Tonight’s episode of The Green – Big Ideas for a Small Planet is entitled “Grow” and focuses on the importance of green space, especially in our cities. Humans have interrupted the natural flow of plant growth with the building of concrete jungles, but there are steps that can me taken to balance out some of the harmful effects. In addition to the environmental impact, there is also a social cost of decreasing green areas which includes obesity, increased stress levels, respiratory diseases, and diabetes to name a few.
The first idea is the Green Roof. Jorg Breuning of Green Roof Service, LLC, tells us that a green roof consists of a thin layer of soil along with tough plants and is designed to be installed on big city rooftops. When you consider the fact that places like New York City have areas consisting of 20% rooftop, it is worth noting the benefits a green roof can bring. Benefits include a decrease in a building’s energy needs by creating a cooling effect, prolonged roof life by absorbing moisture and protecting against UV rays, less harmful runoff from the building, and the creation of a habitat for birds. Green roofs thrive on rain and require only a minimum maintenance effort. In comparison to our European counterparts, we seem to be lagging behind in keeping our cities green. For example, 15% of all flat roofs in Germany are green roofs, which is enough to cover all of the roofs in New York City three times!
Next we have Vynnie Mcdaniels, a garden consultant at Xeriscope, who shows us how a gardening system that drips water into underground plant roots can use 50% less water than a sprinkler. He also points out the fact that grass requires a lot of water to maintain, especially in places like Phoenix, AZ, where it is common to water the lawn three times a day. His system also uses plants that require less water then grass.
Last up we have Jennifer Jimenez of The Trust for Public Land who spends her time creating awareness of the need for park lands in our cities. By creating temporary parks in parking lots and alongside busy city streets in St. Paul, MN, Jennifer has helped the cities people realize the importance and benefits of having accessible parks in the city.
Things we can do to make a difference:
– Don’t set up a gardening system that requires a substantial amount of water.
– Water the garden early in the morning to decease moisture loss due to evaporation.
– If you live in a city, consider installing a Green Roof.
– Replace grass with plants that can survive by themselves and without the need for constant watering.
– Tell your local representatives that you want more parks and green space in your community.
Watch The Green Tuesday nights on Sundance at 9pm EST. For more information, visit their website at www.sundancechannel.com/thegreen.