Weekly Theme on THE GREEN: CITIES #1

Modern day life seems to revolve around cities. The vast majority of Americans live in cities. Do we enjoy piling up on top of each other in tiny apartments, almost like a hive of insects? Even though the answer is probably no, cities still resemble “concrete jungles”, a phrase coined in the famous Guns & Roses song “Welcome to the Jungle”. How can we make better use of the natural resources in a city and plant more trees in those concrete sidewalks and black-tar rooftops?

It has often been said of New York City, that if it were not for the giant patch of green plants amidst a desert of concrete buildings (Central Park), then everyone would have gone bonkers a long time ago. Central Park figured prominently in the historical design by city planner Frederick Law Olmsted. In fact, the first thing Mr Olmsted carved into the city plan was Central Park. This concept of designing the city around a central swath of nature is now thought to have been a stroke of genius. This week, explore the concept of environmentalism in city life by watching THE GREEN on Sundance Channel.


This week on BIG IDEAS FOR A SMALL PLANET [www.sundance.tv] we meet Robert Watson, [www.sundance.tv] who is CEO and Chief Scientist of ECOTECH International. [www.ecotech-intl.com] Robert Watson is also well known as the “Founding Father of LEED” (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED is an important standard in building sustainable buildings. Next up on BIG IDEAS is Dennis Wilde, from Portland South Waterfront Development, who shows off one of his “healthy buildings” in Portland. Catch a video of the Dennis Wilde segment below:

Guerrilla gardening is the next topic on the BIG IDEAS playlist. Heather Flores has helped to organize many communities in Portland to go out and turn vacant lots into gardens. Heather has released her first book entitled “Food Not Lawns”, you can read about it on her Myspace Page. [www.myspace.com]
The final segment on BIG IDEAS features a look at Trey Taylor and his company Verdant Power. [www.verdantpower.com] The company is placing underwater turbines in the East River of New York City. The cool concept here is that this turbine power plant is making use of a service that nature is consistently providing, namely current power. This is a great green concept that can be applied to so many things in life and shows that Green is actually a matter of increasing productivity rather than a concept of sacrifice. Anyways, you can read all about the turbine project at Business Week. [www.businessweek.com]


This week you are gonna need at least one scuba suit because we are diving deep into the sewers of an American City. Director Jeff McKay pops his head out of the sewer grate to tell us about the danger waiting down our toilets. No, its not a horror film, but prepare yourself to learn how you can help to make your community safer just by making a few changes to your building’s septic system. Make sure to visit THE GREEN mini-site and check into the Eco-Documentary Page. [www.sundance.tv]

Make sure to check back to the blog soon, tomorrow we will be posting about this weeks Ecoist [www.sundance.tv] episode, featuring the Eco-Celebrity Ed Begley Jr. Also we will have a lively discussion about this week’s Eco Biz [www.sundance.tv] profile, Great Eastern Ecology.