Default category for commenting on and asking questions that emerge from the course readings

One Man’s Trash…

After reading about the current disposal options for solid waste in New York, a couple of thoughts crossed my mind. I’ve noticed how NY slowly had realized that waste could be harmful if not disposed of properly and that if disposed of in the most efficient way can even be useful. They have also recently tried to find ways to make it useful, like their waste to energy incineration facilities. This type of method is in my opinion the first step to a successful future for the waste in NYC. Although the technology only allows a small efficiency rate, investments in the technology may prove useful. The biggest issue is that, despite being less than more common energy producers, emissions from this process can be harmful. The more we use this method, the more harmful.. even if less harmful than other ways.
The best solution, though obviously extremely speculative, would be a way to completely transmit our waste into something useful without a negative effect on environments and neighborhoods, and too big of a strain on the government budget. Is there someway, somehow, a way to make all of this trash into a true resource?


Wake Up, NYC

There is something about these two articles that is deeply disconcerting about the real lack of preparation NYC has undergone for the next 100 years and about how blind we are to the problem of climate change.  In the Executive Summary section of the NPCC Climate Risk Information Report, it states that Mayor Bloomberg convened the first New York City Panel on Climate change in 2008. It wasn’t until 2013 (FIVE years later!) that he convened the second panel, after Hurricane Sandy had occurred in October 2012. And while we have gathered data and come to the firm conclusion that climate change is occurring more and more rapidly, the only suggestions mentioned were to create more models and do more research. While there’s no denying the fact that scientific research and modeling are crucial to understanding how the next 100 years or so will unfold, it has no real value if it cannot be put into practice.

The MPRA study by Luca D’Acci really answers the question why do we wait until the problem has already occurred to do anything about it? “Societies and cities–their physical skeletons–are created by the constant game between private and public interest, personal and aggregate preferences/needs; and private and public interests depend on cultures, religions, politics, etc.” But this relationship goes both ways. People, too, are influenced by the physical cities they live in. This is why it’s so difficult to break the cycle once a city, such as NYC, becomes so deeply rooted in its ways. Because there is a lack of government initiative in terms of smarter urban planning, citizens do not feel the need to respond to climate change. Because citizens are not pushing for legislation, the government also occupies itself with more “urgent” legislations. The question is: who needs to make the first steps towards changing the way we prepare for the future? 



Can Top-Down and Bottom-Up Coexist?

“Is consumerism created by our consumption needs, or are our consumption needs created by Consumerism? Do religious and political-economic systems create our personal values and uses, or vice versa?”-D’Acci

To what extend to exterior forces influence our interior or personal thoughts, beliefs, ideas and choices? As the world around us is constantly evolving, are our ideas and beliefs constantly evolving, or do we stay true to ourselves?