Parks and Sustainability

 

          Parks and Sustainability

             By Trish Elliott                                                           

 

Parks serve as valuable locations for shared community activities and public interaction.  Most communities are striving to make their parks effective models of sustainability, both naturally and socially.  To function as a social center, parks need to serve residents of all ages, abilities, and social status. King and Prince-St Simons Island-Neptune Park-Road Trekin Adventures- Social sustainability includes outreach programs, especially to underserved populations.  It is important to do this while addressing the current needs of each area, without compromising the future.

 

This interaction can be increased by giving all public park employees training in social and natural sustainability.  There are several benefits for strong social sustainability practices in public parks:

 

(1)  It promotes public health

(2)  It reduces obesity

(3)  It improves public health thru interactions with nature

(4)  It promotes healthier food by encouraging community gardens

(5)  It provides livable communities

(6)  It encourages community support

(7)  Creates cultural and educational opportunities

(8)  Improves the air and soil

(9)  Provides employment opportunities

 

A thriving public park social program also creates volunteer opportunities and promotes ecological values.

 

On the economic side, local governments need to make sure, despite overall cuts in the budgets, that parks are fully funded.  This economic sustainability is primal and and its benefits are numerous:

 

(1)  It will strengthen the economy

(2)  Increases property values

(3)  Protects open spaces

(4)  Reduces health-related expenses

(5)  Reduces individual and family costs thru programs and local gardens

(6)  Promotes tourism

 

And of course, all parks should strive for environmental sustainability by recycling, modeling behavior, instituting systems to harvest water, and provide healthy ecosystems.  This includes planting native, water purification, striving for clean air, and encouraging food quality.  In addition, parks can strive for the following:

 

(1)  Reduce carbon emissions in all equipment

(2)  Enhance bike trails

(3)  Provide transportation alternatives

(4)  Increase plantings of trees

(5)  Develop a soil plan and conduct regular soil testing

(6)  Reduce vulnerability to flooding

(7)  Increase acreage of protecte lands

(8)  Create habitat restoration opportunities

(9)  Increase use of composting and green waste

 

By monitoring how power is used, water and utility costs and usage,

the level also be positively affected with the following practices:

 

(1)  Reduce vehicle use and consumption

(2)  Look at other fuel and energy sources

(3)  Reduce water usage

(4)  Track fuel usage for trucks and vehicles

(5)  Expand the use of LED lighting

(6)  Paperless electronic storage for all administration

(7)  Create irrigation systems

 

These practices, put into effect, will give life and beauty to every community, and will connect people to the natural environment, reduce costs, and ensure the longevity of parks and recreation facilities for all residents in the area, for generations yet to come.

Source: Road Trekin Adventures / Baret News Wire

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