Posts filed under ‘Environmental Engineering issues’
The world has accepted the concept of sustainability. That is: the need to be socially conscious, environmentally sensitive and aware. Go green, green recruiting, green design, green buildings, green initiatives, save green, green living, green products…green, green, green. We have been saturated but, I hope, NOT desensitized. Corporations went through branding programs and corporate logos turned green. It is reported that approximately 300,000 green trademarks were filed with the U.S. patent office in 2007. These are all good things. The concept of sustainability is sound, based in logic and implemented with reason.
Last year, advertising and trend watching firm JWT predicted that we will see blue replacing green as the color of environmentalism and social consciousness. They suggest that the ”blue is the new green” concept signals a fundamental shift in the environmental movement. I am not sure why it is a color shift…other than maybe a marketing technique. Even the Earth Day Network website has “gone blue.” Are the new environmental concerns focusing on sky and sea – water and air? Are these really new concerns? Water and air quality have been in the foreground of civil and environmental engineering projects for the 20 years I have been involved with our business.
What do you think?
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Tim Dickinson has written an excellent synopsis for Rolling Stone magazine on President Bush’s final legacy and good-bye gift to us for our future. The title is somewhat rough for some of you, so I won’t put it here, but I offer to you the link:
As it is expected that every outgoing president has implemented 11th hour regulations, “Bush is rolling them out at a record pace — nearly twice as many as Clinton, and five times more than Reagan.”
Here are just a FEW of his final goodbye gifts to all of us (with a few of my thoughts included!)…
Considering that my livelihood depends a great deal on infrastructure development, I read his last minute regulations with interest. “Under a rule submitted in November, federal agencies would no longer be required to have government scientists assess the impact on imperiled species before giving the go-ahead to logging, mining, drilling, highway building or other development.” I can’t say that I have ever described myself as a live or die environmentalists, but at 47, I find this unsettling at the least! You only need to read my earlier BLOG discussing my obsession with the movie “Soylent Green” to know that this is beyond worrisome!
Typical of the Bush presidency, he has made sure that the coal industry has no problems depositing their waste from mountaintop mining into streams and valleys. Additionally, he has lowered air pollution regulations near our national parks, permitted for nearly 2 million acres of lands for the mining of oil shale — “an energy-intensive process that also drains precious water resources” and he has deregulated farming pollution. He has circumvented the Clean Water Act and dismissed EPA leaders dissents. This is just more of his legacy he has solidified for his future grandchildren and yours.
The Rolling Stone article details so many other last minute, little front news regulations, that I am too troubled to even list them all!
All of us will be affected by his decisions. Involved in our industry, what do you think? Please comment!
In 1973 a sci-fi movie called “Soylent Green” was released. It was a story about Earth and humanity (or lack of humanity) in the year 2022. I was about 12 years old and can remember almost every detail of that film. Quoting from the plot summary (IMDb), in the movie “natural food like fruits, vegetables, and meat among others are now extinct. Earth is overpopulated and New York City has 40 million starving, poverty stricken people. In the year 2022, earth’s face has completely changed. The greenhouse effect has risen the temperature into nearly unbearable regions, and the people are kept in the cities by law.”
So why on a civil engineering blog do I talk about one of the most realistic science fiction movies I have ever seen? Because in 1973 the idea of global warming was something only that Democratic, young generation even worried about. In 2008, the news, conferences and marches on DC are all discussing the Earth’s peril. In 1973 the concept of overcrowding, loss of precious farm land and national parks, water shortages, natural food shortages were all concepts for the “Soylent Green” Charlton Heston movie ~ not reality! That movie was 35 years ago. The plot becoming a reality is just around the corner. As civil engineers, and those of us non engineers interested in the civil engineering world, we can act to help the environmental disaster from occurring. Great civil engineering minds are creatively devising new water treatment plants to deal with pollution and high speed rails to reduce individual automobile traffic.