

The cleanup was a grueling task, especially with a tiny lane to go in and out of while clearing the yard.

Alley in which we transported the clearings.

Not all the wood did we throw out though. In an effort to conserve and sustain, most of the larger logs remained to be on the clearing to make benches, signs and for surplus lumber.

Nailed in logs to wood makes this bench.

Tentative Benches made that day.

Perhaps some history about the site is needed in order to appreciate the value of the cleanup. This site mirrors so many other places around urban cities that it should be a model to other community cleanup groups. Though there are different means to the stories, all have the same facts according to the community members. Apparently, around 50-60 years ago, two wealthy families split the property between the two as a garden like for the community. Eventually, one of the families kept all of it. The only surviving man used the spot as a popular community garden and to help urban children engage in nature. After he died, it was sold to the government. Eventually, the government could no longer keep the area so it was sold back to the community, who until recently could not use the necessary resources needed for about 30-40 years. Recently, a grant was acquired and UC Green stepped in. Not just UC Green, but many members of the community try to lend a hand in saving their neighborhood, and in effect the city and the world. “Citizenship, conceived along classical republican lines, identifies a role for residents of a place by articulating a range of minimal obligations they have to each other for the sake of the larger community in which they live. On this account, citizenship is not satisfied merely with voting, or even less robustly, as only a legal category which one is either born into or becomes naturalized to. It is instead ‘ethical citizenship’ or a concept as ‘citizenship as a vocation’ where citizenship virtue met by active participation at some level of public affairs” (Light). This is a perfect example of ecological/ethical citizenship in action and was rather inspiring.

Em and Zoe working.

Em and Zoe working (albeit later)

Supplies we used, thanks to UC Green

While we were working, we noticed that this little garden has been polluted with all types of things from the years. Our ‘archeological’ findings were both humorous and puzzling.

A seashell. Not be the seashore.

A full can of hipster beer. It was actually squirting out some from the impact of the rake.

Overall, this was a valuable experience to the community. They were very thankful for our help when we didn’t even live in the neighborhood. Or in West Philadelphia. They were gracious (and we were grateful) enough to feed the volunteers as we worked hard this windy, cold April morning. Thank you so much to UC Green and all the volunteers for making the day enjoyable.

Spruce Hill Bird Sancutary Volunteers

HOURS LOGGED: 6 hours, on April 3, 2011

P.S: Check out our other pages and leave some comments and media of your own.

When We’ll Save The City

March 24, 2011

UPDATED: This a compiled list of days in which we as a group can help out. At least one of us can that is; we are, however, not limited to these dates, but will try to focus on these groups.

Mill Creek Farm Days:
M 3/28:12-3pm

M 4/4: 10-1pm
W 4/13: 930-1230pm
R 4/21: 11-2pm
M 4/25: 1130-230pm
F 4/29: 330-dusk (whatever that means… 😉
Sat 4/30: 9-230pm
Sun 5/1: 130-430om
UCGreen Work Days:
Sat, March 26, 9am – 12pm
43rd St. and Chester Avenue, Philadelpia, PA 19143
Sun, April 3, 9am – 3pm
Melville Street – entrance next to 233 S. Melville
Wed, April 6, 9:30am – 5:30pm
UC Green Office – 4613 Woodland Ave., Phila., PA 19143

Urban Eco Citizenship Questions

March 3, 2011


1a)  Where do you like to go to find nature in a city (like Philadelphia or your hometown)? Why here?

In a city, the best places to find nature are the places that remind you of nature. Parks, rivers, greenhouses, gardens, courtyards—all have easy access to an escape from the city. Within a busy city full of skyscrapers, factories, taxis, and dull colors, it is easy to forget that cities can be quite beautifully planned.  These are the best places to search for nature because they are the best well kempt because of the special limitations. “Cities create more intensive use of croplands and forests to sustain urban populations, and more hectares of productive land are then relied upon to sustain the populations of rich countries” (Light 47).  The space dedicated to nature is going to be the best space, which is the best place to visit.
1b) Who do you think developed and cares for these areas / pieces of nature?

It appears that the government is responsible for creating failed legislature and talking about environmentalism, but what irks this dilemma is who follows this? Certainly, it cannot be its citizens for the environment would be in better shape even if few environmental were in place; citizens would still have to follow these laws. “No matter what problems they have, densel populated cities get around the lack of environmental leadership on energy conservation by creating and encouraging an infrastructure in which residents do not actively have to decide to change their lifestyles or priorities in order to live sustainably” (48). It is apparent that people expect the government to do all of the work in this new phase of environmentalism, but that people in general do not want to change their lifestyles. The people who care for these parks, rivers, gardens, courtyards, etc. must be only a portion of the population and an even smaller portion probably does it for the greater good of the environment.

2) Is there any motivation for you to help care for the existing nature found in Philadelphia (or in your hometown if you would prefer to use it as a place of reference..?)  If there are any motivating factors, what are they? If not, what would help motivate you to participate in the development and care of these spaces?

Of course there is motivation: this is our planet, our city, our life. People cannot rely on the government to fix problems and need to take an active role in order to produce change. Change needs to be widespread—all people should strive for sustainability. Ecological citizenship encourages people to affect change. Not only in existing cities, but in new ones change must be present. New York might never become the capital of green planning, but it can inspire other places. Space is a key issue to help care for nature. “Even the early-twentieth-century language among urbanists of center and periphery does not capture the spatial dimension of the modern metropolis, where yesterday’s suburb has become an identifiable and independent unit… potentially significant civic engagement today…” (54). This is our city, our world, our SPACE. One of the most important concepts city dwellers can implement into action is helping preserve this space.

3) Should the rights and responsibilities towards the urban environment be given more to citizens? Why or why not?

The rights and responsibility of the environment should be balanced between citizens and government because the condition of ones urban environment directly affects them, yet individuals need laws and standards set. “Adding an environmental component to a classical republican model of citizenship becomes then the conceptual basis for a claim that the “larger community” to which the ethical citizen has obligations, is inclusive of the city as space, place, and environment, as well as people. (Light, 51)” Citizens have an obligation the city because they use its resources, but an overarching power should be guiding these efforts. Whether that is the government or non profit organizations, citizens  should work with others. This is taking an active role. It also gives citizens a larger outlook on their role and impact concerning the environment outside of their city.

4) Do you agree with Andrew Light’s suggestions and call for hands-on ecological citizenship? Why or why not?
If you do not agree with him, build a case for why not using examples.  If you do agree with him, build upon his case using examples whenever and wherever possible to avoid generalizations.*

4. Light greatly promotes the idea of hands-on ecological citizenship; he believes in the importance of egalitarian ecological efforts. According to the article, citizenship is not meant only for the betterment of the area in which individuals live, but also for the betterment of their quality of life. Light explains how ecologically based endeavors will succeed if there is more participation from those in the community it is affecting. He states, “The argument then is more simply that all levels of regulation are better when they are mediated through a robust form of local participation, be it in decisions over schools or over other public amenities such as environmental regulation” (Light 58). Though it is important and incredible to nature to have ecological citizenship, national standards and mandates should help guide ecological citizenship. People are more willing to be a part of their community if the government gives tax breaks for volunteer efforts or even if the government produces more fines and sentencing. It is really unlikely that all of these people will be rushing out to volunteer in mass numbers, but a partnership between citizens and bureaucrats is the best of both worlds.

5) How can ecological features such as parks or waterways serve as the glue, binding a community together?

Communities used to be more tight knit and close; the picture perfect ideal of summer barbecues and mowed lawns. This is achievable again. Ecological features can get people involved in nature again and more community events can be held. Upkeeping these places will help get people into the community gardens again.

Hello world!

March 1, 2011

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