More than half the people on earth now live in cities. Cities are responsible for 2/3 of global greenhouse gas pollution. Not content to shoot for a Nobel Peace Prize, like some, the Clinton Foundation, and their Climate Initiative, want to do something proactive.
They’ve announced a program in partnership with USGBC to support development of large urban communities that will be “climate positive”, meaning they will reduce CO2 emissions to below zero. Some other features:
- Reuse and recycle water
- Reuse waste and sewage for energy
- Prioritize sustainable transportation
- Use ultra-efficient buildings
- Make money for the developer and be a benefit to the surrounding community
When these projects are complete, nearly 1 million people will live in climate positive communities (0.015 percent of the earth’s population, in case you were wondering). Projects in North America include Destiny, Florida, Dockside Green in Victoria, BC, Toronto Waterfront – Lower Don Lands, and Treasure Island Redevelopment Project in San Francisco. The full list of projects can be found in the press release.
I think I tend to get carried away by grand jestures like this, but I’m really glad that organizations like USGBC are getting organized enough to show people that addressing the climate crisis does NOT mean destroying the economy.
Is it just me, or did APA get scooped here? USGBC has one rating system related to community development (that is still in pilot) that represents only a tiny fraction of new development while the American Planning Association has been around for over 100 years in some form and has 43,000 members with planners employed in a huge range of cities, towns and private practice. Are we so mired in the minutiae of day-to-day activity that we can’t take on visionary projects? Or is it just that APA views itself as an educational and professional certification organization rather than a project participant? I hope it’s the latter, because since its inception, USGBC has out-hustled APA in media-savviness and headline-grabiness.