Monday, January 4, 2010

A Green New Year

Happy New Year! And new decade!

I have decided to make some changes by focusing more on Green (education, cities, and living). As you know I recently relocated back to Austin (from Pensacola). The cityscape is totally changed from when I left 3 years ago. And not for the better.

Austin, of course, is much larger than Pensacola. There are several new very tall buildings shaping the Austins skyline now, dwarfing, actually rendering invisible, the Capitol Building.

And driving around the city I couldn't help but be struck by the seemingly endless miles of plain brown roofs on huge apartment complexes (which are plentiful here), and the rising walls of steel and glass on our new downtown. NO GREEN ANYWHERE!

After having conducted intensive studies on green living during the past six months, I was particularly dismayed - and disgusted - that apparently no one (or very few) buildings in Austin are actually taking advantage of the many possibilities there are to make our environment not only healthier, but more beautiful.

I learned about green roofs which can provide assistance with heating and cooling, flowers, food, reduce stormwater runoff, provide water for use in the building, areas of retreat, rest and recreation for workers or children in day care (yes, we would have fences). I learned about vertical gardens (indoors and out) - actually, the fantastic Whole Foods store downtown has an impressive inner vertical garden. I learned about vertical farming - on skyscrapers!

Instead of green, it seems that the Austin landscape is an endless array of brown shingles, glass and steel all just soaking up the heat from the sun (and, by the way, a very noticeable lack of photovoltaics!)

I think I'll investigate this more.

AND I am in the process of creating a new curriculum unit on green living and education, and I have an idea for a new global collaborative classrooms project - very exciting stuff!

Happy New Year!


Charlie said...

These guys are actually doing vertical farming and it works:

Lushe said...

I have some DIY vertical garden options.


Anne Shaw, Director, 21st Century Schools said...

Thank you, Charlie and Lushe, for taking the time to read my blog and to respond with some wonderful resources. I will add them to my web site on the Green Corner!