In 2015 the United Nations held the Sustainable Development Summit with world leaders who adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030. The SDG’s help frame the world’s cities goals to build Smart Cities and provide greater connectivity via The Internet of Things (IoT). What cannot get lost in society is still wrestling archaic constructs of race and class. How do we build Smart Cities juxtaposed with systemic issues of police brutality, environmental and social justice?
What is the smart city movement and why is there such a push around the globe for “smart cities”? A smart city is one that has digital technology embedded across all city functions. This technology also utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the ever-growing network of physical objects that feature an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that occurs between these objects and other Internet-enabled devices and systems.
Earth Day 2016 , a celebration started in 1970 to bring attention to environmental stewardship and issues. Today the United Nations has over 170 Countries on board to sign the historic Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These negotiations took place last December in Paris at COP21. Yet today I have to ask do we have to consider an Exodus for the people of Flint?
“In Flint we can’t drink the water, we can’t drink the water and haven’t been able in two years” – Dr. Karen Weaver Mayor of Flint Michigan. This is outrageous when Flint is located near the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, the “Great Lakes” containing 21% of the world’s surface fresh water. Nestle one of the largest bottled water companies is able to pump millions of gallons of water from the Great Lakes for free. Which in turn of course they sell as bottled water. Juxtapose Nestle getting access to clean water with the residents of flint who have been stuck with water bills of poisoned water they cannot drink or use. Charging consumers for contaminated water should be a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Protection Act (SDWA).
In this episode of Building Collaborative Communities we discuss the city of Flint, Michigan and the #FlintWaterCrisis. What are options and solutions for the citizens, can we do more than send bottled water? Who is going to get paid to rebuild the infrastructure in flint? Will the Governor be using “no-bid” contracts? How long will it take to replace the pipes throughout the city? Djuan Coleon, CEO of PURE answers these questions and more in this episode of “Building Sustainable Communities”
How did I get into Environmental / Climate Change? One reason unknown to me at the time is that I spent 7 years as site inspector and project manager in the City of Atlanta and Dekalb County on multi-million dollar projects. When Mayor Shirley Franklin had to comply with a consent decree to replace the Water and Sewer lines / pipes throughout the city, a $3 Billion Dollar project. So think about “costs” as you ponder the #FlintWaterCrisis.
The visceral reaction to the lead poisoning and the lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan is “How did this happen in America?” and “Who is going to be held responsible” and “We Need Clean Water Now”. I would suggest the question at the top of the list we should be asking is “Who is going to get paid?”. Let me explain why it is the more prescient question. We know now that the pipes that distribute the water throughout the city of Flint are contaminated with lead. Even if you attempt to put clean treated water through those pipes the result will be contaminated water on the other end that will flow out of the faucets of the citizens of Flint.
For over a year the state and local government in Michigan has allowed the drinking water in Flint, Michigan to be poisoned. In this same time period we have been drinking the Kool-Aid from elected politicians and leaders that everything was “ok”. Elected politicians entrusted with the well being of the community provided Flint’s citizens with polluted water from the Flint River to cut costs. As a result, the state Department of Environmental Quality had failed to call for corrosion control chemicals to be added to the water, resulting in lead entering the water from pipes. How does this happen in 2016? How does the government just stand by and twiddle their thumbs just as they did when New Orleans was dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
As the world talks Climate Change, Green and Better Tomorrows all in the name of clean energy. The truth is Climate Change is more about money than morality. Nissan promotes the Nissan Leaf and other hybrid and electric cars in an effort to “save the planet” BUT what about the people who work in the Canton, Mississippi, U.S. factory? There have been numerous accounts of violations of international labor standards and human rights by Nissan in Mississippi. So how can you talk Green and Ride Dirty?
Environmentalist and activists from all over the world will be converging on Paris in December for COP21, a global Climate Change Conference. Will the world be able to come together and decide what’s best for the planet? Will every agenda be heard or treated with the same importance? The Climate Change debate has has been framed as we simply need to just reduce our carbon footprint, but it’s not that simple.