We are making a difference and our federal government is leading the way. A recent article was in our local paper describing a new environmental study that will be done along the North and South Carolina coast and several other distinctive ecosystems in the USA. These studies will embrace the aspects of an ecosystem, not just a single aspect of the ecosystem, but how it all interacts which includes development. Contrary to popular belief we are part of the ecosystem.
Hopefully, this study will help our local and county government understand and possible get grants to help prove what can be done to develop in an ecofriendly manner. Currently our LMO's are too rigid in stature, and the bureaucrats that run the departments too scarred to allow a change from the standard operating procedure. This forces new creative thinking away from the table. A "good" developer with a good team of engineers, architects and builders are ahead of any planning commission when it comes to innovative design and land planning. Developers are going to create communities for what people want today, and they want ecofriendly communities. They will cost more than the standard traditional development, but in the long run they will go way beyond the cost.
The federal government will be leading the way on bringing ideas that are currently in places, but are not cost effective for consumers that will turn organic waste into fuel, soil additives, and replace bio carbons in the ground instead of the atmosphere, solar energy will power and heat homes and offices, waste water will be recycled into potable water and roof top hydroponics gardens will supply our vegetables. This will especially be critical in large urban areas, but it will also be done in smaller urban areas. Our current zoning is not flexible when it comes to urban living. There have been numerous attempts to rezone parcels that would incorporate the residential and commercial aspects of urban design, but the planning commission and council turned them down. Bluffton currently has a few developments that incorporate the residential and commercial villages, and this trend will only increase in the future. As, each new "village" is developed it will incorporate more ecofriendly components, into their overall planning.
We also need to have a standard rating system that will rate a community on it's overall practices for being labeled a "ecofriendly community". There are rating systems for buildings, and the Audubon Society has a rating system, but it is too narrow in focus. There also are some ratings for "Green Communities" but these go way beyond and incorporate a lifestyle.
It is not that far away. Some people like to call this a "Green" community, but I personally do not like the term. It is an ecofriendly community, because that is what is effected by the development; the ecosystems is the entire picture of the environment. EARTH, WIND, WATER & FIRE
Written by Charlie B Fraser 2009
Coastal Carolina chosen for national environmental study
By LIZ MITCHELLlmitchell@islandpacket.com843-706-8169
Published Saturday, January 10, 2009
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has chosen the coastal areas of North Carolina and South Carolina to be part of a national research project that will help communities make good environmental choices.
EPA officials are coming to Bluffton on Monday to present outline of the project and get comments from the public. The meeting will be followed by a daylong workshop in North Charleston of elected officials and leaders in planning, zoning and environmental protection.
"The idea is not to stop development or even slow it," said Dorsey Worthy of the EPA's Office of Research and Development. "We want increasing populations, but we want to do it in a knowledgeable and responsible way."
Worthy is leading the coastal Carolinas study, one of four community research projects in the country focused on understanding ecosystems that provide clean air and water, productive soils and food and fiber. The other studies are being conducted in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, the Midwest and the Willamette River Basin in Oregon.
The Carolinas project will look at landscapes, waterways and coastal wetlands from counties near Currituck Sound in North Carolina to those near the Savannah River. The area was selected because it faces pressures from population growth and landscape and climate change, Worthy said.
"If we take too much advantage of the system without acknowledging its restorative and human health aspects, we run the danger of creating an environment that won't sustain us," Worthy said. "It's not just about wildlife; it's about protecting human health in the long run."
Worthy said the meeting also will help the EPA shape the agency's research agenda for the next 10 years. About 60 scientists are assigned to the study.
"We want to hear what (leaders and residents) value in their communities and where they want their communities to go in the next few years," Worthy said.
As research progresses, Worthy said, he and other EPA officials can help local communities access grants to protect and restore the environment.
Nancy Schilling, founder of Friends of the Rivers, which is hosting the meeting Monday, said she hopes Beaufort County can earn national recognition for its protection of waterways.
"My goal with Friends of the Rivers is that we never have to get into restoration," she said, but "that we are into preservation of what we've got ... ."