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Livable Cities

Slow Life for Smaller Urban Footprint

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     Given an increase of global population, the immense urban migration, the rising need for energy consumption and following carbon dioxide emission, the pressures on natural resource and environment are at the prevalent scale, never encountered earlier in the world. Without good management, the resources may not be adequate for all population. Based on this, an instrument is developed for measuring resource use called ecological footprint.

      The ecological footprint is a measurement of human activities in the world calculated from the amount of consumption and waste (such as human behavior of meat consumption is translated into the amount of land, water, chemical fertilizer, gasoline used in transportation, etc. throughout the supply chain from plantation to delivery to consumers), including the activities that lessen global productivities (such as environmental pollution). The unit of this output is referred to as Global Hectares per Capita (gha/cap).

    According to the Living Planet Report in 2012 by the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and the Global Footprint Network, the compilation of ecological footprints in many countries around the world is presented, together with the resource conditions such as water, forests, and the survey of the change among 2,688 population species.

    This report revealed that the demands for global resources have doubled those of 1996 and at present, humans consume resources 1.5 times more than the world’s carrying capacity. The report also predicted that in 2030 or in the next 17 years, humans would consume resources amounted to 2 globes or 2 times higher than the appropriate rate.

 

     In specific view on ASEAN region, the aggregated ecological footprint is 1.63 gha/cap. On the contrary, the aggregated biological capacity is 0.86 gha/cap. These indicate that the resource consumption is almost 2 times higher than the limit of biological capacity or renewal capacity of natural resources, including the carbon emission removal in ASEAN.

     Usually urban residents have larger carbon footprints than the rural people. For instance, Singapore is a livable city with effective town management, facilities, high quality of life and well-being but the level of consumption, economic growth and urban expansion are rising. In a way, these create more pressures on natural environment and as a result, Singapore has the largest ecological footprint in ASEAN or a Singaporean creates an ecological footprint equal to that of 33 Africans together.

    A tendency towards increased consumption among ASEAN members due to an intensive economic growth and an integration of ASEAN economic community in 2015 signals a definite enlargement of ASEAN’s ecological footprint.

     At this stage, many people may desire to restore the world by reducing their ecological footprints. On the contrary, many still think that their small actions are too little to change the world and therefore decide not to do anything. Nonetheless, in reference to Margaret Mead, an American woman anthropologist, the role of small group of people was elaborated that "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Thence, everybody together can change consumptive behaviors in order to reduce ecological footprint such as using public transportation services instead of personal automobile or purchasing locally-grown vegetables rather than internationally-imported food, etc.

     Furthermore, the social structure can be changed through policy advocacy or choosing political parties which implement green policies and strategies in order to reducing ecological footprint and enhancing people’s quality of life in good environmental setting. Examples are the minimized travel necessities through concentrated urban and infrastructure development to reduce unorganized urban sprawl as well as construction and maintenance costs. At the same time, this can enhance existing land use productivity and value by decreasing residential area per unit, increasing building concentration, and optimizing policy on residential locations close to stores, schools, public health service providers, and community service providers. Consequently, the urban facilitates and promotes walking, biking, and other public transportation connecting between communities.

 

     At last, this article cordially calls for all collaborations to sustain the world’s natural resources enough for every fellow creature.

 

 

 


Source :

  • iugreenteams.wordpress.com
  • www.reo11.net
  • www.greenistasociety.com

 

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