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Sustainable city

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Sustainable city

Moderated by I2I Admin
This is a discussion forum associated with the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge (ISCFC).

Here's your chance not just to be the mayor, but the original city planner as well! Imagine a medium sized city that would be developed with modern, low carbon transportation in mind. What would that city look like? Would that make you more likely to want to live there?
 
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Marisa R- usa, Oct. 10, 2013

We all have to drive in cars sometimes. Whether it’s driving a block to a friend’s house or many miles on vacation. This was one of the greatest contributions of my carbon footprint. We all understand that it is extremely difficult to change your ways completely. After driving everywhere your whole life you can’t just start riding a bike everywhere, and you don’t have to. There are simpler ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Just by simply driving better you could save over a ton of carbon dioxide a year. Accelerate slowly and smooth, follow all speed limits, and maintain a constant speed. Those are all ways your carbon footprint can decrease immensely.Also, keep up with your car. Make sure it is always running efficiently. Lastly, make your next car a fuel efficient one. Getting a fuel efficient car not only helps the environment, but costs less for gas. Think about this next time you drive.

http://www.carbonfund.org/reduce
Marisa R- usa
Comments (1)
  • Isabella d-US Isabella d-US Oct. 15, 2013
    I agree with you, there are just some places that you can't ride a bike to and a limit on what can be brought with you while riding. However, I don't think that it's possible to maintain a constant speed or anticipate stops, simply because of traffic. Everyone is always in a rush, trying to get where they're going forcing the people around them to do the same. In an ideal world we would do all those things and all have solar and wind powered car, but the world isn't there yet. I also think that a fuel efficient car isn't something most people can afford. Even though it would save more money in the long run, short term it costs more than most can pay with out being put severely in debt. For now, I think the simplest ways of keeping carbon emissions down is for everyone to do small things like carpool or walk and bike when possible.

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Anna H-USA, Oct. 9, 2013

Almost all of us have to use cars or some form of transportation everyday. Cars are a big part of most people’s carbon footprint, but there are several different ways that we can reduce the driving portion of our carbon footprint. just by carpooling with one other person once a week you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. Even if you do not have anyone that you could carpool with there are several different things that you can do are extremely simple. You can reduce your carbon footprint just by accelerating slowly and smoothly, driving the speed limit, maintaining a steady speed, and anticipating your stops and starts. These are very minute and simple things to do but believe it or not they can actually influence your carbon footprint.

http://www.carbonfund.org/reduce
Anna H-USA
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Emma L-USA, Oct. 9, 2013

Imagine a world in which all the things we make, use, and consume provide nutrition for nature and industry—a world in which growth is good and human activity generates a delightful, restorative ecological footprint.” -William McDonough

William McDonough, green architect and co-author to the book Cradle to Cradle, is working on this design. Today we design products in a “Cradle to Grave” system, meaning that we design our products for how they will be used without incorporating what we will do with them when we are done with them. In his proposed “Cradle to Cradle” system products are designed with the intent of what we will use them for when the product has worn. This process eliminates waste that is not compostable and puts it to as good or greater use than it had before. William McDonough believes that the fact that our products and our cities do not benefit nature as well as ourselves is a major design flaw. Don’t just listen to me tell you this, let William McDonough tell you himself by watching the video in the link below or reading the article from his website.

http://www.ted.com/talks/william_mcdonough_on_cradle_to_cradle_design.html
Emma L-USA
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Julia C-US, Oct. 9, 2013

Did you know that fossil fuels make up 40% of man-made carbon admission? Coal releases 2,249 lbs of carbon dioxide per megawatt of coal burned, this number does not include the mining, cleaning, and transportation of the coal. Oil produces 1,672 pounds of carbon per megawatt, and again this does not include the equipment needed to collect the oil, the transportation, or the production. (http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/co2.html) Think about how much carbon is released into the environment every year from theses fossil fuels. Why are we still using these fuels when there are alternative sources that can work just as well? Wind energy is a negligible energy source because it burn no fuel, and releases no carbon into the atmosphere. Wind energy makes green electricity. Wind is a never ending source, whereas fossil fuels will run out some point. It may be a big change for our community, but it is something that is bound to happen so why not make this positive change now?

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/tech/wind-power
Julia C-US
Comments (3)
  • Veronica C-USA Veronica C-USA Oct. 9, 2013
    You know, another thing that can reduce the amount of fossil fuels used dramatically is the usage of hybrid cars. hybrid cars on average get double the mileage of a gasoline only car the same size and omit half the CO2. Its the best of both worlds, great mileage and less carbon monoxide, and they cost about as much as a gasoline only car as well. Though Hybrid cars do need to be charged, the wind energy in your suggestion would correspond perfectly with this kind of suggestion.
  • Ryan P-USA Ryan P-USA Oct. 9, 2013
    These are stunning numbers that you have presented in this post. The amount a carbon humans are emitting in the air is simply tremendous, and it makes sense why the planet is warming up as it is. Alternatives to energy production need to be found before it is carbon concentrations become to high. Veronica's suggestion was great; hybrid cars are definitely one way to lower the use of fossil fuels. Another way is finding other energy sources, such as wind and sunlight. However, I think the problem is not in finding other alternatives; there are many alternatives already functioning right now. I think the problems are the companies who generate fossil fuels. They are resistant to change and to a switch from fossil fuels to other energy generation methods because they want to stay in business. It makes sense, though. The people whose job it is to produce and refine fossil fuels need money to raise families and do other things. Is there a way to perhaps convince them to leave the fossil fuel business? Do you think they could be offered another job with the same pay as their original occupation? If so, what kind of job would it be?
  • Julia C-US Julia C-US Oct. 10, 2013
    Thank you both for your wonderful comments! Veronica, I think that hybrid cars are such a great idea for helping reduce our carbon footprint. Electric cars are exactly the kind of inventive, modern, and new technology that we need to be using. Ryan, you raise very strong points and questions. I do believe that companies that produce fossil fuel know the detrimental effects it is having on the environment, but they keep supporting the company to keep their jobs. I believe that sometimes sacrifices need to be made for the greater good for the world. There needs to be a revolution of green energy, and sustainable living to save our world. My father is a director of development for a wind company, and they employ hundreds of thousands of workers. Wind farms need managers, manual worker, scientists, and the list goes on. There are an equal amount job opportunities in the green energy business, but it may not seem like this because the number of fossil fuel companies outweigh the amount of green energy companies. Ryan you asked a few questions that I do pretend to have the perfect answer to, but I think green energy is something that is doable.

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Julia C-US, Oct. 9, 2013

Julia C-US
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Ally E- USA, Oct. 9, 2013

Receiving my carbon footprint was a big shock. I did not expect it to be so high compared to the average carbon footprint of my city. Many people in my community had a similar shock when they received their carbon footprint. When I thought about every one’s carbon footprint put together, I realized how much we need to make a change, especially living in a large city. If I were mayor of my city I would help make a change. I would increase public transit. I would build more metros, and add more buses. I would encourage people to bike and walk to work or school, and donate bicycles to those who can afford public transit. I’d also encourage people to recycle and increase the recycle pickups to 2 or 3 times a week depending of the area. I would open daily farmer markets in the city to encourage people to buy organic, biodegradable produce. Being mayor can be a difficult job, especially in a major city. I believe if they push going green, and take these actions to reduce the cities carbon footprint it would make the city a better, cleaner and more prosperous place. I think with these changes it would also make the mayors job a lot easier.

Ally E- USA
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Mary W- USA, Oct. 8, 2013

After receiving my results from my carbon footprint test, I found the amount of carbon used on transportation was a very high. Although U.S. power plants were the main source of greenhouse gases release 2.4 billion metric tons, vehicles are the second largest source with 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases being released. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases. According to my research, California, some other western states, and Vermont are all now using labels ranking cars based on their amount of their greenhouse gases released. Many states are trying to find ways to reduce this amount. I think Texas should join in on using the labels on cars. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by carpooling. Just carpooling with one other person can cut the amount of carbon dioxide released from your vehicle almost in half. Carpooling has other pluses such as saving money on gas as well as saving time on driving. A special carpooling lane is offered in many states to cars with more than 2 people occupying them. Carpooling should be promoted in every state. Ever since I have started carpooling, life has been easier for myself and my mom.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=carbon-dioxide-from-cars-09-01-08
Mary W- USA
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Mary W- USA, Oct. 8, 2013

After receiving my results from my carbon footprint test, I found the amount of carbon used on transportation was a very high. Although U.S. power plants were the main source of greenhouse gases release 2.4 billion metric tons, vehicles are the second largest source with 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases being released. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases. According to my research, California, some other western states, and Vermont are all now using labels ranking cars based on their amount of their greenhouse gases released. Many states are trying to find ways to reduce this amount. I think Texas should join in on using the labels on cars. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by carpooling. Just carpooling with one other person can cut the amount of carbon dioxide released from your vehicle almost in half. Carpooling has other pluses such as saving money on gas as well as saving time on driving. A special carpooling lane is offered in many states to cars with more than 2 people occupying them. Carpooling should be promoted in every state. Ever since I have started carpooling, life has been easier for myself and my mom.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=carbon-dioxide-from-cars-09-01-08
Mary W- USA
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Mary W- USA, Oct. 8, 2013

After receiving my results from my carbon footprint test, I found the amount of carbon used on transportation was a very high. Although U.S. power plants were the main source of greenhouse gases release 2.4 billion metric tons, vehicles are the second largest source with 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases being released. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases. According to my research, California, some other western states, and Vermont are all now using labels ranking cars based on their amount of their greenhouse gases released. Many states are trying to find ways to reduce this amount. I think Texas should join in on using the labels on cars. Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by carpooling. Just carpooling with one other person can cut the amount of carbon dioxide released from your vehicle almost in half. Carpooling has other pluses such as saving money on gas as well as saving time on driving. A special carpooling lane is offered in many states to cars with more than 2 people occupying them. Carpooling should be promoted in every state. Ever since I have started carpooling, life has been easier for myself and my mom.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=carbon-dioxide-from-cars-09-01-08
Mary W- USA
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Lauren M-USA, Oct. 8, 2013

When people begin to think of ways to reduce carbon emissions, one of the main ideas is the increased use of wind power. This topic turned out to be extremely interesting, far more so than I’d initially thought it would be. Wind power has proven to save over 25%-30% of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, and the energy needed to build the actual wind machinery doesn’t seem to emit more carbon than the mills produce. Because of these astounding facts, I was wondering how wind energy hasn’t taken over yet; it certainly seems to be the way to go. When I researched that, I found that the fossil fuel industry has actually been fighting against wind energy for about the past five years in an effort to stay in business. There have been many battles actually taken to court. I think that wind power is definitely a way to majorly reduce carbon emissions worldwide, and I hope that within the next five years, we’ll see more and more wind-powered means of electricity.

http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/09/01/wind-power-emissions-counter/
Lauren M-USA
Comments (2)
  • Kelly H-USA Kelly H-USA Oct. 9, 2013
    I believe that the reason that fossil fuels are still a leading source of energy around the world is because it is so profitable. People don't want to switch to a more unknown energy source if what they are currently using still works and makes them money. If we could find a way to convince more people to use wind energy we could build a bigger industry for it, and be closer to more sustainable cities.
  • Kelly H-USA Kelly H-USA Oct. 9, 2013
    I believe that the reason that fossil fuels are still a leading source of energy around the world is because it is so profitable. People don't want to switch to a more unknown energy source if what they are currently using still works and makes them money. If we could find a way to convince more people to use wind energy we could build a bigger industry for it, and be closer to more sustainable cities.

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