Greener Skies = Cleaner Skies

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There is an oasis in the middle of the Bronx in New York.  It isn’t the zoo or a park, in fact, it’s more than 70 feet above the ground.  It’s a green roof, or a roof covered in a waterproof lining, sod, and plant life.  Climatologists believe they may be helpful in reducing the effects of cities on climate change.  In other words, if Batman really wanted to save Gotham, he should have spent more time planting.  Given the current worries about climate change, we should implement more green roofs across the city.

Green roofs not only lend a Chia pet friendliness to any building top, they also soak up water during storms reducing rain runoff.  Cities are notorious for air pollution.  Green roofs promote air quality and filter pollution and toxic exhaust.  Cities also emit a lot of heat due to the amount of pavement and cement stacked across the surface.  These roofs can cool down the surface an average of 16 degrees Celsius per unit area.  Depending on the vegetation, they can also act as a food source, and planters have commented on how they can become mini-habitats for birds or insects.

Cities should work to create more green roofs in their community by sponsoring programs like the San Francisco Parks Trust.  The California Academy of Sciences has already begun promoting ideas with their in-your-face, if not slightly impractical green bus stops.  The biggest hurdle yet to leap is the cost, which starts at around $14 per square foot.  However, when Ford Motor Company created a green roof on their plant in Michigan they covered 500,000 square feet for $4 each.  As President Obama has just signed an executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 28 percent by 2010, green roofs seem to be on top of the solution.

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I really like these sorts of ideas, because on a small scale, sure it might not do much, but when you get lots and lots of people doing it all over the world, it isn't so small anymore. It seems like living in the city, it would be a nice retreat too, because I love being outdoors and don't know what I would do if I couldn't have a place to go and relax outside...

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