An example of an article that highlights an exciting project to green Philadelphia, well under way, is by Pascal Mittermaler, who is the Managing Director for Global Cities at The Nature Conservancy. In the article, Mittermaler interviews Howard Neukrug, the former leader of Philadelphia’s water utility, about the Green City, Clean Waters project in Philadelphia. The objective of the Green City, Clean Waters is to create green spaces that will absorb rainwater so that it doesn’t fall into the city’s sewage system. The problem is when rainwater falls into a sewage system it creates sewage overflows. Green City, Clean Waters’ plan involves diverting the rainwater by planting gardens around the city–one example of the preventive measures being implemented.
Examples from the article published by Huffington Post:
Mittermaler: Over the past five years, Philadelphia has constructed more than 700 acres of green rain gardens and swales in streets, parks and schools. In the next five years, Philly wants to do another 700 acres and ultimately reach 10,000 acres. How will this be done? What do you think the Conservancy’s role could be?
Neukrug : Changing the world—or even one small piece of it—requires a lot of trial and error. We divide the city into communities, needs, types, gradients, opportunities, public, private and quasi-government.
We do this because although it is mainly the land’s use and management that determines the nature and quality of all our city’s water, a water utility has little to no control over that land. Within every space we look to find supporters, stakeholders, developers, civil servants, environmental organizations and try to learn how we can offer leveraged benefits that meet our mutual interests. Oh, and in case that is not enough, we set stormwater control regulations on any development (which means redevelopment in a city like Philadelphia), we set stormwater fees and credits for landowners to encourage change, and offer grants and other incentives for schools, churches, businesses and others to encourage support.
Pascal Mittermaler is an expert in the environmental field, but we need not be discouraged that we don’t possess the knowledge he does to educate our audience in thought provoking ways. We will have to seek out people like him and Howard Neukrug to read or talk to. If we put our attempts to seek and assimilate knowledge how to create a green economy out into the world, there is the chance that with patience a beautiful flowering may happen. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain in the attempt.