One of the great things I learned from Majora Carter’s lecture on “Greening the Ghetto” is the possible benefits of investing in green infrastructure such as roof top gardens. Roof top gardens can not only provide an urban oasis but also provide valuable employment for the unemployed in this economy recovering from the Financial Crisis of 2008. Unemployment levels are still at double digits and many fear the economy might fall back into a second recession. Thus creating jobs has become a main priority but the government and the private sector have failed to do. Thus it is now up to individuals to come up with plans to create jobs.
Rooftop gardens significantly reduce pollution in congested urban areas, greatly reduce storm water by absorbing it and can even provide seasonal fruits and vegetables. Pollution in city levels is quite high and planting roof top gardens can considerably reduce pollution and clean the air. Major cities in America such as New York and Philadelphia are struggling with the increased amounts of storm water entering the sewage system constructed centuries earlier. Roof top gardens can significantly reduce storm water by absorbing. Quite amazingly, rooftop gardens can be used to grow seasonal fruits and vegetables which can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of bringing the fruits and vegetables from faraway places such as California and Latin America. Just imagine how much energy is used to transfer a pound of blueberries from Chile to New York. Although cities like New York will never be sufficient in producing all the vegetables and fruits they consume from roof top gardens even a small change can have a significant impact on the carbon footprint. And most importantly roof top gardens can create jobs. For instance Majora Carter started the BEST Green job training program that can train individuals to do outstanding work in sustainability arenas across the country.
Sustainability is one of the most important buzz words of this new millennium as the world grapples with rising energy demands from emerging countries such as India and China. It is now the right time to invest in renewable energies such as solar and wind energy and electric cars. The world clearly does not have enough fossil fuel for everyone in the globe driving a car or following a traditional American lifestyle. Thus we need to change our habits or we need to change what we use as energy to fuel our homes, cars and factories.