Insecticide- (n.) a substance used for killing insects

Fungicide- (n.) a chemical that destroys fungus

Rodenticide- (n.) a poison used to kill rodents

People get annoyed in the summer when there are bugs always trying to bite us and take our blood. We get all itchy and bathe ourselves in bug spray. Not only do we get annoyed when bugs come to us, but we also get annoyed when they decide to make holes into the fruits and vegetables we plant during the spring and summer. There’s nothing MY dad hates more than choosing a beautiful tomato, turning it around, and realizing that some insect has already had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in that one tomato. If my dad gets annoyed with one tomato, how do farmers feel when their job requires these tomatoes, or whatever crop they have, have become infested with insects? There immediate go-to product is probably a pesticide. If there are insects? insecticide. Fungus? fungicide. Rodent? Rodenticide. Farmers end up spraying their crops with whatever they need to get rid of pests. But, how does that affect us in the long run? There is a chance that WE eat some of that pesticide. “Pesticides are used to control various pests and disease carriers, such as mosquitoes, ticks, rats and mice. Pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases.” (Why We Use Pesticides n.d) We’re all probably okay with that, but, have we thought of the consequences it could have? Some pesticides could actually penetrate the skin of fruits to protect the fruit on the inside. We probably have eaten some kind of pesticide. “Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants.” (Aktar, Sengupta and Chowdhury 2009)


The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) established in 1996 was made to protect human health and the environment. in 1910, the U.S. began to regulate pesticides, and over the years, it was been revised to better help the people and the earth. According to the EPA, “the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides for federal regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides distributed or sold in the United States must be registered (licensed) by EPA. Before EPA may register a pesticide under FIFRA, the applicant must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications ‘will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.'” (EPA n.d.) Pesticides are capable of hurting consumers and hurting our soil, FIFRA is controlling which pesticides are good enough to use to protect us.

Works Cited

Aktar, Wasim, Dwaipayan Sengupta, and Ashim Chowdhury. 2009. Impact of pesticides use in agriculture: their benefits and hazards. Mach. Accessed November 10, 2017.

n.d. EPA. Accessed November 10, 2017.

n.d. Why We Use Pesticides. Accessed November 10, 2017.



Using the Past to Move Forward (Japan’s Basic Environment Law)


One of Japan’s many environmental policies/regulations include the Basic Environment Law & Plan. The Basic Environment Plan was initially put into place in December 1994 using the Law as a guideline. Before the Basic Environment Law, however, most policies involving environment were based on the Nature Conservation Law & the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control. In order to sustain these two laws and their efforts to preserve the environment & crack down on pollution caused by manufacturing, the laws had to be revised to react to the rapid urbanization of Japan (which brought into conception the Basic Environment Law). The law aims to build society in Japan in a way that is environmentally and economically stable while simultaneously contributing to global conservational efforts. It also addresses a number of issues including: the responsibility of the state, local governments, corporations, and citizens, prevention of air, water, and radioactive pollution, and more. Not only do Japan’s policies target large corporations to cut down on mass waste and consumption, the individual also plays a large role in its policy. Some of the more specific parts of the law require the address of the prime minister, especially those with concerning highly polluted areas of Japan. Over time, Japan has adapted the law to such areas after large incidents of mercury & cadmium poisoning and related deaths. Overall, however, the laws have proven to be quite effective in some areas and has shown to curb pollution in Japan whilst still allowing for growth of the nation. Today, Japan is also noted for being one of the least polluted countries worldwide, while still being one of the most advanced. Much of this can be attributed to the many fines that are enforced through the Basic Environment Law and many of the policies that fall under it.


National Forest Management Act of 1974

The National Forest Management Act of 1976 is an amendment of The Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974. This act was designed to counter act the damage done to the natural ecosystem by the public. The act put into place a system for forest management after several debates regarding the legality of clear-cutting the forests. Congress instructed the US Forest Service to develop regulations that limit the size of clear cuts to the forest, protect streams from logging, restrict the annual rate of cutting, and ensure reforestation.


The image above is a picture of a recent clear cut in the lands of Western Oregon taken by photographer Kevin Mathews

The National Forest Management Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to assess forest lands, develop a management program based on multiple-use, sustained-yield principles, and implement a resource management plan for each unit of The National Forest System. In recent years, the national forest commodity production and uses have been substantially reduced and emphasis on non-commodity uses and values, especially biological diversity, has expanded exponentially. Also, due to continuing biomass buildups on NFS lands and the poor condition of many forested watersheds, forest health and wildlife issues are likely to be the focus of continued future public debate. SO while this act originally helped with the regulations regarding clear cuts and so on, the National Forest Services have strayed away from their original goal and will most likely need to increase their collaborative approaches to solving resource problems.



Blog 4: Policy & Regulations for Urban Sustainability

With the current issue of hazardous waste not being not being a major concern for many, it is leading to a very dangerous  outcome for human health and the environment. Those who contribute to toxic waste also lack the enforcement in cleaning and making those who are liable accountable for their actions. The purpose of hazardous waste control is to safeguard human health and minimizing the impact that hazardous water has on the environment should always be our agenda. In this case, there are organizations who are innovating, creating, motivating and inspiring ways to prevent and become efficient in waste disposal. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes laws to safeguard nature, human health surrounding hazardous waste lies on how it’s stored and handled by corporations. I believe that with the involvement of  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),  they oversee all regulations on hazardous waste and leaves local officials to implement the proper handling techniques. However, there have been cases in which hazardous materials were mishandled, leading to the contamination of the surrounding environment. Hydraulic fracturing and its by products are one example in which the handling of hazardous materials must improve and be tightly enforced by local governments. 



Blog 4 Policy & Regulations for Urban Sustainability

Blog 4  Policy & Regulations for Urban Sustainability

Figure 1 By NASA/Apollo 17 crew; taken by either Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans – (direct link), Public Domain

Environmental Policy has been a rising sector in laws and regulation. On a federal level, the EPA is responsible for dealing with environmental policy and U.S. regulations regarding the environment. On a state and regional level, regulations become more specific to cater to that area’s specific needs.

Identify an environmental/sustainable policy or regulation anywhere globally.

Think about the following questions and address at least two of them: 1) What is its purpose and what issues prompted the rule to be put into effect in the first place? 2) Has the history or implementation of the regulation changed over time? 3) Has it been productive? If yes, in what ways? If not, what can be done to encourage people to abide by these regulations? 4) How do urban and national politics intersect around environmental issues?

BLOGS Due 10 PM on 11/10

COMMENTING ON BLOG 4 due by 10 PM 11/17


Blog 2: Urban Sustainability, Energy & Public Health

Image result for east chicago  waste

In east Chicago, there is an ongoing concern about hazardous waste in the area.  The area has been polluted for decades due to it being a former industrial town.  In the 80’s the EPA found manufacturers in the area exceeded allowable limits of soil and water toxins, like zinc, arsenic, copper, cadmium, and lead.  However, now, people are still moving into the area without the knowledge about the history of pollution in the area. One, the best source of actions for this case is that the EPA makes this a priority. Often, many minority communities that effected by pollution tends to not be fixed. I believe there should be a great effort into cleaning up the area, also moving residence to a different housing away from the affected area, ways to prevent further problems, also compensate the residence from the company government.I think this plan would be beneficial because it will force the government to fix a problem that should not have happened. However, I dont know how they are going to replace the grass and ground. I think they should close that area. It’ll also reduce the risk of health problems for residence who lives there. Also, there needs to be ways to prevent that from happening. It relates to urban sustainability because it speaks of innovation, responsibility, and public health for the residents who live there.


Ouarzazate: “The Door of the Desert”

ait-benhaddou-ouarzazate-morocco-m.jpgOn a bare plateau within the High Atlas Mountains of Southern Morocco lies the city of Ouarzazate. Despite it being a major hub for tourism, Ouarzazate’s location makes it highly susceptible to desert storms, desertification of land and a loss of biodiversity. In order to combat this, the people of Ouarzazate -with the help from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Korea Forest Service (KFS)- have devised a plan; in essence, the project involved the development of a greenbelt of trees which surrounded the city as well as the greening of drylands with treated wastewater.


In addition to this plan, the city is currently developing a large series of solar panels which involves five different projects, spread over 10,000 hectares and is estimated to be finished around 2020. According to a report by the UNEP, once it is complete contribute the plant will “contribute 18 per cent to Morocco’s annual electricity generation. It will save the country 1 million tons of oil equivalent and prevent the emission of 3.7 million tons of CO2.”

In a nutshell, the greenbelt project has planted over 400 hectares of trees which has naturally protected it form several storms. Moreover, this project has empowered the local people with engagement since this meant for the creation of new job opportunities.

Much of the greenbelt has been created as recreational spaces which has also raised community awareness and encouraged public participation. The first showings of this project had generated so much positive change that Ouarzazate’s government decided to launch a second phase. This phase focused more on sparking awareness, creating partnerships and even sharing local experiences to neighboring cities and places around the world. As more and more attention is brought to the city of Ouarzazate’s strides to build a more sustainable future, perhaps they may serve as a shining example for cities all around the world.

“This project will offer a better living environment for the population in Ouarzazate. I am proud of all partners who made it a success. I hope that this project will be a model to control desertification and loss of biodiversity in the world”   – H.E. Dongil Park, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea



Makin’ My Way Downtown… To a Greener City.

In 2011, the city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, decided to take matters into their own hands and decided to work to convert itself into a greener city. They have taken the initiative to lower the use of cars and increase public transportation, biking, and walking. Their goal is to become the greenest city by the year 2020. Because Vancouver is a coastal city, they are an easy target for rising sea levels. Global warming is causing the ice from glaciers and ice sheets to melt, therefore causing the rise in sea level. Vancouver wants to make walking the top transportation priority. Cities are very hectic with cars honking and the pollution they cause. So walking is a great way to cut back, plus, it’s good for you.

To enhance walkability, maps are oriented in the direction pedestrians are facing, not always on a north-south axis. PHOTO: CITY OF VANCOUVER

Some of Vancouver’s roadways have been altered in ways to favor pedestrians. One example is installing “pedestrian-controlled traffic signals on busy streets.” Another thing they have done is made more places within walking distance. “Downtown buildings have storefronts and restaurants on the street level, while residential neighborhoods feature townhouses with raised porches.” (Totty 2016) Thus, making it easier for residents to access whatever they need without having to use their cars. According to their Greenest City 2020 action plan, there has been a 32% decrease in distance driven per person since 2007. “VIVA Vancouver has been innovating public spaces, transforming road spaces into vibrant pedestrian spaces, and encouraging community, walking and cycling, and local businesses since 2011.” (City of Vancouver. Greenest City- 2020 Action Plan 2016) Mr. Lon La Clair said, “Vehicle trips have declined citywide over the past 15 years, and the number of cars entering downtown has dropped 20% since 1996. As a result, Vancouver is ranked fifth by Walk Score, a unit of Redfin, which measures the walkability of more than 140 North American cities.” (Totty 2016) If they continue like this, they’ll be able to become a greener city in no time.



Works Cited
2016. City of Vancouver. Greenest City- 2020 Action Plan . Vancouver, British Columbia.

Totty, Michael. 2016. “Five Cities That Are Leading the Way in Urban Innovation.” The                     Wall Street Journal. April 21.                     leading-the-way-in-urban-innovation-1461549789.



Blog 3- Science, Innovation & Technology for Urban Sustainability

what is edible landscapingWhen community gardens are created in any neighborhood, it has many benefits to that area and much more. For the social equity aspect of the garden, it enables people who participated in community gardens for the access to fresh food, health benefits, and time outdoors. Gardens in low-income areas also included impacts such as citizenship, activism, and social mobilization. The environmental aspect is that there is more social equity for the alternative food movement. In Katharine Bradley’s research article “Practicing food justice at Dig Deep Farms & Produce, East Bay Area, California: self-determination as a guiding value and intersections with foodie logic,” it talks about the social aspect of community gardens stating ” It also reduced crime, more employment opportunities, and self-determination for those who live in the area. It also makes the air and soil quality, and it reduces water runoff.” Economic wise, many citizens who live near a community garden or farm, claims to save a couple hundred dollars on groceries. It keeps the community think differently about what they eat and how they are becoming more conscious of where they buy food from. Health benefits of community gardens are the most dramatic part of having on in the community. Like it reduces the intake of pesticides and other chemicals from fruits and veggies that companies mass produce. in the article “A Changing Environment: The Impact of Edible Landscaping & Urban Gardening.” it states about energy is that “straight to a garden removes the energy used for going to a store using transportation and refrigeration. Plus it’s going to be using less energy unlike farms that use to play, plant, spray, and harvest produce.” In Chicago, there’s an organization called “Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project.” It maps the inventory agriculture and community gardens throughout the Chicago area. The collection of information is available to the public as a resource. The more available fresh fruits and veggies are more convenient in community gardens, the more people bands together to ensure everyone has access to it.



Turning Trash Into Electricity!


What if your food scraps turned on your living room lights? Sounds unrelated and far-fetched, doesn’t it?

Well, a new biogas plant in Marin County, California is doing just that—turning local trash into energy.  It’s been estimated to provide enough renewable electricity to serve more than 5,000 MCE (Marin Clean Energy) customers in Marin and Napa counties and in several nearby towns.

The new plant at the Redwood Landfill, in the city of Novato, California began operating this past September, 2017. It is taking locally collected organic trash, like food and paper, and converting it into local electricity.  Biogas, mostly a mixture of methane and carbon, is a renewable fuel that is more efficient than solar power. 




Karen Stern of Waste Management, the nationwide Houston based company who built the plant, says that it is capable of producing 3.9 megawatts of power while it would take 64-84 acres of solar arrays to produce the same amount of energy. Waste Management owns and operates the landfill; MCE has a 20-year agreement with the company to purchase the electricity.


                                                                          Biogas Process (Source: MCE)

The facility costs $14.5 million, which was higher due to stricter environmental guidelines compared to $11 million plants elsewhere.  The Redwood plant is unique because the methane gas generated by the organic materials decomposition will power the plant. The plant will eliminate 8,900 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year, according to Waste Management.


New Biogas Plant, Redwood Landfill (Source: Cynthia Sweeney/ North Bay Business Journal)


Redwood Landfill also produces about 500 tons a day of a natural fertilizer used for organic farming. Additionally, it recycles almost half of all materials brought to the facility, and has donated 180 acres of its property for wetlands restoration. The 222 acre landfill is expected to reach capacity in 2030- it will then be expanded or converted to a transfer station.

Patrick Serfass, executive director at the American Biogass Council, believes the growth potential for renewable natural gas is outpacing solar because of factors like: 66.5 million tons of yearly food waste in the U.S, manure from 8 trillion cows, chickens and other livestock as well as abundant, low-cost natural gas due to fracking. The landfill is responsible for taking in about 800 tons of trash a day- their goal is to divert 90 percent of the area’s trash within 40 years. Waste Management is currently working on an automated sorter which will take a bag of trash and sort all the organic material out.

Although the profit margin is not high, the work being done is effective in contributing to the overall sustainability and environmental impact of the county. Waste Management states the work is “deeply satisfying”.