Sprinting toward sustainability.For days, Atlanta's July 1995 heat hit a searing sear 1
v. seared, sear·ing, sears
1. To char, scorch, or burn the surface of with or as if with a hot instrument. See Synonyms at burn1.
2. 95 to 100 degrees, with humidity to match. As depressing haze from milk-white skies blanketed the city, the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games Olympic games, premier athletic meeting of ancient Greece, and, in modern times, series of international sports contests. The Olympics of Ancient Greece
Although records cannot verify games earlier than 776 B.C. (ACOG ACOG American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
ACOG American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists ) was clearly concerned. What if this broiling broiling: see cooking. scenario repeated itself a year hence, wilting thousands of unprepared ticketholders at the 1996 Centennial Summer Olympic Games The Summer Olympic Games or the Games of the Olympiad are an international multi-sport event held every four years, organised by the International Olympic Committee. ?
But ACOG medical teams have made plans, hoping to avoid bad experiences and major emergencies for the 15,000 athletes, trainers, and Olympic officials; 15,000 media; and hundreds of thousands of visitors. "We can't control what the weather is going to be," Dr. John Dr. John (also Dr. John Creaux) is the stage name of Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (born November 21, 1940), a colorful pianist, singer, and songwriter, whose music spans, and often combines, blues, boogie woogie, and rock and roll. Cantwell, ACOG's chief medical officer told the Atlanta Journal/Constitution. "But we can control our readiness for it."
Atlanta has learned, too, that it can exert some control over the temperatures felt on city streets. Studies show that every 10 percent increase in canopy cover yields a 1 to 2 degree Fahrenheit reduction in temperature, and the Olympics will benefit from ongoing planting efforts.
Games-goers face two heat challenges: at the various Olympic venues and out on the streets. Officials are providing ample medical facilities at venues; the Olympic stadium The Olympic Stadium is the name usually given to the big centrepiece stadium of the Summer Olympic Games. Traditionally, the opening and closing ceremonies and the track & field competitions are held in the Olympic Stadium. , for example, will have 10 air-conditioned first-aid stations with towels, ice, fluids, doctors, and other medical staff. For the first time in history, the athletes will be housed in a fully air-conditioned village, set on 330 sprawling acres of the sylvan sylvan
emanating from or pertaining to woods. See also sylvatic. Georgia Tech campus.
And at the under-construction, 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park Centennial Olympic Park is a 21 acre (85,000 m²) public park located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, USA that is owned and operated by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. (the largest urban green space created in the U.S. in the last 25 years) there will be available water, trees for shade, temporary air-conditioned structures, and first-aid stations.
Thousands of new trees will shade Will Shade (February 5, 1898 – September 18, 1966) was an African-American Memphis blues musician best known for his membership in the Memphis Jug Band. Shade was commonly called Son Brimmer and cool Olympic corridors, thanks to the efforts of nonprofit groups like Trees Atlanta Trees Atlanta is a non-profit organization in Atlanta, Georgia, United States that seeks to preserve and protect the city's trees. The group employs a full-time staff of tree-care professionals and maintains an extensive network of volunteers, who work together to enrich the city's , Park Pride, the Georgia Trees Coalition - plus the Georgia Department of Transportation The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is the government agency responsible for building and maintaining state roads in the U.S. state of Georgia. Their headquarters is located across the street from the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta. , MARTA (the city's rapid transit rapid transit, transportation system designed to allow passenger travel within or throughout an urban area, usually employing surface, elevated, or underground railway systems or some combination of these. system) - and CODA (1) A distributed file system developed at Carnegie Mellon University in the late 1980s. Evolving from the Andrews File System, Coda is noted for its ability to withstand network failures. See AFS.
(2) A software company based in the U.K. (Committee for Olympic Development in Atlanta), a public/private partnership planting eight of the public Olympic corridors. Because of them, the best athletes on earth will see some sterling examples of environmental excellence while competing on Georgia's soil.
It seems apropos ap·ro·pos
Being at once opportune and to the point. See Synonyms at relevant.
1. At an appropriate time; opportunely.
2. that the Olympics should crown the achievements of this queen city of the South. The Southeast has enjoyed a 50-year protracted pro·tract
tr.v. pro·tract·ed, pro·tract·ing, pro·tracts
1. To draw out or lengthen in time; prolong: disputants who needlessly protracted the negotiations.
2. boom in the growth of its population, commerce, and industry, with Georgia ranking as the fastest-growing state east of the Rockies for the last three years.
Atlanta, long-time world headquarters of the Coca Cola Noun 1. Coca Cola - Coca Cola is a trademarked cola
cola, dope - carbonated drink flavored with extract from kola nuts (`dope' is a southernism in the United States) Company, is now national or world headquarters of Delta Airlines, UPS, Holiday Inns, Georgia Pacific, and the American Cancer Society American Cancer Society,
n.pr established in 1913, this national volunteer-based health organization is committed to the elimination of cancer through prevention and treatment and to diminishing cancer suffering through advocacy, scholarship, research, , among others. The city's metropolitan population has surged past three million, while the miles of public roads have doubled since 1960.
The Olympics has created its own renaissance: $2 billion was spent on new construction projects - sports facilities See:
But this growth has extracted its price: Atlanta has become a warming city with a declining quality of life.
Clarion calls are sounding. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Eugene Odum, director emeritus of the University of Georgia's Institute of Ecology, Georgia's population is approaching an optimum density of 10 million to 12 million with a 60/40 ratio of urban to non-urban. "Here in Georgia, we have begun to recognize that economic development and environmental protection must be considered as one issue. Human-made market products and services and the nonmarket goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. of nature (air and water purification and recycling, for example) are interdependent."
The Georgia legislature has thought seriously about land planning, passing a series of growth management acts in 1988 and 1989. One requires all metro counties and districts to make land-use plans that take into consideration both development and environmental preservation. But the local governments have been slow to respond because states have no direct means to enforce legislative mandates.
"In the long run, the best idea is an educated citizenry that will insist on planning as the best way to sustain quality of life in the face of powerful economic and demographic forces that promote overdevelopment Overdevelopment refers to a process by which natural resources are impacted by urbanization and/or road construction, at a rate significantly harmful to the ecosystem. Environmental activism is a frequent response to overdevelopment, as well as are many fields of academic study. ," says Odum.
Ed Macie, now regional urban forestry coordinator for the USDA USDA,
n.pr See United States Department of Agriculture. Forest Service's Southern Region, echoes Odum's insights. Formerly arborist for Fulton County (where Atlanta is located), Macie had been hired in 1985 to administer and enforce its first tree preservation and replacement ordinance, in recognition that some balance needed restoring. For a previous decade, Fulton County had lost 15 percent of its forest cover - not to mention a net loss of millions more as other burgeoning counties used more trees than they produced - and the county now recognized it needed to address the imbalance.
"Today there are more tree ordinances in the Atlanta region than 10 years ago, but they're being enforced with a wavering resolve. Just look at the nature of these counties - they're diffused, with no central sense of community," he says.
As for the city of Atlanta, Macie acknowledges that the approaching Olympics have occasioned an extra tree-planting push; but he maintains that, overall, Atlanta has not been any more foresighted about its tree cover than other cities. "When I compare it to Charlotte, Savannah Savannah, city, United States
Savannah, city (1990 pop. 137,560), seat of Chatham co., SE Ga., a port of entry on the Savannah River near its mouth; inc. 1789. , Charleston, or Birmingham, it could be doing so much more. I'm not sure why it isn't, except so much of our economy is dependent on growth itself.
"Atlanta could be taking advantage of AMERICAN FORESTS' GIS CITYgreen technology; it could be linking the urban forest to a lot of other environmental issues it's dealing with - like water quality and the aging infrastructure. It could lead, saying what's necessary to improve quality: investing funds to improve the urban forest by planting trees, acquiring more open spaces, making it a part of a region-wide standard. It's not a rosy picture.
"Local levels of government relinquish urban forestry to greater perceived needs, not realizing that some of those needs have arisen because we've lost our sense of place, of community, of environment. If anything is going to get done with urban forestry, it's going to have to be done with local and grass roots citizen-based efforts."
Atlanta is lucky to have nonprofit, environmental organizations whose leaders have picked up the torch. Macie singles out Trees Atlanta and its dynamic executive director, Marcia Bansley, for special praise. "Trees Atlanta is remarkable," he says. "Because of it - and the Olympics - downtown Atlanta has gone through a metamorphosis. . . one of the most positive things that has ever happened to this town."
Long before Bansley knew of Atlanta's Olympic nod, she'd begun to green the downtown's barren asphalt, steel, and concrete corridors. Since 1986, Trees Atlanta has planted 5,000 mature shade trees and 60,000 young trees, while preserving others threatened with extinction.
Nothing escaped the native Atlantan's notice: not the expressway entrances into downtown from the north and south, which weren't offering a positive approach to the central city; not the numerous, ugly parking lots; not the boulevards and avenues on which citizens walk. Oaks, maples, magnolias, elms, and hollies now cast their cooling shadows - and most locales sport Bansley's trademark green-and-white sign: "Another planting by Trees Atlanta."
Before Trees Atlanta began its efforts in 1985, there had been rapid development with little thought to maintaining tree cover, Bansley says. "Using aerial photos taken in five-year intervals by the Atlanta Regional Commission The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for the Atlanta, Georgia, region, as defined as a 10-county area including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties, as (the planning agency for the 10-county metropolitan region), we proved to citizens using real data that metro Atlanta was losing 30 acres of woodlands a day - and got many county tree ordinances passed."
Bansley also used AMERICAN FORESTS' 1991 20-city survey, which ranked Atlanta last among major American cities for the number of trees shading its streets, despite its reputation as the "City in a Forest."
"It gave us a tool for another editorial, made our more-trees-needed point to the corporate world, and embarrassed the mayor - who wrote a directive to cooperate wherever possible in planting trees."
She is excited by the possibilities with AMERICAN FORESTS' GIS CITYgreen software technology (see "Atlanta's Changing Environment," page 26). "The new, more sophisticated data we're getting with this is absolutely crucial. GIS can identify various ecosystems within areas and, armed with this information, we can explain to citizens in newspaper articles what's really going on."
"People like to deal in realities, and economic times are even tougher now. Unless we can prove that there's an environmental loss that has a direct relationship to economic loss and health loss, we can't continue to enforce the tree-protection and planting laws."
The Olympics has made Bansley's tree planting task easier, providing the impetus for funds from Congress and a private foundation. With it, Trees Atlanta is planting 54 mature shade trees in the main plaza of the new Centennial Olympic Park, while greening the stark, two-block strip bordering the Park and Coca Cola's Olympic Experience facility. It is also installing more than 90 trees in the Peace Plaza at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historic Site.
Trees Atlanta enjoys wide support. "We're the effective voice of the citizens; they're behind us - and government responds. The business and foundation communities support us because they see a value here: in the trees, the river, and the air."
That river is the Chattahoochee. And what Marcia Bansley is to Trees Atlanta, Executive Director Sally Bethea is to the nonprofit Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper Established in 1994, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR) is an environmental advocacy organization with more than 4,300 members dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee River Basin. organization. Established in 1994, it's dedicated solely to protecting the Chattahoochee - considered Georgia's greatest natural asset but one under assault for years. People who love the river quickly joined the cause; its current thousand members encompass fishermen, anglers, rafters, government officials, state wildlife biologists, and corporate interests.
Rising in Georgia's mountainous northeast quarter, the Chattahoochee plunges a total of 4,700 feet on its 524-mile run to the Gulf of Mexico Noun 1. Gulf of Mexico - an arm of the Atlantic to the south of the United States and to the east of Mexico
Golfo de Mexico
Atlantic, Atlantic Ocean - the 2nd largest ocean; separates North and South America on the west from Europe and Africa on the east , which it enters as the Apalachicola River. Upper Riverkeeper's focus extends more than 200 miles from the headwaters downstream to West Point Lake, 80 miles south of Atlanta. (A Columbus, Georgia, group oversees the middle section below this).
The Chattahoochee ran pure for centuries, serving Creek and Cherokee Indians who focused their lives on it. "But starting in the early 1800s and prevailing into this century, people turned their backs on it," says Bethea. "With the advent of the railroads, the populace without thinking let the most incredible pollution go downstream." Raw sewage, silt, agricultural fertilizers, and pesticides today make the Chattahoochee one of America's 10 most threatened rivers.
Bethea, another native Atlantan and a land planner who previously directed the Georgia Conservancy's water and wetlands programs, has an infectious enthusiasm for the river. "So few people have a sense of what the river system is all about; how small it is where it starts; where it ends up; where we are placed geographically within the watershed. Or how we use this living system: how it handles our waste; provides hydroelectric power; provides our drinking water drinking water
supply of water available to animals for drinking supplied via nipples, in troughs, dams, ponds and larger natural water sources; an insufficient supply leads to dehydration; it can be the source of infection, e.g. leptospirosis, salmonellosis, or of poisoning, e.g. , navigation, recreation, wildlife habitat.
"And people don't realize that Lake Lanier is the Chattahoochee dammed up - that it gave part of its life to a big impoundment An action taken by the president in which he or she proposes not to spend all or part of a sum of money appropriated by Congress.
The current rules and procedures for impoundment were created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 (2 U.S.C.A. which is, in turn, helping the city of Atlanta grow and develop. But the growth of metropolitan Atlanta has been the river's biggest blight . . . this large city at the top of the river basin, just where it isn't big enough to supply all the water we need or assimilate all our waste."
The Chattahoochee near Atlanta pays the price, listed by the EPA EPA eicosapentaenoic acid.
n.pr See acid, eicosapentaenoic.
n. as having the top five locations nationwide for 14 toxic chemicals.
Luckily, the young, activist Riverkeeper board has a great deal of expertise in science, law, and business. "It's willing to put itself on the line, knowing there could be sectors in Atlanta or this watershed who may not appreciate some of the tough actions we have to take," says Bethea.
Those tough actions include lawsuits, like one Riverkeeper is participating in against the city of Atlanta. It asks that the federal courts require the city to agree to, and meet, a strict timetable for resolving a longstanding phosphorus problem that is fouling drinking water, encouraging algae algae (ăl`jē) [plural of Lat. alga=seaweed], a large and diverse group of primarily aquatic plantlike organisms. These organisms were previously classified as a primitive subkingdom of the plant kingdom, the thallophytes (plants that growth, and making waterways less hospitable to living creatures.
A $50,000 grant from the Turner Foundation got Riverkeeper rolling (media mogul Ted Turner's daughter is one of the organization's guiding forces) and was followed by other support - including an EPA grant for a computer system that identifies every point source discharge in the section of the Chattahoochee that Riverkeeper monitors.
They identified 134, spatially laying them out using GIS technology, "so we could focus in on sub-watersheds or the major watershed. Every two months we visit the state offices and note any excedences, collecting trend information on these permitted discharges. Today, there are 54 industries above our drinking water intake that dump treated wastewater but who aren't always in compliance. So we really have our job cut out for us."
When asked about Riverkeeper's goals, Bethea lists: "To protect the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed. In some cases, that's to restore it where it's degraded; in others, to keep it as clean as it is (particularly in the headwaters and in the forest).
"We want compliance with all the federal clean-water permits in the system, to find unpermitted discharges and stop them, to protect riparian riparian adj. referring to the banks of a river or stream. (See: riparian rights) lands. The trees and vegetation on the river banks are essential to keep the waters cool and provide organic material for life in the water body.
"Conservation easements EASEMENTS, estates. An easement is defined to be a liberty privilege or advantage, which one man may have in the lands of another, without profit; it may arise by deed or prescription. Vide 1 Serg. & Rawle 298; 5 Barn. & Cr. 221; 3 Barn. & Cr. 339; 3 Bing. R. 118; 3 McCord, R. are another goal, through regulatory tools to try to maintain green buffers and restore them where there are none. We want to improve and/or enforce existing state and federal policies relating to water issues. And raise public awareness about the river.
"I guess you might say that we're the ultimate watchdog."
Public awareness is also most important to another committed native Atlantan, Lucie Griggs, Atlanta coordinator of AMERICAN FORESTS' Cool Communities program. In 1994 Atlanta joined the cities chosen for a pilot program involving strategically planted trees and use of light-colored building materials and pavements to reduce air temperatures in urban areas.
Griggs, an experienced business executive and dedicated conservationist, is aided by a local steering committee. It is comprised of trade associations, businesses, governmental agencies, and nonprofits like Trees Atlanta, with whom she plants trees in partnership.
When asked how Atlanta compares with the "ideal" Cool Community, Griggs replies, "This city is fortunate in having many in-town neighborhoods with dense, established tree canopies that residents appreciate and protect. It's blessed, too, to have such involved environmental and conservation groups, and those focused on energy conservation and neighborhood revitalization."
She finds minuses in the weak involvement of city government; weak public policy on trees, with poor maintenance on existing ones; and overwhelmingly dark-shingled residential roofing.
During its first year, Cool Communities located demonstration sites, determined tree canopy, and did ground truthing for AMERICAN FORESTS' GIS programs. In 1995-'96, the focus is on educating the public - from schoolchildren schoolchildren school npl → écoliers mpl;
(at secondary school) → collégiens mpl; lycéens mpl
schoolchildren school to home builders to television watchers.
One popular program has involved WXIA-TV, Atlanta's NBC NBC
in full National Broadcasting Co.
Major U.S. commercial broadcasting company. It was formed in 1926 by RCA Corp., General Electric Co. (GE), and Westinghouse and was the first U.S. company to operate a broadcast network. affiliate, which last summer compared daily temperatures (as it will this summer) between a treed, residential demonstration site and Hartsfield International Airport - which records Atlanta's official temperatures.
The Olympics offer a unique opportunity to educate not only Atlantans, but the world as well. Cool Communities will distribute its brochure at the Olympic Welcome Center and at Efficiency Stores run by Georgia Power, a member of the project's Local Advisory Committee.
And the Cool Communities concept will be displayed at the Department of Energy's new Education and Training Center at the 1996 Summer Games. The Center will house a model home utilizing Cool Communities strategies - which have been shown to reduce the demand for air conditioning in individual buildings by 30 percent and to significantly reduce smog, a major health hazard health hazard Occupational safety Any agent or activity posing a potential hazard to health. Cf Physical hazard. in U.S. cities.
But what about Atlanta, following what are expected to be the largest, best-attended, greenest Summer Olympics Games ever? What about this city that rose from the ashes This article is about the Pennywise album. For the Dungeons & Dragons accessory, see From the Ashes (Dungeons & Dragons).
In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , business and industry are jumping on the environmental bandwagon. One is United Parcel Service United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE: UPS), commonly referred to as UPS, is the world's largest package delivery company, delivering more than 15 million packages a day to 6.1 million customers in over 200 countries and territories around the world. , which from the outset designed its new Atlanta corporate headquarters to enhance and protect the area's forested surroundings. By saving trees, replanting indigenous species, preserving a stream, and avoiding construction damage to tree roots, it earned a Global ReLeaf for New Communities designation from the National Association of Home Builders The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is one of the largest trade associations in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the association organizes one of the largest conventions in North America, The International Builders' Show, which draws more than and AMERICAN FORESTS.
Perhaps the new Centennial Olympic Park symbolizes what's coming. The dream of Olympic head Billy Payne, its space was once a sorry acreage of parking lots, broken sidewalks, abandoned buildings, and weedy vacant land. "It is the single physical, tangible achievement of which I'm proudest," Payne says, "and will have the greatest long-term benefit for the city."
Some words of Roberto Goizueta, CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of the Coca Cola Company and enthusiastic backer of the Park, express why Atlanta is so special. "Far more than any quirk of geography, any historical trend, any specific industry, or any particular 'great men' or 'great women,'" he says, "the aspect that sets Atlanta apart is the record of its people getting together to do important things when they had to be done."
Nancy Anne Dawe, a freelance writer/photographer from Decatur, Georgia, often covers urban issues for American Forests.