Archive for February 20, 2013

City Street Trees Show Return on Investment

Pittsburgh’s trees provide value to our city, including capturing stormwater, providing energy savings from shade, cleaning the air, and increasing property values. Recently Tree Pittsburgh undertook an effort to assign a value to these benefits. They found that even though the City spends $850,000 annually on tree maintenance, it receives approximately $3.00 in benefits for every dollar spent. This project helped to convince the city to create a master plan for continued tree maintenance to ensure the street trees are healthy for years to come. Read more here.

Study Explores Why The Climate Bill Failed

A current story in Environmental Building News highlights a recent study of why attempts to pass climate legislation continue to fail. The report, “Naming the Problem” by Harvard University political scientist Theda Skocpol, Ph.D., places much of the blame on environmental groups for not better understanding their opposition and the political playing field. While common explanations for the inability to pass climate legislation include the economic recession and a lack of leadership from the President, Skocpol believes a more important factor was cap and trade supporters’ inability to recognize the polarization around this topic.

She looks to the Tea Party’s efforts to influence the country’s Republican officeholders, emphasizing that the right has been “very mobilized in that way…both organized locally and with big-money funders.” Just as the Tea Party activists pushed moderate Republicans to more extreme positions, Cap and Trade advocates must push Democrats further left. Adoption of climate change legislation will require both “grassroots and Beltway organizing” to effectively convince Congress that constituents demand action.

Recent extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy, have revived public concern over global warming, and could prove a basis for the grassroots involved Skocpol advocates for, writes activist Bill McKibben.

From Environmental Building News, by Erin Weaver. Read the full story here.

Post-Gazette Article Highlights Early Success of 2030 District!

In case you missed it, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a great story on February 6th highlighting the early success of the Pittsburgh 2030 District, which includes engaging 50% of the properties in the district within six months of its launch. Read more here: