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College of Design

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cake and Eat it Too?

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My thoughts are stemming from a discussion I had with my Tree Trust "A Crew" kids today. As some of you know my crew consists of eight 14-18 year old high school students from Minneapolis. Today we talked about global warming and shared our thoughts, opinions and solutions with each other. Most of my crew has never left the United States. During our talk we discussed electricity, solar and wind capabilities, problems that arise from overuse of coal burning and fossil fuels. They also breached the topic of the ozone layer, erosion, and drought. I never would have thought young adults in this technological age would be so aware and present about the environment; at least not in public! When I was in high school being environmentally aware was not cool.

I was completely taken back by how much my kids knew about global temperature changes and their effects. Solutions posed by 15 year olds: ride bicycles, turn the water off when brushing teeth, electric cars: Conservation principles!!! Some of which I didn't learn until college, and some which many educated adults still do not completely understand or follow.

For instance the Twin Cities has a lot of roof top businesses. Roof top restaurants and social event spaces are common in most cities, including Minneapolis, Stellas Fish Café, Solera Bar, even at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union Campus Club.

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My question is why do we not utilize these spaces for urban gardens OR even use them as living/green roofs together with the intended money making function? How cool would it be to have a salad at Solera-Cocina that was made from vegetables growing around you? We as an adult society need to make some renovations and improvements to the space we already inhabit. People are making things happen all over the world to improve their global footprint. I'm not saying we don't have living roofs or are not making things better, but why are we limiting so much potential energy and space saving to one-use solutions? Can we have it all?

The future generation of thinkers is looking hopeful, so why shouldn't we do something to enable them sooner rather than later?