ENVI 201 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Donora, Pennsylvania, 1948 Donora Smog, Student Engagement

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Guest speaker
Sustainability, local policy, and neighborhood planning
4 things:
Sustainability is not just about protecting the environment
Cities do not act alone
Sustainability policies must be broadly constructed
Local knowledge is very important to policymaking
Why do local municipalities (govt) act on issues of local, regional, and/or global
sustainability?
They worry about short-term issues, but sustainability community action involves
long-term benefits
Environmental issues are commons problems
Environment +equity+economy =sustainability
How many local governments in the US?
States: 50
Counties: 3144
Municipalities: 19,522 (cities, villageS)
Townships: 16,364
Question asked → what are your sustainability policies?
Found that most places care about economic development, less than half
prioritized environmental protection, only 26% care about social equity
Do you have a sustainability plan?
Only ⅓ thought about one
The places where most people live (smaller towns) are the places that acted the
least on this
Energy projects taken on my governments are the easy things (energy efficient
appliances), very few are doing the hard things (installing geothermal systems)
Killer smog → Donora, Pennsylvania into Webster, Pennsylvania
It wasn't just one town's problem, it affected a nearby town
1950/60s → federal government fixed big issues through small acts → point sources
More complex problems: land use planning, nonpoint source pollution
Multilevel governance/co production of policy
Rogue River Watershed, Michigan
Local and central governments were co-producing policies for cleanup
Why do local governments act?
Saving money!!
Ethics/drive of officials
They Are seeing the impact of climate change
Municipal utilities ?
Economic development
Neighborhood heritage and sustainability project
Community based research
Student engagement and training
Participatory action planning
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