On Feb. 13, the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s Journal of Environmental and Public Health presented an open forum event discussing the future of sustainable development within Allegheny County. Hosted by the Phipps Conservatory, the discussions led to powerful conversations about the expanding green revolution and the feasibility of Pittsburgh being one of the revolution’s leaders.
In his keynote address, U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, an advocate for renewable development, spoke about the political and fiscal challenges, such as decreased federal funding, facing sustainable projects around the county. One of the solutions he is pushing is the prioritizing of legislation that seeks to provide financial assistance to cities that aim to power their business through renewable energy. However, he is firm on the belief that the economic and employment benefits are worth the initial sacrifices and believes that Pittsburgh, “has many pieces of the puzzle, and has the opportunity to be the Silicon Valley of green development.”
The event featured various industry leaders in both nuclear and natural gas development who believe that their energy source answers the calls for clean, responsible energy. Of course, the limited time did not allow for resolution of the criticisms leveled at nuclear energy, such as the creation of radioactive waste, or the destructive and energy-intensive mining and refining itself. Natural gas has its own issues as well, and while it might be cleaner than coal energy in some regards, fossil fuels of any kind just don’t compare to the low emission renewable energy sources such as wind power.
Simply put, Pittsburgh has all the ingredients to be a leader in sustainable development. The question is, will Pittsburgh finance the dream or let other cities take the lead? Do your part to fuel the future you want to see for our region by joining GASP and other environmental groups in the region, and let your voice be heard.
–Guest author Matt Ferrer