What is green infrastructure? Green infrastructure is a sustainable alternative to conventional sewer drains for storm water management. Green infrastructure combines the natural environment and engineered systems to manage storm water runoff. This process utilizes natural elements to reduce and treat storm water here on the UNL campuses, before the water makes its way to our rivers and creeks. Green infrastructure filters contaminants from runoff water, ensures less erosion of stream banks, and reduces stress on conventional sewer systems.
Due to the geography of our city, Lincoln is at an increased risk for flooding. When the city relies on the sewer system alone to mitigate intense rainfall, back-ups can occur when the drains are at capacity. This is where green infrastructure can be beneficial. Absorbent soils, rain gardens, underground cisterns, and porous pavement all move storm water to areas it can be used for vegetation, rather than straight to the sewer.
Our call to action is for people to start becoming aware of the sustainable water systems that are right in front of them. By understanding the urban water cycle, a person is able to advocate for more sustainable practices. It takes long-range planning and resources to implement, but it also takes an open-mind, education, and support on the part of the people. Just as recycling was a difficult concept to wrap ones head around, green infrastructure will take some time to really sink in. Informing individuals on new, sustainable practices will allow the technology and implementation of green infrastructure to advance at a quicker rate. When individuals are more informed about the world around them, they can better advocate for sustainable practices. Public acceptance of green infrastructure is the launch pad for rapid sustainable growth.
We hope to raise awareness for green infrastructure so that students, faculty, and staff will understand the importance and benefits these systems could have on our environment. When more sustainable systems are implemented here at UNL, our campus will be taking steps towards cleaner air, cleaner water, and climate resiliency. To learn more about green infrastructure at UNL, watch for our signs around campus and swing by our booth at the ASUN Earthstock Block Party on April 21st from 11am-2pm.
Why do our cities need Green Infrastructure? Why should the UNL community pay attention to the environment around them? Watch the video to find out!