Society

Problems of the Rich and Famous

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Partying in Hamptons Could Get Harder If One Village Has Its Way

I'm very curious about how municipalities on the East End of Long Island will balance the requirements of wealthy tax payers' entertainment and their impact on the environment. On any given summer day, it’s nothing to see cars lined up on residential roads as far as the eye can see. Shindigs with over a hundred people are common. The main reason why wealthy New Yorkers and others by properties in the Hamptons is to have the space to have big parties. Cracking down on residents by limiting the amount of guest they can have before they need a permit sounds a little risky. The municipalities and the businesses in the area benefit greatly from the steady flow of monied folks looking to have some fun. Upset that and those same people might choose to go elsewhere.

Could a tiny little creature save us humans?

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Scientists stumbled upon a plastic-eating bacterium

I’m looking forward to learning more about this plastic eating bacterium. All I know is that there is a massive area in the ocean filled with floating plastic waste. This waste has found its way into digestive systems of wildlife and ensnares aquatic animals constantly. The proper thing to do is to clean it up, but the problem is the cost would be astronomical and who would pick up the tab. Being able to naturally breakdown these elements might save us from burying ourselves in a mountain of plastic junk. It would be amazing for mealworms and waxworm caterpillars could save mankind.

Wake-up Signs: Is it too late to repair the damage?

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Once a species is gone, that’s it.

With funding being cut for environmental sciences it seems like we’re setting ourselves up for a major catastrophe. I’ve notice personally that critters and insects that were plentiful when I was a child are harder to find now. I remember summers in Ohio when bats and fireflies could be seen everywhere, now just a few fireflies and virtually no bats. Praying mantises were the top insect in every garden, today I see them occasionally. On any warm, humid night a fisherman could search any patch of grass to find nightcrawlers for the next day. Now you must hunt for nightcrawlers in my neighborhood. To see changes like these in ones’ lifetime is a little startling. Are we going to leave our descendants a world dominated by noxious weeds, roaches and rats to consume?

Snow and Ice Management: Think about the Environment

Snow and Ice Management

Be Careful with Your Salt Use

Being in the landscape industry in the northeastern part of the US, I’ve always been concerned or involved with snow and ice management. It’s always an expensive, yet very seldom perfect service for property owners. After walking through my neighborhood in downtown Silver Spring recently, I’ve noticed environmental disasters all over the place. I understand that the area doesn’t get much snow and ice, but we must do better. It’s been weeks after the last snow events and I’m still seeing piles of salt and ice melting chemicals on the sidewalks and streets. Much of it was applied after the precipitation as an insurance for pedestrians. I understand why; unless you’re from a place that gets a lot of snow and ice, you don’t even know that there is an industry and professionals that focus on the safest and most efficient management methods.

Montgomery County does a pretty good job on environmental regulation and is strict on individuals that cut down trees and regrade land without permission. So, to see inches of salt being left at intersections in a central business district is a bit shocking. With the climate changing it’s time for municipalities to start hiring snow and ice management consultants from areas that get the stuff regularly. They already know to use salt and chemicals sparingly. Until then here’s a pretty good article about snow and ice management.

Environment: We Need Our Leaders to be Looking Forward

  

  

Time For a New Day

It's great to dream about the good old days. Back when our factories were cranking out products the world needed. We believed we had endless resources, and faced no cost for consuming them. After decades of black lungs and poisoned water supplies, we can now make coal a thing of the past. We don't have to blast off the tops of mountains and send poor laborers deep into the earth to keep the lights on. The thought of bringing back 'King Coal' whether it's clean or not, doesn't sound like a good idea any way you slice it.   

Meet the Father of American Landscape Architecture

Father of American Landscape Architecture

There's more to Olmsted than just pretty parks

Frederick Law Olmsted the father of American Landscape Architecture was the son of a dry-goods merchant. Following his tour of the southern US, he became an abolitionist. He committed his life to uplifting the quality of life for all.

Aesthetic sensibility, he believed, was the way for America to transform from a frontier people into a more civilized society. Olmsted exhibited this concept in his collaborations with Architect Calvert Vaux. They worked together to design Central Park and Prospect Park in New York City. These masterpieces of open space are examples of how Landscape Architecture could improve the quality of life for working class and wealthy citizens.

 

27 Patterns Of Development

WaPo Article Discusses Typical Patterns of Development

Are we really starting to see the end of suburban sprawl? I have a feeling once the US economy starts to fire on all cylinders, Americans are going to want to return to McMansions built on cul-de-sacs. Millennials are flocking to cities right now, but how long are they going to be willing to raise families there?  I imagine they’ll be more willing to live in urban environments provided cities continue on the trend of providing more park and green space within walking distance of their homes. The article makes me wonder what new patterns of land development will there be in the future as Americans adapt their lifestyles to economic forces. Will most of us be forced to live in densely populated cities built in orthogonal grid patterns or will we still have the option of living on curvilinear roads in the suburbs?

Affordable Housing In DC Becoming Scarce

More Affordable Housing for the Masses

Funny, the newspapers a few years back were saying that the big boom in rental units was going to make residential units cheaper to rent. This article puts a completely different spin on things.