Dec 14, 2018
“You have to start with empowering people at the local level...You’ve got to do a combination of bottom up and top down...Everything is interconnected.”
Karen Lightman on Green
A community in Pittsburgh was alarmed by the high rate of asthma and related illnesses in their children and cardiovascular diseases in their adults and attributed them to pollutants from the Shenanago Coke Works facility, which baked coal to produce coke used in making steel. When they were rebuffed by the Allegheny County Health Department and the EPA, they leveraged data to make their case and eventually got the plant shut down. Emergency room visits for asthma and related illnesses decreased 37.6% and those for cardiovascular diseases declined 26.5%
The brand new National Climate Assessment, developed and published by the federal government, warns us that, “The impacts of climate change are already being felt in communities across the country...(and) are expected to continue to damage infrastructure, ecosystems, and social systems that provide essential benefits to communities. Future climate change is expected to further disrupt many areas of life.”
Listen to my enlightening interview with Karen Lightman, Executive Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Metro21: Smart Cities Institute, who spoke with me after a recent forum at the Brookings Institution. You'll hear:
1. How to address the challenges as an ecosystem - “Cities and communities in general are a system of systems... everything is interconnected.”
2. Why starting local matters - but isn't enough.
3. How to get good data and use it effectively.
4. Who to partner with to make a difference for your community.
5. How schools at every level are critical - and how to leverage them.
“Build public-private partnerships… (including partnering with universities, because) they are a place of innovation and...diversity…and they often deploy pilot projects using the city as a test bed.”
Karen Lightman on Green Connections Radio
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