Pope Francis’ “Climate Change” Speech Sparks Reform in the US

On September 23 Pope Francis addressed climate change in his White House speech, stating that he explicitly supports President Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions, and chastising climate change deniers for failing to protect our “common home,” (Roberts 2015). The pope stated “Climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” and that he “would like all men and women of goodwill in this great nation to support the efforts of the international community to protect the vulnerable in our world and to stimulate integral and inclusive models of development, so that our brothers and sisters everywhere may know the blessings of peace and prosperity which God wills for all his children,” (Roberts, 2015). Pope Francis’ speech made climate change a moral issue for the Catholic religion, which created some controversy.

Making Sense Out of Sustainability Plans

Climate change is a worldwide concern, defined as a change in global or regional climate patterns; in particular, a change apparent from the mid- to late 20th century onwards, and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. With continuous changes to climate patterns, numerous agencies have adopted Climate Action Plans (CAPs). CAPs address air quality, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, transportation strategies, land use, open spaces, economic development, water management, recycling and more. Although various agencies may concentrate on different categories with more emphasis, the importance of CAPs are the effectiveness of the implementation and the longevity.

Historic Buildings and Environmental Sustainability

The prevalent idea among building owners is that old buildings are less energy-efficient and more costly — both financially and environmentally — to maintain. Destroying old buildings and constructing new ones therefore, seem more practical than repairing and maintaining old buildings. In the United States, an estimated one billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced annually. According to a projection by the Brookings Institution, 82 billion square feet of existing space will be demolished and replaced between 2005 and 2030 – representing about 25% of today’s existing building stock.

CEQA and Paleontological Assessments

Paleontological finds (dinosaurs, sabertooth cats, mammoth and mastodon) regularly make the news across the country when discovered. Many are fascinated by the large “scary” creatures of Jurassic Park fame and other movies where these large creatures “feast” on people. Paleontology certainly varies from area to area on what is found and there are specialists in every imaginable kind of fossil.

Kern County Archaeological Sites Mitigation Planning: A Case Study

In 2005 and 2006, FCS cultural resources management staff had the privilege of performing substantive archaeological investigations and analyses for a proposed off-road vehicle park northeast of Bakersfield, California. Although the project ultimately ended due to certain unavoidable impacts to sensitive plants and water resources, our work on the project demonstrated how basic research and the consideration of avoidance alternatives could be used to avoid sensitive cultural resources within a large project area.

The Personal Value of Historic and Cultural Resources Management

In preparation for this article, I checked out the Internet – Googling the phrases “meaning of American history,” “guidelines to historical interpretation,” “hometown histories” and so on. But I didn’t get too far because there were so many different angles one could consider, and the searches are too numerous to mention. The places we all live have unique stories to tell, and as time marches on, many of these stories can be lost if there is no effort to preserve them.

Practical and Cost Effective Mitigation Planning

Most environmental planners and (in California) CEQA experts have heard the phrase “mitigate or litigate” during their professional careers. While clever and a bit flippant, there is a lot of truth to this little timeworn rhyme. Ill-conceived and poorly executed mitigation is arguably one of the leading causes of environmental grief (legally and financially) for developers and other business entities. It is clear that environmental documents that underestimate or ignore impacts – and consequently undersize mitigation – are vulnerable to legal challenge. It is also true that mitigation “overkill” and mitigation that is ill-timed, vague or general in nature can be equally debilitating to the health of a project in terms of time and money.

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