Healthy Forests Initiative

In 2003 the Healthy Forests Initiative Act, originally proposed by George W. Bush, was set into law after the widespread forests fires of 2002 kept taking place. According to SierraForestryLegacy.org, the primary effect of this act was to decrease public involvement, reduce environmental protection, and increase access to National forests and other lands (federal) for timber companies. The site notes that these proposals allowed the timber industry more free reign than to enact the proposed benefits to fuels reduction efforts on National Forests. The site also notes that it was assumed that the initiative was based on a false assumption that logging would decrease forests fires which general scientific consensus proved that the logging increased the fires. It was thought that by allowing the timber companies to log that it would thin out overstocked stands, and clearing away vegetation would lessen the effects of fires. There was major opposition to this act and many argued that the fires allowed for the forest to clear out dead and older trees to let saplings grow in its place on their own- that the intervention from humans would disturb natural processes. The issue of frequent forest fires was the reason this act was set into place. The act has had great opposition and has not been productive in terms of creating healthy forests. The whole premise of this act was to clear out trees and prevent fires by giving more power to timber companies which actively destroyed federal lands and nationally protected forests. This initiative would have been successful if taken in a different direction.

 

https://www.sierraforestlegacy.org/FC_LawsPolicyRegulations/KFSP_HealthyForests.php

Advertisements

Forest City Lavasa, India

Biomimicry is the union of biological processes and the interests of bringing these processes into urban life to address major contemporary challenges. In a city like Lavasa, India, it’s a hill city with a dense forest surrounding it. The city is prone to droughts, monsoons, and threats to erosion according to Citylab.com, and has been modeled after the ecosystem of the dense forest around it. Designers of the city began asking the question of how the city and surrounding area can be hit with monsoons without losing of all of its soil. Designers began to study the ecosystem and started to consider how rainwater-storage systems could be designed to mirror the trees that take in the water during the rainy season and store it for later (Citylab.com). The designers also looked at designs that would help slow down the speed of the rainfall- which leaves in a forest do. They noticed that in a forest there are many levels like that of shrub layer, mid-level tree layer and then a canopy layer all which slow the speed of rain so when it hits the ground, it can be absorbed quickly (Citylab). The designers noted that the issues with the built environment is made up of vertical structures which is hit with maximum velocity by the rain. The major builders and designers in Lavasa plan to build more infrastructure that mimics the surrounding natural environment while keeping the theme of urban sustainability in mind while trying to house masses of new people. They are tackling the issues of drought, erosion, and monsoons which threaten the city by continually modeling the city after nature.

 

 

https://blogs.iadb.org/ciudadessostenibles/2015/09/18/biomimicry/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/five-cities-that-are-leading-the-way-in-urban-innovation-1461549789

Quality Air in Chicago

 

Cities are centers with lots of people, and where there are lots of people comes plenty of buses, cars, and trains to transport them places. Cities are widely known to be filled with air pollutants and the air quality is not the best. A 2015 article from the Chicago Tribune highlights how much of Chicago’s history (in the 1950’s and as early as the 1870’s) has been covered by smoke and soot which were so thick it blotted out the sun. According to the Tribune article, “The Jungle Book” author Rudyard Kipling even noted back in 1891- Kipling had nothing good to say after a visit to Chicago mentioning that “its air is dirt” (2015). Unclean air not only looks bad it also effects the health of all people who inhabit the city. Certain groups of people are more at risk and those with already existing health concerns, like that of asthma, are exposed to air pollutants which can make their illnesses worse.  According to the World Health Organization, urban health risks are distributed unevenly among social groups with the most burden being concentrated among vulnerable segments like those living in slum areas.

While coming along way from the late 1800’s with more environmentally conscious vehicles, there still is a long way to go to improve transportation to make it more sustainable. Solutions for dirty air can be using cleaner energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal sources instead of reliance on fossil fuels. Vehicles like buses and cars could switch to electric to minimize exhaust. Other solutions could be for the city to invest heavily on more bike paths and safer paths, and Divvy stations to encourage people to ride bikes or walk to their destinations. Another solution would be to increase the number of green spaces downtown to plant trees and where plants can flourish so that more oxygen is put into the air. Cleaner air means healthy people which would decrease the spread of diseases and overall make a better city.

 

Sources:

http://www.who.int/sustainable-development/cities/health-risks/about/en/

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/history/ct-dirty-air-pollution-environment-chicago-flashback-per-0607-jm-20150605-story.html

Flames Don’t Burn Through Unnecessary Paper: Printer Reform at UIC

Printers at UIC print out an unnecessary page of paper that could be saved up and utilized for something else. This project looks to eliminate that page of paper which would reduce wasted sheets and go toward other printing tasks. UIC students print at different stations all around campus and paper at each of these stations faces going to waste and costing the university more than it should pay for (in terms of costs for paper). The timeline for this project would take up to a few months to ensure each printer on UIC’s campus is updated. Each printing station would be updated at separate times to maintain order, proper function and accessibility for students. A budget for this project would be used to update printers, and effects of this project could be immediately in terms of savings for the university and computer labs. Paper budgets at UIC will see a decline in costs and no there will be no guilty conscious when throwing away unused paper. Printing stations would not have to shut down a printer just to change paper and would go longer without disrupting students. Saving trees by saving paper on campus is an easy change that every student can get behind. We are the Flames and we will no longer burn through unnecessary paper.