In the past few years, the world has had to face the challenges of climate change and pollution. But what about the cities that are getting bigger every day? According to the United Nations, urbanization is expected to increase by 70% by 2030. This is great news for the economy, but there is a major problem - The big cities are polluting the environment, and they need to change their habits if they want to survive in the next few decades. Let me cite a recent example from New Jersey.
A real estate builder has proposed a townhouse and apartment complex in Oakland, New Jersey. Local residents, opposing the project, say runoff from the complex could pollute the neighbouring Pond Brook, and the storm water may flow into a lake a mile away. Apart from this, the opponents are concerned about the project runoffs causing exacerbated flooding. The mayor, of Oakland, New Jersey, also has been pointing out to a previous project that has created lot's of water problems.
How to live sustainably in megacities.
Cities are expanding at an alarming rate and the number of people living in them is only continuing to increase. The impacts of this rapid growth have not been fully studied, and as the number of people living in them increases, the need to live sustainably becomes even more important.
Citing another example is that of a megacity like Bangalore in India, that's growing at a rapid rate. But the environmental impact of this growth is causing flash floods in the city. Cities are designed to be efficient and they accomplish this by making it easy for people to move around and find what they need. However, if the local government takes due efforts, and can attract global funding to redevelop the city, such megacities can become more sustainable and less reliant on fossil fuels.
And this is also applicable to smaller cities, where rapid growth is a major contributor to pollution, climate change and resource scarcity. If the city government makes a concerted effort to reduce their carbon footprint, create public transportation and harness renewable energy, they can become more sustainable places to live.
All said and done, there are a few things that individuals too can do to live sustainably in a city. Like, everyone should use public transportation when moving around in a city. Not only is it more eco-friendly, but it's also cheaper than paying for parking, and it's a great way to make new friends. Next, trying to walk or ride a bike when you can. When we're walking or riding a bike, we're burning calories, which can help us to lose weight too.
There's more that individuals too can do to live sustainably in a city. Like buying things second hand. This allows you to get rid of things that you no longer use while not contributing to the production of new material goods.
The next thing that individuals can do to live sustainably in a city is to urge the government to develop greenbelts. That is, a network of parks and protected areas. Some of these greenbelts can have trails that people can use to ride bicycles, while others can be used by bird watchers and others to walk their dogs.
Some people are helping other live better by moving to suburbs. By investing in independent houses, these people are taking some load of the megacities. And in the process, showing how AI and Nanotechnology can help make the world a better place.
The impact of cities on the environment.
When people move from rural areas to urban areas, they often move to areas that are near a body of water. This can have a big impact on the environment. Why do people tend to move in this way? And what are some environmental impacts of cities?
Being closer to a water source helps people to use it for transportation or to have a place to fish and swim. As a result, many environmental impacts are present near these areas. These can include water pollution from runoff of city streets and industries, noise pollution from ships and boats, and air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels.
Then today's cities are extremely energy inefficient, because a lot of the energy is used to transport people and goods from place to place. As cities become too big, it's more difficult for the environment to recover. On the contrary, if cities are too small, it's difficult for people to find jobs. Either ways, they negatively impact the economy.
Can green buildings bring some relief? Like architects designing sustainable homes where energy efficiency ranks big and designers pull all stops to build residential spaces that impact the environment in the least possible way. Then using eco-friendly appliances selected on their Energy Star rating, with LED Lighting and water conservation fixtures in tow. So architects can install solar heating features that not only supply Renewable Energy but also can feed surplus into the local grid.
It's finding that right balance.
Sustainable development is the idea of balancing economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection. These three dimensions form the basis for future development strategies that seek to maximize synergies and minimize trade-offs. To improve quality of life for current generations without compromising the prospects for future generations. And to be successful, sustainable development requires the participation of all stakeholders including government, the private sector, and civil society. Each stakeholder group has a unique role to play in the sustainable development process.
The government is responsible for establishing institutions, policies and regulations that support sustainable development. The private sector plays a role in creating new business models and innovation that will drive development. Civil society is responsible for educating and engaging citizens to participate in sustainable.
It's about finding the right balance. Here I quote my earlier article, that talks about artificial intelligence and Nanotechnology, and how these are the biggest game changers for Humanity in the fight against climate change. And based on above discussions, I am of the opinion that AI and Nanotechnology can help mankind build a more sustainable future.