To the editor:
“The people of Ecuador went still farther, changing their constitution in 2008 to acknowledge the rights of nature and permit their people to sue on behalf of ecosystems, trees, rivers, and mountains.” — From David Orr’s new book, “Down to the Wire, Confronting Climate Collapse.”
Imagine a Lawrence where local businesses use one-third of the energy that they now use but with better indoor lighting for retail downtown at a fraction of the cost.
Imagine the possibility of a new four-star LEED platinum hotel and conference center (with no TIF funding and non-monitored design and construction cost), using readily available geothermal, wind and solar renewable energy with some restaurants sheathed in “green walls” as a new carbon-neutral, zero discharge in a downtown arts district.
Imagine a 24/7 downtown with visitors who came to experience the buzz of the oasis in Kansas, the first working model of post-fossil-fuel prosperity.
Imagine traveling just outside town to Overbrook and Lecompton, Jefferson and Leavenworth counties where dozens of farms form a greenbelt around the city, providing summer jobs for teens from nearby Kansas City who arrive by rail to learn the practice of sustainable agriculture.
Imagine a town where, like Chicago, they promoted greenroofs to avoid the kind of heat sink effects caused by large paving areas inextricably linked to suburban sprawl and the use of large expanses of high maintenance cost artificial athletic fields by ill-advised school districts in a state known for its native grasslands.