The Story of Rolesdale

The article was not entirely true.

Gazing out the apartment window, Rolesdale is filled with thick, grey smog, making it difficult to see. Trash litters the roads; faces are covered with thick masks. Hardly a tree is found. I tried to find the place of my childhood; where I would play soccer, meet with friends... I couldn’t see it.

When I was 20, I moved to Kernel- a city built to be sustainable. It had been 5 years since I had seen my family. This year, I returned to Rolesdale for a visit.

“ John Cornfield, are you going to spend your time here daydreaming? Come and eat! I made your favourite, corn pot pie.”

“Coming, Mom.”

Many times, I urged my family to move away from Rolesdale. It’s not healthy for them to live in this polluted place. But for them, it was home- where their ancestors had lived. They didn’t want to disrupt that tradition.

My great grandparents once told me how beautiful Rolesdale used to be. A magnificent forest covered the land, producing a supply of fresh air. It provided our ancestors with wood, which could be traded from company to company. Lumber and building fuelled the economy, keeping the city going. Plants and animals provided plentiful food. A river meandered by; our ancestors had settled here, where they had with fresh water for bathing and drinking. The city was beautiful; this incentivised many people to move here.

Rolesdale’s tourism industry flourished; many flocked from around the world, craving to see its parks and natural amenities. They saw endless biodiversity, and an amazing landscape. As time passed, however, Rolesdale became highly populated- going from a population of 10,000, to 1 million people. With many new migrants, resource demand rose drastically.

Our city went the industrial course. Throughout history, many societies had gone through this stage. Some of them used up their resources, and collapsed; others adapted, becoming sustainable. London, for example, once had critically high emission levels; with regulations and change, however, it became sustainable. We didn’t.

As more companies entered Rolesdale, the logging industry grew. In months, Rolesdale’s forests were ravaged. This devastated surrounding biodiversity. Hardwood trees were depleted, important plants gone. Animals we needed for food disappeared; we were deprived of what they had supplied. The biodiversity web collapsed. Rolesdale lost its beauty. Civilians were outraged, some leaving Rolesdale altogether. Tourism turned away. Eventually, there was no construction lumber; housing industries suffered.

As industrialization increased, grass was replaced by concrete. When rainstorms fell upon our city, the water couldn’t be absorbed; it slid across the concrete, picking up toxic pollutants along our streets, and eventually made its way into our watershed. With little trees, there were few tree roots to prevent bank erosion. Factories dumped pollution in the river. The river decayed; animals died. Citizens were forced to use dirty water; sickness rose, and the city’s work force dwindled. There were oil slicks on the river’s surface- I remember, once, seeing smoke on the water. It was quickly snuffed out. If it hadn’t been, it could have caused millions of dollars in property damage.

Nevertheless, industry continued to expand.

With more population, there was more civilian demand. We needed power, whether for electricity or water. We dug out non-renewable resources. As we used up coal and oil, companies desired to seek out more; however, the resources were non-renewable. Irreplaceable. Our energy levels dwindled.

Factories were built, polluting air and water. Greenhouse gas emissions, trapped warmth in the atmosphere. Drought, caused by rising temperatures, settled on the land. Biodiversity died. Crops and remaining food sources disappeared. Local food ran out, and civilians ate unhealthy, non-fresh foods. Farmers, their crops killed, were economically ravaged; many went out of business.

This caused civilian anger and concern. Social protests appeared, growing in violence and frequency. Our city became unsafe. People flocked to city ministers for help, begging them to solve destruction and pollution levels. They got no response. With the ever-growing worker population and industry, responding would disrupt short-term city productivity.

My family, still, continued to live here. I wanted them to live a healthy life. After the dinner, I studied interactions between humanity and the environment, from past, present and future. The next day, I travelled to the government office.

I proposed to city officials. I compared Rolesdale to Kernel, and showed how Kernel had grown successful and sustainable. I outlined Kernel’s characteristics, which Rolesdale needed to follow to improve.

Rolesdale, for one, did not use green energy. Following the example of cities like Vancouver, Kernel focuses on renewable resources. It builds hydro dams, solar panels, and wind turbines. it invests and innovates for new, green energy sources- like drawing from bike pedalling, and compost. It regulates businesses, making sure factories are sustainable, and conserves energy- for example, by installing energy-conserving LED lights. Kernel can provide itself renewable, lasting energy...

Many cities, such as Curitiba, discourage the use of personal cars. Instead, they encourage public transits. Kernel builds huge public transport lines, all powered by electricity- metros, subways, and buses. It invests in magnetic trains, and more pollution-free transportation. It promotes walking and bicycling, and only allows citizen car use on certain days of the week. With less air pollution, disease levels are low, and Kernel’s life expectancy is high. Kernel’s transportation systems dissipate traffic jams, which were caused by excessive personal car use. As a result, the city is more efficient than other cities.

Kernel focuses on reducing land trash and pollution. It encourages civilians to use reusable containers, bottles, and bags. It distributes free recycling containers to citizens, and upholds strict recycling laws. Over three-quarters of its waste is recycled. It created a department for proper waste management, and- following Japan’s example- placed heavy fines on littering. It regulates companies, prohibiting dumping chemicals in the water. It encourages citizens to use less fertilizer, and to not wash their cars on driveways. Less runoff entered the watershed. Kernel’s river, important for water supply, was kept clean and healthy.

In-city, Kernel builds massive greenhouses. It constructs vertical gardens- patches of crops and greens, grown along the length of skyscrapers. It promotes local food to citizens, and companies sell fresh produce. With a clean atmosphere, its crops grow well; Kernel can feed citizens sustainably, and can even export to other cities. The city plants greenery and trees along roads, streets, parks and highways. Companies promote “green roofs”- roofs with grass and soil atop- to convert more stone into green space. Rainwater, which soaks into soil, has no room for ending up as toxic runoff. All of these factors, I explained, had lead Kernel to be the beautiful, peaceful, sustainable city it is today.

A sustainable city is a city that functions with stability, that innovates, and provides for a diverse community of citizens, businesses and environments. It considers its long term prosperity, and monitors its use of environment. It works to preserve resources for the future. Sustainability is promoting biodiversity. It is long lasting energy, food and civilian health. It is encouraging sustainable businesses.

Although it may not grow fast in the short term, I explained, Kernel is able to thrive via long-term preservation. If Rolesdale could follow its example, it could become a better city in the future, and go back to it’s former glory...

The End

Bibliography:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_city
  • http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2010/12/13/green-city-rehab-12-eco-urban-makeover-concepts/
  • http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20141215-living-in-the-worlds-most-eco-friendly-cities
  • http://popupcity.net/5-most-eco-friendly-cities-around-the-globe/
  • https://www.entitymag.com/cities-can-reduce-co2-emission/
  • https://www.epa.gov/climate-impacts/climate-impacts-society
  • http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/How-Does-Pollution-Affect-Humans
  • http://permaculturenews.org/2016/01/07/why-is-sustainability-important?
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_sustainability

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