Voluntary work took place at the south George beach, Gully and headlands. The key activity was to remove prickly pear cactus weed in the areas. Prickly pears cactus inhibits the growth and regeneration of native plants. It is a drought persistent plant but it prefers moist environments. They are mostly found in pastures, near water bodies, sandy-soil environments, roadsides and coastal areas. This explains why it was found at the beaches. Its removal was necessary in enhancing a balanced ecosystem at the beach. Removing the weed allows the native sea vegetation to thrive without any inhabitation.
In effort to do so, 30 buckets of prickly pears were removed from south George, headlands and Gully. They were disposed of at the chandler land fill tanks in Brisbane. 40 buckets of prickly pears were also collected on Flinders Beach roadway. The later were disposed in local industrial bins. The weeds were removed physically. This is the most efficient way of permanent removal from their habitat. We ensured no parts of the plant were left behind. Gloves were worn to protect the hands from the spines and barbs.
Proper disposal ensures the plant does not reproduce. Prickly pears reproduce by seed or branch segments. Disposal in local dustbins and land fill tanks was thus an effective way to dispose the weeds. A land fill is a place where different types of wastes are buried. They are hollowed out areas to legally dispose waste. They aim at preventing contamination of environment by buried waste. Landfills are thus an effective way to dispose prickly pears seeds .Dust bins are also effective. The weeds cannot reproduce or thrive in this environment.
Apart from removing the weeds, a clean-up activity also took place. It entailed collecting recyclable and non-recyclable waste materials. Five bags of rubbish and eight of recyclables were collected. The site had been cleaned the previous month at a local festival. This contributed to the low litter loads experience. The absence of recent ocean swell activities also led to reduced litter loads. Participating students also interviewed residents. This helped in creating an insight on environmental cleanliness literacy level. Some showed basic knowledge while others were ignorant on the issue. This shows an information gap that should be rectified. The public should be educated on environmental cleanliness in effort to foster it.
Professional improvement activity
I attended an Einaz event on Wednesday 29th August 2108. The event was titled, ‘Growing green: A sustainable cities panel. The event took place in CQU- 160 Ann Street, Brisbane. The panel aimed at development ideas towards creating better cities. This can be done in different ways. The panels discussed and voiced their ideologies in various ways.
The first panelist was Adam Beck, the executive director of the smart cities council ANZ. He focused his presentation on development of smart cities. A smart city is one that dramatically improves the rate of sustainability and resilience .This can be arrived by undertaking certain initiatives. This includes engaging the society in decision making. This will ensure peaceful co existences in the city. It will also reduce hostility from the public towards the administrators. Applying collaborative leadership is also key. This ensures diversity of ideas and prevents dictatorship in decision-making. A smart city also relies on how data and integrated technologies are used. The two should be used for the benefit of the people.
Creating smart cities aims at transforming services and quality of life of those involved. This includes locals, visitors and business people. In so doing, the administrators have to be smart. They should make smart investments and have smart policies. They should also use technology in a smart way. This will enhance economic investments and better living standards. Achieving this is a great step toward having a smart city. Smart cities ensure live ability, workability and sustainability conditions are conducive.
Constructions and buildings make the physical layout of the city. This area however, lags behind other sectors in using technology. Others fields have eagerly embraced the use of technology. This includes fields like medicine, agriculture, education and civil service. Lack of use of technology leads to wastage of effort. It also leads to emergence of environmental sensitive conditions. In Australia for instance, buildings alone will emit almost half of its carbon budget. This is in relation to the country’s 2050 carbon budget. The incorporation of technology in construction will come with a great boost. Less effort will be used when making different structures. Less effort will reduce construction cost thus creating an economic advantage. More environmental-friendly constructions will also become possible.
MR Adam Beck finalized his presentation by stating the five principles of a smart city. The principles provide a guideline towards achieving the subject goal. One should be strategic, connected, aware, innovative and responsive. Having the right strategy ensures the right actions are taken. Strategy ensures proper utilization of funds preventing mismanagement. Being connected entails involving all parties involved in the city. It also points at having good network and power services. This ensures digital connection in the city.
Awareness is developing actionable intelligence. Awareness optimizes performance in real time. It also facilitates predictive analysis. Innovativeness ensures creativity in development, implementing ideas and problem solving. Being responsive is a key principle. Every party involved should be responsible in whichever part they play. Creating smart city is a team objective, which requires high responsibility levels.
The other panelist was Madam Natalie Rayment. She is the director of Wolter consulting group. She is also the co-founder of YIMBY. YIMBY is an acronym for ‘Yes in my back yard’. A movement aims at fighting for better housing conditions. She had a presentation on street life. Emphases put in rethinking the way we design our roads and streets. For a long time, developers have prioritized cars when designing urban areas. This has disadvantaged human experiences in cities. We should seize the opportunity to bring back people to the heart of the city. Having a human focused approach when designing built environment is encouraged.
Creating streets that are people sensitive is in line with achieving sustainable development. Sustainable development means using available resources responsibly. This prevent depletion of relation with considerations to future generations. Sustainable development can be achieved in cities in various ways. Having car free days to reduce fuel usage. Less fuel usage leads to lower carbon emissions thus cleaner environment. Car free days is thus an essential consideration. Street greening is also suggested. It involves incorporation of plants in our streets. This has both an aesthetic and environmental value. The city will look more attractive. The plants will help clean the street thus a cooler safer environment.
Having human focused streets has various advantages. They can be environmental, economic or social benefits. Socially it will lead to reduced crime levels due to increased security. Physical activity and childhood development is enhanced. Improvement in social cohesion and productivity in work places will be evident. Economically it will lower healthcare cost. Land values will increase and so will the property prices. Improved aestheticism will increase tourism and recreation levels. Improved air quality will be a key environmental benefit. Better biodiversity and urban microclimate is expected. Ambient noise and visual amenity will also be improved. This thus creates a human experience for us and the future generations. She elaborated on this aspect using visual images. They showed different parts of the world where the subject concept had been initiated.
Michelle Cottrell, an urban planning leader, was the third panelist. Her presentation was titled ‘Growing green’. The presentation where centered in making calculated developments in urban areas. This helps prevent urban sprawl. Urban sprawl refers to the uncontrolled expansion of urban areas. The key reason for this is the increase of population. This consequently leads to increase in housing demand. Her argument is based on Brisbane as the subject city of interest.
She advocates for the YIMBY (Yes in my yard movement). This is because it advocates for building of houses to cater for the increasing population. This on the other hand may lead to urban sprawl. In Brisbane, the public is not at peace with thus ideology. They complain of their backyards being taken away. They also see developers as unsympathetic since they are changing the nature of the city. The public form the NIMBY (not in my backyard) movement. This however comes at a price.
Natalie suggests the legalization of some housing strategies. This will help to cater for the high demand of housing due to increased population. This includes allowing multiple storey houses. She displayed photos of other cities with the same population as Brisbane. The cities had better strategies and physical layouts. She also emphasized on making our cities green. This can be done by planting trees in the cities. Careful strategy will also ensure other is space for planting the plant. Planting grass and flowers is also a key way of making our cities green. The presentation was very insightful, educational and eye opening. The concepts discussed can be of great essence if correctly implemented.