Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The brainstorming sessions were extremely helpful in terms of deciding the best approach in relaying an environmental message to the public. It seems as time went on and we had the contribution of outside speakers with their specified areas of interest manipulating the ways in which they communicated messages to the public, the class also became more dynamic.
The most unsuccessful portion of the project I believe was the disparity in knowledge base and the distribution of workload. This is something that has been discussed thoroughly in class discussions and so I believe it may not be worth going into further depth about.
I do think the critique by Laura was helpful and also think a second one would have given even more guidance. It may have been good to have her come in after the first few weeks of preliminary idea development to reinforce what exactly they were expecting to ensure there was cohesion between the students and TNC. I think this would have prevented miscommunications down the road especially once more concrete work was done on the designs.
I had never really thought about aspects of environmental communication before especially with such a strong focus on advertising to a specified audience. I think this project expanded my perspective on environmentalism’s role within the world around us. And taught me the variety of ways you can take a subject matter and morph it to more appropriately fit a given context.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
The speaker emphasized how restoration in urban areas can cause tensions between citizens and the overall goals of the park district. Because of the invasive techniques sometimes used in restoring an area to its previous natural state, people may mistake the efforts as destructive. It makes me wonder about the human role within the environment and the recent field of restoration. We believe that it is our responsibility to “fix” the environment because of the damage and manipulation humans have already taken part in. However, the line is not distinct between how much is driven by natural process and where the effects of human processes begin. Therefore, we are taking a risk in assuming what actually defines “native” when humans, through use of technology, have manipulated their environment since our existence. It is believed that a great portion of the rainforest, after historical observations, is composed of nonnative flora. This alters our foundational idea of preservation whose traditional goal is to conserve the natural state of the land and its resources. This alteration of our surroundings, I don’t believe is always something that should be corrected. Similar to ideas presented in Cradle to Cradle, humans cannot deny our strong presence within the environment and to some degree, we should not feel like we have to apologize for it. I believe the benefits of restoration undoubtedly outweigh the drawbacks, but I think it is very important to continually ask what exactly we are restoring to and why. Critically assessing our impact is the only sustainable pathway to change.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
(do you think this article is promoting urban forestry?)
Urban Forestry and Climate Change
What's a city-dweller to do — you want to help fight climate change, but does planting trees in the city really make a difference? Can urban forests help sequester carbon and offset emissions?
Read what our conservation scientist has to say, and when you're done reading, send us your questions
Jack Capp of Fort Collins, Colorado, writes:
I am interested in knowing how we can combat climate change and enhance carbon sequestration by planting trees, both hardwoods and conifers. I would like to help my city plant trees to help offset carbon released — can you send me information on how planting trees can help?
Jeff Fiedler, a climate and forest specialist, responds:
Planting urban forests can be an effective way to combat climate change. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis as they grow, and "sequester" or store the carbon as biomass in their trunks, branches, roots and leaves.
Interestingly, however, the primary benefit from urban trees is usually from energy savings not carbon sequestration:
Well-placed urban trees can shade buildings and surfaces, significantly reducing heating and cooling needs.
Deciduous trees can provide shade in summer and allow passive solar heating in winter.
Coniferous trees provide a year-round wind break.
Trees also indirectly cool urban neighborhoods through evapotranspiration.
While all trees sequester some carbon, the rate of sequestration varies by tree species, soil type, climate and topography of the region and management. This is why The Nature Conservancy supports policies to reduce tropical deforestation, as well as efforts to restore degraded forests by replanting native trees in appropriate locations, both internationally and domestically.
Urban trees tend to have lower sequestration rates than non-urban forests. They are typically planted more sparsely, grow more slowly and have higher mortality rates. In addition, urban trees require significantly more maintenance (e.g., pruning to avoid utility lines, which can involve use of fossil fuels), and land is more limited and costly.
On balance, while urban tree planting can provide local energy savings and considerable aesthetic benefits, as well as habitat benefits for local birds and insects if native trees are used, a comprehensive city offset program might also consider planting trees in non-urban areas elsewhere. While not providing the same immediate local benefits, the sequestration potential would likely be much higher. And lowering carbon emissions anywhere benefits everyone.
Resources:A great local resource for you in Fort Collins is the Colorado Tree Coalition.
A statewide resource is the Colorado Carbon Fund, which is developing in-state carbon offset projects in the agriculture and forest sectors.
Ok so when I read this it kinda sounded like they were talking crap on urban forestry and that urban forestry only saves energy and doesn't sequester carbon effiecently. What do you think?