Components of sustainable communities
I live in Richmond British Columbia. Richmond is a geographically exquisite and cultural diverse community that is located on the West Coast of Canada in Metro Vancouver. With unique features such as the Richmond Olympic Oval, Stevenson Fishing Village and Canada Line transit system, Richmond continues to experience change and growth.
Richmond has a recommendable environmental health with a number of inclusive services designed to ensure a livable, clean and sustainable community for the current and future generations. Most of the environmental activities that impact health positively are done by the Environmental Programs Department through different programs. For instance, the Blue Box and Blue Cart Recycling service fosters weekly curbside collection for recycling glass, empty aerosol cans, plastic/paper drink cups, tin and aluminum containers, paper and newsprint, plastic containers, milk cartons and spiral wound containers. The Green Cart Recycling service fosters the collection of waste for recycling food scraps and yard trimmings (Richmond.ca, 2017). Richmond also has a Recycling Depot for purposes of drop-off service for products ranging from household items, yard trimmings, take-back program products, as well as, harmful materials (Richmond.ca, 2017). The Depot also caters for the sale of rain barrels, Garbage Vouchers, compost bins and Garbage Tags. The city also provides environmental services such as composting at homes, litter collection, large item pick-up program and curbside garbage collection. Richmond also works in close partnership with teachers, students and the School District by sponsoring awareness programs, educational shows and volunteer programs with the aim of increasing understanding of the benefits of reducing waste and recycling. Some of the activities that impact environmental health negatively include airport noise, mosquito breeding sites and smoking. Noise pollution in Richmond is caused by the airport noise, but the city formulated the Richmond Airport Noise Citizens Advisory Task Force to address the noise emanating from the airport. Richmond also has mosquito breeding sites along the City storm water ditch system and the Sturgeon Bank marshland that is a danger to health, but the city has contracted the Health Department to address the health hazard posed by the mosquitoes. Smoking is another activity that impacts health negatively. However, through the restrictions imposed by the city, the health hazard that is smoking is contained.
Richmond British Columbia has a vast array of schools, public transport systems, as well as, health care and recreational facilities. For instance, Richmond is famous throughout Vancouver for its quality Recreation and Community Centre, Trail, Parks and Cycling Routes and its Culture, Arts and Heritage facilities. The city has seventy-three kilometers of trails, 1950 acres of park land and sixty kilometers of on road cycling paths (Richmond.ca, 2017). Richmond also has an extensive system of one hundred and forty-five parks that provide sports and recreation amenities in all neighborhoods in addition to other recreational activities such as arenas, tennis courts, picnic areas, community centers, picnic areas, running tracks, lacrosse boxes, golf courses, pools and playing fields. These recreational amenities contribute to the health and quality of life in Richmond. Cultural facilities in Richmond include a performing arts theater, arts center, museums, heritage sites, libraries, arts gallery and archives. Richmond has a well-defined access and transportation system. The city is connected to neighboring lower mainland cities by a tunnel and series of bridges. Two major freeways feed into the city and there are also two railway lines and a rapid transit line. Two international seaports also form part of Richmond’s access and transportation system with the Vancouver International Airport located on Sea Island in the city. The report by Statistics Canada shows that people in Richmond, British Columbia have the longest life expectancy in Canada with an average of 85.7 years which is four years longer than the national average of 81.1 years.
The sentiments of the people are taken into account by the key decision-makers in Richmond, British Columbia. The city values inclusivity and has created various avenues for the residents to air their views regarding a number of issues affecting them directly or indirectly. Moreover, the city seeks public opinion when addressing key issues so as to ensure that the residents are not affected negatively by the decisions made by key decision-makers. People are also encouraged to put forward complaints whenever they feel that there is an unjust action that has been taken by the key decision-makers in Richmond, British Columbia.
The two components of sustainable communities that I consider most important to me and my community are governance and environmentally sensitive community. An environmentally sensitive community is one that is actively seeking to minimize climate change and its effects by encouraging or fostering recycling, saving water and assumes the responsibility of home building, as well as, maintaining safer, cleaner and greener neighborhoods. My definition of good governance is one that entails a well-run community whereby local citizens are involved in all community decision-making processes with the community enjoying a sense of responsibility, civic values and pride. These are the two components of sustainable communities that I advocate for in Richmond, British Columbia where I stay.
Richmond.ca. (2017). City of Richmond BC – Environmental Programs. Richmond.ca. Retrieved 4 October 2017, from https://www.richmond.ca/cityhall/departments/epw/environment.htm
Richmond.ca. (2017). City of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada – Discover. Richmond.ca. Retrieved 4 October 2017, from https://www.richmond.ca/discover/overview.htm
The calculator provided a reasonable estimate of my Ecological Footprint. According to the Global Footprint Network Footprint Calculator, I would require two and a half earths to survive if I continue leading the same kind of lifestyle. This is because my contribution to climate change is significant and can cause sustenance problems. I found that while the food I eat does not directly result in climate change and environmental degradation, my mode of transportation and energy consumption are direct causes of environmental degradation. This is because my mode of transport does not only result in carbon emissions but also conserves less energy. The same goes for the house I stay whereby most of my appliances are not energy efficient.
Decreasing my Ecological Footprint by 25% requires more energy conservation and less emission of carbon into the earth’s atmosphere. I intend to be more energy efficient by utilizing renewable energy as this is a direct path to decreasing my Ecological Footprint and mitigating climate change. Some of the things I’ll do include riding a bicycle, taking a transit or walking instead of driving alone at least once a week. I also intend to make diet choices and reduce food waste in order to decrease my Ecological Footprint and attain a sustainable status. In as much as every fuel powered vehicle emits harmful gases into the atmosphere, I can reduce my level of carbon emissions into the atmosphere by using a ‘green’ vehicle for transport, that is, one that does not emit a lot of greenhouse gases. I believe that with these changes in my lifestyle, that is, the food I eat, my mode of transport and appliance, I will be able to decrease my Ecological Footprint by twenty-five percent.
Components of sustainable communities