As populations continue to expand all over the world, the need for dense sustainable cities is growing. With resources such as oil and water beginning to deplete, we as a society must re-think a lot of the ways we conduct things such as transportation, garbage pick-up, and land use. By living in New York City, I am able to witness on a daily basis the changes and improvements being made to a city that is already significantly more environmentally friendly than many other big cities in the United States. Because the 8,000,000 people who inhabit the area are not sprawled out, which forces transportation to be mainly dependent on car travel, New York is the densest city in U.S. This allows most of the travel to be public. As a teenager living on the Upper West Side I am able to go anywhere in the city by utilizing the MTA’s subway and bus system. Other metro areas such as Los Angeles can hardly say the same, because its populous are practically forced to own a car. Cars and the burning of fossil fuels being by far the most prevalent contributor of carbon emission city planning needs to continue, especially in terms of transportation, to move closer to more public ways of getting around.
With all the good work that New York City continues to do there are still many areas in which we will need to improve, especially in the next 10 to 20 years. The New York metro area is expected to grow by roughly 4 million residents. This growth brings the need for improved policies that will ensure that the already congested area stays sustainable. Some of the issues that are currently being worked on include harmful soot pollution that can be remedied by cutting diesel and cleaning up dirty heating oil in business and home. Other improvements are being made by implementing a new truck replacement program around NY/NJ port marine terminals, and advocating for expanded rail service. But these policies are only half the battle. On a personal level, we as Americans must make a consistent effort to cut our effect on the Earth. We must move away from habits and traditions that continue to contribute to the pollution and disregard for our planet. The only way we are going to be able to overcome the current obstacles is if there is an equal effort in politics and our daily lives to help sustain the planet. It is essential that humans make it their mission to habitually improve local communities.
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