This is my 100th article/column for Katy Trail Weekly! I’ve covered a variety of environmental issues that relate to our everyday lives: from water issues, cosmetics, moving, overpopulation, toiletries, viruses, hunting, tea, nuclear energy and many more. If you’re wondering how some of those can be environmental, it’s key to remember that everything we use, ultimately, the resources used to produce the products, come from the environment. Every single thing we do and touch can be related to our impact on this planet. My goal in the last 100 articles has been to bring light to an issue you may have never thought about, inspire you to investigate and encourage you to get out and explore!
These articles aren’t one sided; I also get something out of writing them. Here are my top 5 things I’ve learned from writing 100 environment focused articles for Katy Trail Weekly in Dallas.
5. Dallas transportation is an uphill battle. We paint bike lines on car lanes, build more roads for personal vehicles with no sidewalks or alternate transportation options and the future plans lack creativity and forward thinking. We have highly successful commuter trails such as the Katy Trail, which also increased property values but haven’t completed several trail connections to give people an alternate way to commute or experience the city. In Texas, one person was killed every 2 hours 29 minutes in 2014. Driving our gas guzzling vehicles are not good for the planet and dangerous for us, yet we aren’t pushing for alternatives.
4. Architecture in Dallas does have some creativity pockets and many buildings are opting to include Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification in their plans. The U.S. Green Building Council is active and thriving in North Texas helping to design buildings that are sustainable. Home size is still “Texas sized,” but there are a few builders focusing on affordable housing. And don’t forget about the tiny home movement that has also hit the DFW area, with momentum moving forward.
3. The Trinity River is at a make or break point. Construction has destroyed the riparian areas, a toll road looms in its future, a dream city park could be on its horizon and what it really needs is to be restored to a healthy ecosystem first. No park on its banks will be successful if the river is not cleaned up. Speaking of parks, it’s amazing how many we have in the DFW area; many I have yet to explore and many readers inform me are worth checking out. In the year of #FindYourPark, have you found yours?
2. People are resistant to change. In many aspects of my life, I am as well. The best way to appreciate your city and encourage change for the better in it, is to get out of it. Even if just for a day, hit the open road and explore what makes Texas great — open space. Within an hour drive you can get to the country, find a mom and pop restaurant, slow down and reconnect to nature. Or hop on a plane and discover the innovative approaches to sustainability happening around the world. Any travel gives you a unique perspective to bring back to Dallas with an open mind to change for improvement.
1. There is a thriving, large group powering an “underground” environmental movement in Dallas. There are thousands of local passionate people making sure the work they do in their everyday lives has a positive impact on the community and the environment. Often their stories make it into mainstream media and into ground level politics, but as the numbers increase this will happen more. If Earth Day Texas is any indication of the future of environmental initiatives in North Texas, we are headed to a plethora of creative projects. This year, Earth Day Texas hosted record numbers of attendees, exhibitors and speakers all right here in Fair Park — let’s keep that energy going year round.
In a world where doing something for the environment is often green washed or done for publicity, let’s hold companies and people accountable to keep it real. Nothing would exist without a healthy functioning environment, so let’s keep it !