Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities

Greening a destination – how to make a city or community sustainable?

For simplicity, we are using the UN’s definition of sustainability:

A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainability Triple Bottom Line graphic: People, Planet, Profit.

According to Wikipedia a sustainable city, is a city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated to minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane and water pollution.

San Francisco Green City Winner. Photo courtesy of Siemens Green City Index report

Cities compete with each other globally for the attention of investors. Almost every municipality sites sustainability as one of its key targets, but it is often not clear as to how this declaration translates into action, or if the actions that are taken go beyond green window dressing.

Bacolod City Official website screen shot

Bacolod City – green or green window dressing?

The first step when steering towards urban sustainability is visible greening: planting trees, promoting subsistence gardening or saving wetlands for birds.

Sustainable Tourism Development Workshop in Villa Ica, Don Salvador Benedicto

Making Don Salvador Benedicto a true Eco-destination – A Sustainable Tourism Workshop

The next steps are environmental measures which bring social and economic benefits. Health concerns can put emphasis on quality of water, provision of ecological waste management and cleaner energy.

The Coron Initiative - the making of a sustainable destination

The Coron Initiative -Greening Coron for future generations

Waste management can also turn into business, when sorting produces material for local crafts people and bio waste becomes a source of energy. Clogged sewers lead to a ban on plastic bags while lessons about ecosystem services are learned when rivers are cleaned and watersheds are managed in an effort to prevent flooding.

Public Market trash, Bacolod City. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco

Bacolod City’s Public Market trash. Photo courtesy of Lisa de Leon-Zayco’s Facebook posts

Climate change & environmental degradation effects in Boracay Island

Flooding at the World’s 2nd Best Beach! Climate change & environmental havoc

Almost every city in the world is dealing with an influx of people from different ethnic backgrounds, and cultural events play an important part in creating a sense of pride in the community and are promoted as a means to support minorities. Cultural heritage is increasingly understood as a resource to be kept alive, both for visitors to cities and for the people who live there.

Bacolod City's Electric Masskara - A sustainable festival??? photo courtesy of sunstar.com

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects AND authenticty disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial.

In the cities that try to fake it, the grassroots heritage aspects and authenticity disappear as events grow bigger and more commercial. Major events that require substantial investment, such as festivals and sporting events  do not always enhance quality of life for local communities after the television cameras have left.

Tokyo -heritage conservation & environmental protection IS the life and culture of the people

Tokyo – the masters of Waste Management & 3R’s –      Reduce, Reuse, Recyle

Some cities are aware of the links between global targets and local actions. Sustainability measures are taken at the local level, including investment in renewable energy and efficiency requirements for local buildings. More advanced cities broaden the focus to cover social impact and how sustainable development policy is delivered. WATCH TOKYO WASTE MANAGEMENT video.

Sustainable city Seoul - urban development with environmental protection

Sustainable Seoul – urban development with environmental conservation

Refurbishment of existing buildings becomes big business, public transport systems are improved and sustainable public procurement practices are introduced.

U.N. Shanghai Manual for Sustainable Cities

Shanghai Manual – helping leaders of the world’s cities use integrated urban planning, management, financing and technology to green their economies and build climate and economic resilience.

While all these aspects constitute progress, it is misguided to think that they combine to create urban sustainability. True systemic change is missing from the picture. Progress to date has been far too slow and incremental changes to business as usual don’t go far enough.

Climate change mitigation & flood water management- Boracay band-aid style solution!

Boracay’s White Beach downright degradation- flood water flushed out on White Beach!

The tough road ahead will have to include holistic visions, integrated planning and brave strategies to implement them. For this to become a reality, the language of money must become more about sustainability, renewable energy sources must be fully integrated into urban infrastructure and the pedestrian must become king of the road.

Source: The Guardian

Visiting Shanghai's Urban Planning Museum

Visiting Shanghai’s Urban Planning Museum. Shanghai established ECO CITY framework in 2010.

 

Do positive. Do not wait for another disaster to do your part on mitigating climate change.

DO POSITIVE. Learn the lessons from disasters: think SUSTAINABLE.  TAKE ACTION.  Demand from your political representatives to do their job, WORK towards healthy and clean ENVIRONMENT  and community!

Green Growth, Climate Change solutions, the grassroots way. Our Sustainability initiatives includes Capacity Building and Training towards sustainable cities, communities and greening destinations based on RIO +21 Agenda,  Shanghai Manual & UNWTO to include Good Governance, Resilience, Disaster Preparedness and Management, Greening Events/Festivals, Sustainable Tourism development  with Green Hotels, Clean Blue Asia & Zero Carbon Resorts.  Educational programs can be customized for public and private stakeholders, local government units, private businesses and the local community of potential and emerging ecotourism sites.

 Learn more from: sustainabilityguruvisit our Society for Sustainable Tourism & Development Inc. website or contact SSTDI on how we can help.

 

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2 Responses to “Sustainability 101. Towards sustainable cities and communities”

  1. […] Planting trees, as well as promoting local farms and gardens. Next, is to reduce waste by having a waste management program and integrating it if possible with a clean/renewable energy source. Informing the local people of ways to be more green and promoting these activities are a must as well. Finally as I mentioned on my previous blog, creating an infrastructure for green public transport and encouraging people to walk and ride bikes as well. Source. […]

  2. FOLLOW Conscientiously…
    3R’s- Reduce-reuse-recycle…
    Sustainable-Ecological-development…
    101%- waste segregation-separation-dispossal into Bio-biproduct..
    H.E.L.P.E.D—-Housing and
    -Employment
    -Labor for
    -People
    -Empowerring the
    -Development……
    LOVED mother E A R T H…..

    Regards to all consciousness _RCV

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