Toward a Sustainable Community
Not until the spread of the Industrial Revolution in the late nineteenth century, has man possessed the ability to adversely alter, on a global scale, the geologic and climatic cycles that have existed for millennia. Planet earth, which man calls home, is approximately 5 billion years old. The science of paleontology tells us that man is a relative new comer to the planet. Modern man did not arrive on the scene until approximately 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. Developments in hunting, agriculture, literacy, and the sciences, have allowed man to thrive and inhabit nearly every corner of the planet. However, this success has not been good for the earth. The world's population has recently surpassed 6
…show more content…
Regarding unsustainable communities and lifestyles, the blame lies mainly with two specific phenomena, American's love affair with the automobile, and the "American Dream" of owning a home and land outside of the city. A car-dependent lifestyle introduces numerous problems and exacerbates the dilemma of exurb migration. With so many cars on the road, they become congested, leading to the need for new, longer, and wider roads that encroach on existing ecosystems and animal habitats. With roads and highways stretching farther and farther from the city, suburbanites can now live at greater distances from the cities requiring a need for increased fossil fuel production. This increased consumption and burning of fossil fuels increases air and water pollution and contributes to the greenhouse effect. It is estimated that out of the millions of underground storage tanks of gasoline and diesel fuel across the U.S., over 300,000 have failed, contaminating the surrounding ground water tables (Nebel, Wright 490). In the case of the fuel additive, Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether (MTBE), contaminated wells have to be shut down entirely.
Many cities fail to meet air-quality standards even with improved pollution controls. Vehicles are responsible for an estimated 80% of the air pollution in metropolitan regions (Nebel, Wright 581). Vehicle traffic congestion increases year after