Firstly, I want to talk about what I mean by walkable cities, I had the concept in my head for a very long time, years, I just didn’t know there was a term for these pedestrian friendly neighborhoods. A scale of 0 to 100 is used to describe how walkable a city is, with some of the higher-ranking cities being San Francisco and New York City. I have seen changes both in the Denver/Aurora area and even in my hometown of El Paso that are making the cities more pedestrian friendly. This is important because it decreases the need to drive, which decreased the amount of CO2 emissions.
City Wide Actions for Decreasing Pollution
Examples of city changes that increase our walkability score are the construction of more bike lanes, more parks, and alternative greener transportation. For example, electric trains and renting scooters/bikes to get around in the downtown areas. Also, something I wasn’t aware of was the big influence of city zones which as John Speck and other have described are the reason why we have areas of medical building away from shopping mall areas which are away from our homes/urban areas. This makes it all inconvenient for us, it’s why it feels that we’re driving all over the city all day just to complete a few errands. Personally, I like it when my errands are all conveniently located either within walking distance of each other or by a short bike ride.
Increasing a Sense of Community
I have seen fairs, festivals, and on random days individuals displaying their musical talents or other skills of entertainment in areas such as malls, downtown, or in other high pedestrian trafficked areas. It brings me joy to see how these areas allow the communities to walk around and just enjoy the local stores, food, and artists. I believe that walkable cities encourage the participation in community events. This also helps grow and nurture a healthy sense of a true community. I’ve bumped into co-workers in local art fairs and it gives us something pleasant to talk about on our next day at work. We are not just strangers; we feel like we are friends and neighbors. It provides healthier and more natural social interactions. I feel that technology has robbed the younger generations of vital yet basic life skills. Many hide behind silver screens and don’t know how to communicate effectively much less how to tolerate and engage with someone who has different opinions than our own.
Supporting Local Businesses
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, fairs and community events are fun, but also supporting local businesses. Who better knows our needs, problems, and wants than someone living among us? I love shopping at local businesses, they have the most interesting, unique, and usually higher quality products. They might not always be the cheapest but sometimes quality is more important than price, plus you’re support the dream of a member of your community not some strange CEO of a corporation who you’ve never met and probably is only interested in their next bonus check. It’s true that a big grocery store may have 10 different types of shampoos but when it comes to zero-waste principles they aren’t the best choice. I’m lucky to be able to make my own and for others, otherwise I’ve also seen some very neat shampoo bars in local craft stores. These are often vegan and without all the plastic packaging. Farmer’s markets are great places to shop as well, they provide fresher and better produce than the more popular grocery stores. If local business stepped up to the plate, there would be less trash from all the packaging and less carbon footprint from all those delivery trucks.
Back to Parchment LLC.
Related to this community-oriented business model, Back to Parchment, a book company that sells books on Amazon along with Random Book Bundles within their community in North Richland Hills, Texas. They promote used books in an effort to combat the misconception that if something is not brand new it’s not worth someone’s time. It is easy to participate you just visit their website www.backtoparchment.com and make a selection of 3-6 genres you are interested in and they will send you an assortment of books based on your choices. You can also follow them on Facebook @backtoparchment or on Twitter @Back2Parchment. They are a good example of the reuse principle of zero waste, so shout out to them.
Live Green Simply
My business is also a good example of zero waste because I reuse what I can to make art, boxes, bottles, and other junk items. In the process of creating my products be it art, crafts, or body care items, I aim to reduce what I use to only the basic and reduce the amount of waste I produce, otherwise I recycle or compost what I can. Live Green Simply aims to make the transition to zero-waste as easy and as fun as possible for my community of El Paso and neighboring areas of Juarez and Las Cruces. Currently because of my limited funds I offer my knowledge, skills, experience to others in their journey and also provide homemade body care items and crafts. The goal however is to open a small shop where you all can visit and get refills of items and buy eco-friendly tools that will facilitate following a zero-waste lifestyle. So please help support me in my mission to help you to help the environment.