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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
Lauren M-USA, Oct. 6, 2013

When I look at the reasons for the United States’s huge carbon footprint, one of the major reasons is transportation, especially by car. I think one way that this footprint can be reduced is by the increased use of hydro-electric cars. Lately, I’ve been noticing more and more hydro-electric cars around the city. These cars contain fuel that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity as a means of energy and does not release harmful gases into the atmosphere. I think the idea of these cars is wonderful and they should be more widely used around the country. However, the fuel would not be easy to come by, which is a setback.

http://www.ehow.com/about_6651269_hydro_electric-car-technology.html
Lauren M-USA
Comments (2)
  • Ryan P-USA Ryan P-USA Oct. 7, 2013
    I think your post is very interesting; cars play a large part in the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the air. Factors like cleaner fuel and electricity are tremendous steps towards a clean environment. However, it is often the production of these green products that emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, unfortunately. It would be great if there was a way to generate hydrogen fuel without all the negative side effects. Nevertheless, I am glad to see that there is a clean method of fueling cars that is just as efficient as gasoline. A mix of electricity and clean fuel is a great concept; I wonder if there are other mixes of different energy sources that could be cleanly obtained and equally efficient.

    I have a question, though. Do you know if the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the manufacturing of hydrogen fuel is more than the amount produced in the refinement of oil and gasoline? If so, maybe it may be better to use hydro-electric powered cars rather than regular cars.
  • Lauren M-USA Lauren M-USA Oct. 7, 2013
    You have a very valid argument when you say that the production of the products emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I was actually wondering if there was a better way to generate hydrogen fuel and found this article:
    http://cleantechnica.com/2013/08/31/inexpensive-hydrogen-fuel-from-water-producing-hydrogen-with-charcoal-powder-and-lasers/
    If the things such as using water and charcoal to generate fuel were put into use, I think it would definitely benefit hydro-electric cars.

    I can't find exact numbers that say if one produces more than the other, but it seems that since there are simply so many more regular cars, definitely the production of carbon dioxide is more in oil and gasoline, at least at the moment.

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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
Tara V-USA, Oct. 5, 2013

Hi! I’m Tara and I live in the Bay Area in California.

If I was designing a city I would want to use sustainable city planning that I learned about in my environmental science class last year. Essentially I would design the city so there are resources within easy walking distance from homes through special trails and never-ending sidewalks. This would essentially set up a city in which there are a few central locations with grocery stores, schools, work buildings and recreational activities toward which houses converge. I would also design the city so bike lanes are on every road and bike racks exist in all locations to encourage bicycle riding. I’d also plan for trees to line the sidewalks. To connect the different centers together I would also design for a mass transportation system similar to the one near where I live in California. In the Bay Area, we have BART, which stands for Bay Area Rapid Transport. It is a huge system of rails running of 1000 volt DC electricity that connects the whole bay area together. It is a cheap way to get around and saves tons of carbon that would be emitted if all the individuals that took BART trains drove cars. In case anyone wants to read more about BART I’ve included a link below. While the construction of this city would likely be quite pricey, I believe its set up would significantly reduce the necessity for the constant driving of cars. I would love to live in a city like this. I know BART is convenient and significantly reduces pollution. The surplus of bike lanes and sidewalks in this city would make walking and biking really easy as well. I know there are a lot of places near where I live that don’t have sidewalks or bike lanes I can use. Less pollution and suffocating smog would really be the only incentive most city dwellers would need to move to my city.

http://www.bart.gov/about/history/facts.aspx
Tara V-USA
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Ryan P-USA, Oct. 1, 2013

Hello everyone, my name is Ryan and I live in Oakland, California in the United States.

I am very interested in ways to reduce carbon emissions and increase sustainability in cities and towns, especially by means of finding renewable energy sources. If I were a city planner focused on sustainability, I would devote my attention towards clean transportation fuels and green generation of electricity. I believe these are the main sources of the high greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere. Additionally, if we could find better methods to create electricity without burning fossil fuels and to travel to places without gasoline or aviation fuel, we would be heading the right direction towards a sustainable and clean future. However, if we continue to consume these materials, we will not only deplete Earth’s resources, but also pollute the planet tremendously. Thus, it is better to find alternatives now before we are desperately scraping the Earth for resources or struggling to clean the air.

Recently, I have had a growing interest in biofuels, and I happened upon this article regarding the production of biofuel by feeding sugar to E. coli bacteria. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), some chemical engineers figured out how to modify glycolysis, a process some organisms undergo to convert sugar into molecules the cells need. The researchers’ method of creating this biofuel emits no carbon dioxide, which is less than the two carbon dioxide molecules current biorefineries emit every time glycolysis occurs. When considering the millions of cells emitting two carbon dioxide molecules, it becomes obvious how much cleaner and more economical this customized glycolysis procedure is. This production of biofuel is completely efficient because no carbon dioxide is lost, but is instead conserved and used in the process of converting organic material into fuel. This is a quintessential example of how we are striving towards a sustainable future by advancing existing fuel technologies rather than simply conserving resources (though that is also good). The efficiency improvements also show how much closer we are to getting to long-lasting, proficient energy sources. Though we may be a long ways away from everlasting energy, finding methods to increase efficiency in biofuels is a great start, and the fact that they are clean is great, too!

A city with this biofuel (or other efficient fuels) would be clean and sustainable. I would want to live in an area where the pollution is not hovering above me in a musky, suffocating cloud and where I am conscious that future generations can continue to enjoy the Earth that we have today. However, this article brings up an interesting question: clean fuels can only be so efficient to a certain extent. When that point is reached, what will we turn to? Solar panels? Or will we continue consuming, just at a slower rate?

http://www.rdmag.com/news/2013/10/new-metabolic-pathway-more-efficiently-converts-sugars-biofuels
Ryan P-USA
Comments (7)
  • JohnRobert W-USA JohnRobert W-USA Oct. 3, 2013
    Would this bio-fuel idea apply to airplanes? My footprint was above average only because of our plane flights. If this idea applied to airplanes, how big would the impact be? Theoretically?
  • Jason Hodin Jason Hodin Oct. 3, 2013
    Airplanes are a real problem. You have to get a super heavy thing to move against gravity and get airborne. This means that the fuel has to burn EXTREMELY hot. Yes, there is research into so-called “second generation biofuels” that cn reduce airline emissions by like 50% or more per passenger over petrooleum based jet fuel.

    Qantas has a good web site that talks about what other factors are being discussed and researched related to increasing efficiency. This includes things that you can do when planning a flight:

    http://www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/fuel/global/en
  • adrian a-usa adrian a-usa Oct. 3, 2013
    we should have this type of bio fuel with also functioning solar panels and self charging battery on the car, so while the car runs, it charges
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Discussions Discussion Sustainable city
matteo rodondi, May 29, 2013

hi guys my name is matteo and i live in italy.
We have enough food to feed everyone in the world. World hunger is a problem that doesn’t need to exist. This is a much bigger immediate problem than one’s carbon footprint. but it’s possible remove the hunger from the world? have any ideas?

matteo rodondi
Comments (2)
  • Lauren M-USA Lauren M-USA Oct. 8, 2013
    I agree that world hunger is a huge issue throughout the world. So far, I don't think anyone has really come up with any long-lasting solution to hunger, either. Of course, there is the idea of increasing food production, but then there is the issue of distribution, growing space, etc. I did find a rather interesting article, however, that talks about how hunger is directly related to poverty, and in order to solve world hunger, we have to first look at solving poverty. I think this is pretty accurate; if we were able to lift people out of poverty, they would eventually have the means to provide their own food and world hunger would decrease. It isn't a flawless idea by any means, but it's definitely interesting in its own right.

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/8/solving-world-hunger-means-solving-world-poverty
  • Paige Savard Paige Savard Oct. 14, 2013
    I agree with both of your statements. There is definitely a direct relationship between poverty and world hunger. The less money one tends to have, the less food they will be able to consume because they simply cannot afford it. In order to help the hungry there must be a dramatic change in the distribution of wealth that is still a problem to this day. There also tends to be a direct relationship with wealth and one's carbon footprint. The wealthier someone tends to be, the more resources they have financial access to and will be able to afford cars, new technology, large houses and much more that all burns a supplement amount of carbon. It is just a matter of starting the process in helping the hungry, and even though there are great efforts to help, there could definitely be a better attempt or greater actions to help the ones in need.

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matteo rodondi, May 29, 2013

hi guys i’m matteo and i live in italy!
I recycle my trash and I think it is a necessary job for every citizen. But many people in their daily life don’t have time to wash glass or plastic bottles and remove their labels off or they are to lazy to put glass, paper and plastic into different bags or just to find recycling containers outside. this attitude has to be changed if we want to have our earth clean.

matteo rodondi
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Alessandro C, May 29, 2013

Hi guys!
I live in a small village in the mountains in the north of Italy named Edolo. Here we use hydroelectric energy and for heat my house I use a lot of diesel oil. I use to heating my house for six month per year because from October to march the temperatures are really cold. I’d like to install many solar panels in my house for reduce pollution. My village isn’t big and there aren’t any factories so the pollution isn’t very high. I think the pollution in the big cities is an important problem that can be resolved with some little sacrifices from people that live in these cities.

Alessandro C
Comments (1)
  • Lauren M-USA Lauren M-USA Oct. 8, 2013
    I definitely agree with you about how pollution from big cities is becoming a major issue. I live in Texas and I know that Houston and Dallas both release huge amounts of carbon into the air each year, and that's definitely something we should look at finding solutions to; the solar panels are a really creative idea! I also find it interesting that you are used to colder temperatures. In Texas, we actually rely on air-conditioning about 9 months of the year, and I wish that ould somehow be reduced as well.

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domenico pedrotti, May 19, 2013

HI everyone
I live in Malonno, the small town in the mountain valley called Vallecamonica. Where I live the pollution is not as bad as in big cities because we have many forests. Here,the most serious form of pollution is represented by visual pollution due to the presence of overhead power lines . I think the solution to visual pollution could be the use of power lines underground.
I’d like know what do you think about this problem.

domenico pedrotti
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domenico pedrotti, May 19, 2013

HI!
My name is Domenico Pedrotti, i’m 16 years old. I am a student at IIS Meneghini to the secondary school in Edolo, a small mountain village in the north of Italy. My total carbon footprint is 7642Kg CO2 per year, in the Italy the average footprint is 8181 Kg. I always go to school by car with my mum because she works in the hospital near the school while I go back home by bus.
My results are:
Transport: 1120
Home: 3850
Food: 2461
Purchase: 211

domenico pedrotti
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federico cappellini, May 16, 2013

HELLO! My name is Federico and I live in the north of Italy. I think that a great way to get closer to a sustainable city is the production of clean energy; for example everyone should install solar panels. In my home we use this type of energy productions and I must say that in addition to helping the environment we save a lot of money.
I hope that one day this will come true for all people.

federico cappellini
Comments (3)
  • Hanna A-Sweden Hanna A-Sweden Sept. 30, 2013
    I think you're absolutely right! Solar energy is a great energy source, and it is clean. If more people would use it would be great. But it also has some problems. For example in Sweden ,where I live, the sun almost never shine during winter so its hard to only use this energy source.
  • Kelly H-USA Kelly H-USA Oct. 3, 2013
    I agree, solar panels are a great idea to help get one step closer to sustainable cities. But Hanna brings up an interesting point when she says that it's hard to use solar panels sometimes because the sun doesn't shine. Some ways to get clean energy are just not right for every part of the planet. Windmills are also a great source of renewable energy, but if they were installed in the middle of the city I live in, it would create a lot of problems. We need to learn where the right places to install clean energy generators are. If we could just utilize every opportunity to make clean energy possible, we would be a lot closer to having sustainable cities.
  • Hanna A-Sweden Hanna A-Sweden Oct. 14, 2013
    You have a really good point Kelly! That's why it's important to educate for example engineers who can tell which place is good for what energy source.

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Ale M, May 16, 2013

hi everyone!
In many places of the world, people are using CO2. Even though people are trying to help save the world, most people do not make a lot problem help the earth and create less CO2, reduce purchases, to use public transport, to eat organic foods, and not heat or cool homes as they often do normally.

Ale M
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