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Green Infrastructure, Earth Day and Global Awareness

April 22, 2010

Green Infrastructure, Earth Day and Global Awareness – A Guest Contribution by Dan Grifen on Earth Day, community activity and efforts to integrate sustainability into infrastructure development

Spring 2010 is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and there’s a lot of buzz around topics like the economy, taxation, global poverty, restoration in Haiti/Chile, and lastly, environmental awareness.  With spring, Earth Day draws nearer ( today – April 22nd); as individuals, we must remember and realize the importance of global warming and all of its implications.

Topics relevant to Earth Day discussed as of late include burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and green building.   As nations like Haiti and Chile prepare for rebuilding and new construction, there are many factors to consider when advancing.  Moving towards cleaner, greener infrastructure is vital in ensuring a successful restoration campaign.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a 501(3)(c) non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everybody.  It’s one of the many organizations playing its role in green progression.  Heavy discussion surrounds green topics,  including deforestation, green crops, clothing, energy, and much more. It’s important that we as individuals/citizens stay up-to-date on important global topics like global warming. 

As organizations like the CGI (Clinton Global Initiative), AFH (Architecture for Humanity), and the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) conducts sustainability campaigns and enforce strict green constraints, our world will continue to become a better, cleaner place. 

The Clinton Global Initiative has been pursuing an emission reduction plan in the San Francisco Bay area.  Meanwhile, CEO of GEC (Globetrotters Engineering Corporation), Niranjan Shah, is underway with green building projects in Chicago, IL.  In addition to these few national examples in the US, green infrastructure, particularly in places like Haiti, has become an integral part of restoration and construction.

Ecologically sustainable design comes into play when considering the implications of economic viability and long term sustainability when posing the question, “Can Haiti really make it through all the costs of repair and reconstruction?”.  Infrastructure can take a toll on any economy if the funds aren’t there.

Development goes hand in hand with aspects such as meeting modern day LEED standards and approaching this in a “greener” sense. Organizations like Architecture for Humanity will make this possible.  Architecture for Humanity (1999) is a nonprofit design services firm building “a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.”  It was formulated through a group of building professionals whose overwhelming passion for construction drove them to provide a way for underdeveloped, suffering countries to rebuild.  Through their dedication and hard work, these people will be able to not only create new buildings and infrastructure, but make them bigger, better, and greener.

To touch on just some of the things that AFH covers:

• Alleviating poverty and providing access to water, sanitation, power and essential services

• Bringing safe shelter to communities prone to disaster and displaced populations

• Rebuilding community and creating neutral spaces for dialogue in post-conflict areas

• Mitigating the effects of rapid urbanization in unplanned settlements

• Creating spaces to meet the needs of those with disabilities and other at-risk populations

• Reducing the footprint of the built environment and addressing climate change

As polluters continue to buy their way out of Carbon Cuts globally, and large organizations continue to dump their waste into lakes, ponds and rivers, communities must play their role in ensuring sustainability.  Organizations like the CGI, AFH, and USGBC provide oxygen for discussion, policy change momentum, and a model for integrated sustainable development. 

Most of the results from warming and climate change are small or unnoticeable now, but our youth and future generations will experience first-hand the effects of pollutants and unsustainable development efforts.

Feel free to visit to learn more about what you can do to support your world.

((c) Dan Grifen
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