Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 11 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Norweice Anderson, Cheyenne Hassan, and Jeff Uckotter.

Week 11 Journal Prompt

While there has been near-gridlock at the U.S. federal level concerning addressing climate changes, some states and cities have been developing their own climate change adaptation and/or mitigation plans. Investigate whether Cincinnati, your hometown, or the state of Ohio appears to be strategizing ways to address climate change. (Probably you will find that at least one of these entities is taking some kind of climate change action. If not, look for climate change policies and plans adopted by nearby cities or states.) Describe the efforts one of these cities/states is pursuing to address climate change, citing sources as necessary. Do you think that these efforts are sufficient? If yes, explain why. If not, explain other steps you think the city/state should be taking. Highlight web links where a reader could find more information about the climate change efforts you are describing. Your narrative should be 6–9 paragraphs.

Norweice's Week 11 Journal Entry

There has been near -gridlock at the U.S federal level, concerning addressing climate changes.Some states and cities however, have been developing there own climate change adaption and/or mitigation plans. The state of Maryland has been strategizing and taking action to address climate changes.

In 2007 through 2008 a series of meetings were held in effort to address climate changes. These meetings over viewed things such as carbon mitigation, and proposals of policies involving agriculture, energy supply, and transportation and land use. Strategies to reduce the vulnerability of the states coastal, natural, and cultural resources and communities impacts on climate change where being suggested by Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Maryland's Department of Planning MDP. In addition steps where taken further, as the group works to develop comprehensive strategies for reducing Maryland's vulnerability to climate change.

On April 20, 2007 an Executive Order was signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley to establish Maryland's climate change commission. The plans policy suggests adopting science-based regulatory goals. All this is an effort to submit to the Governor and the General Assembly during the 2012 legislative session.

Many actions have already been taken by Maryland starting back in 2007 the beginning of its climate change policy plans. Building resilience to climate change DNR's policy have been established to manage the land and resources with better understanding, to mitigate and adapt to climate change. On the state level, the comprehensive strategy for reducing Maryland's vulnerability to climate change is being coordinated and implemented by DNR, which is a key part of Maryland's climate action plan.

I believe these efforts Maryland have planned are sufficient. The steps that Maryland are taking recognize the risk to the citizens, ecosystems, and infrastructure. They have implemented a greenhouse gas reduction act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.

With these efforts and policy plans Maryland is showing that it's future climate change situations are top priority. Maryland continues to implement the plans that they have set in place to continue action towards better climate change medication.I truly believe all of its efforts are sufficient.

Works Cited, Maryland Climate Change Initiatives ,Copyright 2013 Maryland Climate Change Advisory Group, All Rights Reserved., Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Gene Deems DNR Internet and Information Technology Manager

Cheyenne's Week 11 Journal Entry

Growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, more specifically Escanaba, MI, I was surrounded by organic farms, small family-owned shops, and national parks such as Pictured Rocks. The feeling in the Upper Peninsula is to respect the land you live on, and to produce as little waste as possible. Most people back home recycled and locally grew most in-season vegetables or fruits. For this blog entry, I plan on discussing multiple large-scale efforts to reduce emissions and become more "green" in both Marquette, MI and surrounding areas.

One of the first efforts I found was the introduction of LEED Certified buildings within campuses found in the Upper Peninsula both Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI and Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI have both made efforts with the LEED Certified program to convert a majority of the buildings on campus to become more energy efficient as well as lower emission rates within the universities. (McVicar 2012) University of Cincinnati also participates in this program and the results have been outstanding, by drastically cutting down both energy use and emissions.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is an organization that deals with climate change impacts and solutions that can be done, or have been done, to help lower the damage of increased greenhouse gases. A campaign has been started with help from this organization called the International Cities for Climate Change Protection Campaign which has been tackling energy efficiency, small-scale use of renewable energy, reducing waste, etc. across cities in the Great Lake region. This includes cities such as Marquette, Houghton, and Escanaba. Also, reduction of carbon dioxide in terms of forestry and agriculture have been hot topics when talking about the Upper Peninsula since the agriculture industry is such a huge part of the lifestyle and economy. Protecting forests from logging, increasing/maintaining urban tree cover, and also teaching good agricultural and land-use practices have all been done in the Upper Peninsula. (Union of Concerned Scientists 2009)

With the Great Lakes becoming more polluted than ever it has become a collaborative effort between Great Lake regions, including the Upper Peninsula, and Canada to keep them as clean as possible. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement was signed first in 1972, and it's most recent changes were done in 1987. The US and Canada have decided to resign the agreement in hopes to update the information to better help protect the Great Lakes. (Stark, Water Quality) With Marquette and Escanaba, MI (including most large towns found in the U.P.) being right on the lakes this has become quite an important factor in the day to day lives of Michigan citizens.

One of the biggest environmental efforts is easily done by the community, which I touched on earlier in this post. From both high school students, to graduate students, to normal adults living with the U.P. Michigan community, almost everyone cares about the environment. One effort I found by searching the Mining Journal, was a story about Negaunee High School in Marquette, MI, and the efforts of the student body to start a large scale sneaker recycle program. For three years students and teachers have been collecting shoes from the student body in efforts to not only distribute them internationally to developing countries, but also to stop from these worn-out shoes to be sitting in a dump somewhere in Michigan. (Stark, Old Sneakers)

Marquette has been chosen in multiple situations to talk about climate change because it is so susceptible to the effects. There was a recent congregation of people from the Citizens of Forum at Lakeview Arena to discuss climate change in not only Michigan, but within the U.S. Individuals from all over the Upper Peninsula discussed how climate change effects their own lives, Marquette, and the rest of the U.P. Michigan. The public was allowed to make suggestions in ways to reduce waste, what they would like to see happen in the Upper Peninsula in terms of stopping climate change effects, and also the new science that has come out about climate change. This allows for a high amount of public awareness, and also for citizens to feel a part of what is happening in their local government in terms of climate change. (Smerika 2013)

Personally, I think that the Upper Peninsula Michigan is a rare place in terms of environmental protection and how much the citizens themselves care about what happens to the surrounding ecosystems. Marquette, MI as well as surrounding cities and colleges have made efforts in both infrastructure and the implementation of recycling programs in high schools and around the towns. Also, the U.P. Michigan plays a large role in keeping the Great Lakes clean by having the ability to sign petitions including the one previously talked about with Canada. U.P. Michigan not only has a local government that takes action in terms of having more energy efficient buildings and the large reduction of waste, but also listens to the citizens when dealing with issues. Public awareness of climate change is high in the U.P. Michigan, and I feel that is why this region is so successful in keeping a green economy.

Works Cited
"LEED Green Building Certification." Northern Michigan University. Web. <>.

McVicar, Brian. " 9 comments Achieving LEED Gold certification at Grand Rapids’ Old Federal Building a victory for Kendall College." Michigan Live. 05 DEC 2012: Web. <>.

"Confront the Challenge." Climate Change in Michigan. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2009. Web. 25 Mar 2013. <>. 

Stark, Jackie. "US, Canada to Sign Water Quality Pact." Mining Journal. 07 SEPT 2012: n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <>.

Stark, Jackie. "Old Sneakers Find New Life in Recycle Program." Mining Journal. 24 FEB 2012: n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <>.

Smerika, Molly. "Public Voices Concern About Climate Change." Michigan State University. 15 FEB 2013: n. page. Web. 25 Mar. 2013. <

Jeff's Week 11 Journal Entry

While there has been near-gridlock at the U.S. federal level concerning addressing climate changes, some states and cities have been developing their own climate change adaptation and/or mitigation plans. Cincinnati, Ohio is no different, and in June of 2008, Cincinnati devised its own climate change adaptation plan known as The Green Cincinnati Plan. The plan is dedicated to comprehensively greening the city and therefore is geared towards climate change considerations. The plan was last updated in early 2013. According to the City of Cincinnati, such topics covered in the plan are as follows: food, waste, land, energy, renewable energy, and transportation (OEQ, 2013). While all of the topics covered are important, for length considerations, only two topics will be covered in briefly: transportation and land management. Since I am in the planning school, these topics interest me most.

Transportation is an important issue that affects the city because transportation is the city’s veins. Without proper transportation, the city is nothing. People and social capital, who fill up the city buildings make the city – not the physical buildings. The right kind of transportation is key. The right kind of transportation includes the use of less fossil fuels. According to the City of Cincinnati, the rationale for including transportation in this green plan is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,

Transportation is the second largest greenhouse gas sector behind the emissions from the building sector. The 2009 City of Cincinnati’s greenhouse gas inventory calculated the emissions from the community’s transportation sector to be 1.8 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents. The largest impact on this figure is from the increased fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. Reducing the number of commuters who travel alone by vehicle from the current rate of 71 percent to 51 percent by adopting the best practices of our peer cities in carpooling, transit, walking, biking and telecommuting can reduce overall transportation emissions by 2 percent. An additional 2 percent reduction in emissions can be achieved by switching 10 percent of the relatively short distance personal errands and school trips to walking and biking (Cincinnati transit 2013, 2).

This paper will not go into the old Cincinnati Subway project of the 1920’s for if the project ever came to fruition, the Cincinnati Metropolitan area would have looked and acted completely different. (Ask me about it if you were unaware we have an unfinished subway). Nor will I go into the current streetcar proposal for the CBD which in fact would aid in greening the city. But, both would have been beneficial in curbing GHGs.

Throughout the transportation section, the city makes many recommendations. One of the main cogs of the recommendations in the transportation section of The Green Cincinnati Plan is to make the recommendation to reduce vehicle miles traveled. Other recommendations that the city makes is to make trips by biking or walking, shifting away from the method of the single occupancy vehicle, and using a diverse set of transportation techniques from walking to using the proposed streetcar that has not been built yet. According to the City of Cincinnati, efficiency of energy is very important “Becoming more efficient in our trips – more people per car, more efficient driving by combining trips, up-to-date maintenance of vehicles, investing in higher mileage vehicles to electric vehicles – is also important to making transportation in our city more effective (Cincinnati transit 2013, 1).” The recommendations then basically go into why it is important to be green. According to the City of Cincinnati,

Increasing the number of residents riding bicycles or using public transit and
promoting the use of fuel efficient or alternative fuel vehicles, will help decrease the
amount of traffic on our city’s roadways. This means less congestion when traveling and an increase in the lifespan of roads, decreasing the amount spent on construction maintenance. Greenhouse gas emissions are also significantly reduced as people use alternative modes of transportation and reduce reliance on SOVs. This will help improve air quality in the region, reduce smog and reduce health issues related to poor air quality (Cincinnati transit 2013, 2).

I chose to use an extended quote because this seems to be the hallmark of this theme of transportation in the hopes to mitigate EPA criteria pollutants and GHGs. Honestly, the city hit the nail on the head in the quote above by suggesting to use a more diverse array of alternative modes of transportation and less use of vehicles that GHGs. Of course, this is possible because some areas in the city limits are very much walkable or bikable or segwayable, or well you get the picture. The name of the game with a walkable city is density. Of course, the entire city does not boast good density. Some of the city is sprawled out. Concurrently, the Cincinnati Metropolitan area is VERY sprawled out which not help in the greenhouse gas department. So for example, if the Cincinnati metro area was less sprawled out, maybe due to the subway that never happened, maybe we would be having a little bit less of this talk. In the end, the perfect walkable community’s key trait is density. But because the subway never got finished and the automobile came about, highways became the norm of transportation, which prompts the release of GHGs. This was a bit that the city released on this very issue that I found enlightening,

Most of the City of Cincinnati was built on a framework of transit. Dense mixed use centers surrounded by single family neighborhoods are the bones of our City. The dense development downtown would not be possible without a transit system that can help minimize the need for oceans of parking lots and expensive parking structures. Areas such as Uptown, struggle with congestion and parking issues that limit the ability of institutions like Children’s Hospital and University of Cincinnati to expand. A more robust transit system could help these areas flourish (Cincinnati transit 2013, 4).

This idea of density due to transportation is a perfect Segway in the coming paragraphs when I look into the city’s wonderful suggestions regarding land management. Sprawl is bad and density is good. 

Another topic described in this Green Cincinnati Plan was that of land management. Before writing up this topic, I thought they would go with land management in the form of urban planning, but instead the city went more of a natural route with the idea of land management. The topic discussed here was essentially sustainable land use involving carbon sinks and urban forestry. While the idea of effective transportation is important, this notion is also important since trees and vegetation can act to mop or soak up some of the GHGs produced by transportation.

So, obviously having lots of trees is beneficial in the urban setting. Tree’s employ other benefits besides carbon sequestration. According to the City of Cincinnati, in their land use document, “Trees and native plantings have many positive sustainability impacts. Trees and native plantings can reduce runoff flows into combined sewers, improve water quality and slow down the rate at which stormwater enters creeks. Deciduous trees serve many environmental purposes: shade during the hot summer months, provide falling leaves that can be transformed into compost for the following year’s plantings, and allow the sun to shine through their branches in the winter. Other benefits of trees and native plantings include providing habitat for wildlife, increasing property values, reducing the urban heat island effect, and adding to the beauty of the city through flowering plants and autumn leaf color. (Cincinnati land 2013, 1-2).” In turn these are very important ideas because “greening” a city is generally not just done for aesthetic reasons; there is a method behind the madness. 

While the preceding paragraphs were just a taste of the material presented in the Green Cincinnati Plan, a boatload of other information is available to inform the public of Cincinnati’s agenda to curb GHGs and make Cincinnati greener. It is rather interesting. Listed at this link: is the gateway to all of the pertinent information. The city is undoubtedly addressing the issue of climate change and the efforts seem sufficient. But, it needs to be noted that because of deep budget problems in the City of Cincinnati, some of these environmental initiatives may be tempered.

None the less, despite the massive budget problems that the city is facing, the city has been recognized in its efforts to slow global warming. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, 

CINCINNATI— Cincinnati, Ohio, today joined more than a dozen other U.S. cities in supporting the Environmental Protection Agency and President Barack Obama using the Clean Air Act to clean our air, reduce greenhouse gas pollution and slow global warming. The Cincinnati City Council, in passing a resolution today, is the latest city to join the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign. “We are making great strides toward a ‘greener’ city with our Green Cincinnati Plan. To continue to work tirelessly for improved air quality, we must also send a strong message of full support for the Clean Air Act to the EPA,” said Cincinnati Council Member Laurie Quinlivan, who spearheaded the resolution (CBD, 2012).

For the entire press release which is rather enlightening can be found here:

In the end, Cincinnati has been making positive progressive efforts with regards to fostering a greener community to mitigate GHGs. Although, it has to be stated that some of these programs listed in the Green Cincinnati Plan may be tempered due to budget shortfalls. Just yesterday, the City of Cincinnati announced new layoffs coming for 2013. While this plan seems very doable, the budget concerns are rather looming. As an individual who is very plugged into the City of Cincinnati, I can’t help but wonder how this plan will be carried out in light of budget problems. None the less, Cincinnati is one of these laboratories for environmental policy change. If the federal government cannot do it, maybe local municipalities or the State of Ohio can. The City of Cincinnati is headed in the right direction.

Works Cited
Office of Environmental Quality. "Green Cincinnati Plan - Office of Environmental Quality." Green Cincinnati Plan - Office of Environmental Quality. City of Cincinnati, 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

Center for Biological Diversity. "Cincinnati Joins Growing List of Cities Supporting Use of Clean Air Act to Slow Global Warming." Cincinnati Joins Growing List of Cities Supporting Use of Clean Air Act to Slow Global Warming. N.p., 7 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

The City of Cincinnati. "Land Management Document." N.p., 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013.

The City of Cincinnati. "Transportation Document." N.p., 2013. Web. 29 Mar. 2013. <>.

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