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… ūüėČ
Sat 4/30: 9-230pm
Sun 5/1: 130-430om
UCGreen Work Days:
Sat, March 26, 9am ‚Äď 12pm
43rd St. and Chester Avenue, Philadelpia, PA 19143
Sun, April 3, 9am ‚Äď 3pm
Melville Street – entrance next to 233 S. Melville
Wed, April 6, 9:30am ‚Äď 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‚ÄĒall 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. ‚ÄúCities 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‚ÄĚ (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. ‚ÄúNo 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‚ÄĚ (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‚ÄĒall 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. ‚ÄúEven the early-twentieth-century language among urbanists of center and periphery does not capture the spatial dimension of the modern metropolis, where yesterday‚Äôs suburb has become an identifiable and independent unit‚Ķ potentially significant civic engagement today‚Ķ‚ÄĚ (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. ‚ÄúAdding an environmental¬†component to a classical republican model of citizenship becomes then¬†the conceptual basis for a claim that the ‚Äúlarger community‚ÄĚ to which¬†the ethical citizen has obligations, is inclusive of the city as¬†space, place, and environment, as well as people. (Light, 51)‚Ä̬†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, ‚ÄúThe 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‚ÄĚ (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.

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March 1, 2011

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