A New Kind of Ethanol in Norfolk?

Ever since the industrial revolution, there has been a rapid expansion of metropolises.  Like most urban cities, Norfolk has problems with crime, pollution, water, transportation, overpopulation, and increased health concerns.  But also with city living comes opportunity, conveniences, and the fascination of life.  All these things are accompanied by risks associated with large populations in a limited area.  Pollution becomes a common problem that can influence the quality, or lack there of, of the air and water.

Norfolk is surrounded by water, that is why it is important what we put into it.  Out of Norfolk’s encompassing 66 square miles, seven miles are of the Chesapeake Bay beachfront and a grand total of 144 miles of shoreline lakes, rivers, and the Bay.  The problems stem with the declining quality of the rivers that feed into the Bay.  The Elizabeth River is the body of water surrounding the Hampton Roads area and Norfolk, home to our nation’s largest Navy base.  Today, the Elizabeth River is the roadway of military vessels and freighters in-between fertilizer and pesticide plants, shipyards and dry-docks, and other operations.  These operations define the river as a “working river”.  But with this term the Elizabeth River is often called one of the nation’s most polluted waterways.

That is why, with planning Norfolk for the year 2030, the revisions to be considered need to involve filtering stormwater runoff, sewage, and increasing the water quality.  Especially by creating a backup system, in the form of generators, that run on waste water ethanol.  This search for alternative fuels to fuel our cars and other things like our home has been a successful trend.  So the breakthrough of turning wastewater into ethanol is another step closer to having more “green” energy sources.



The Shareable Future of Cities

How many people does Steffen estimate we will have living in or near cities by mid-century? 8 billion +

Explain how you agree or disagree with Steffen’s point that our energy use is “predestined” rather than “behavioral”. I agree with his point that energy use is “predestined” instead of “behavioral”.  Most of our lives and daily routines call for fast transportation and immediate response.  So energy use falls right into that trap of the on-the-go routine of our everyday lives and does not become an option to use it or not.

What correlation does Steffen make between a city’s density and its climate emissions? A direct relationship is proven by Steffan between a city’s density and their climate emissions.  For example, denser places tend to have lower emissions.  This is due to everything that we need is close by.  But that makes logic sense since we spew all these climate emissions making pointless trips in places where things are not close by.

What are the “eco districts” that Steffen mentions? How you see these as feasible or unfeasible in a city like Norfolk“Eco districts” are sustainable neighborhoods.  I see it feasible in a city like Norfolk because Norfolk is such an urban area and is projected to grow in the next few years that something as revolutionary as this could work.

Explain how you agree or disagree with the “threshold effect” that Steffen discusses related to transportation. I can see how that concept could work. But my only concern with a “threshold effect” is everything, again, would need to be close by and easy to commute to.  The concept though is very intriguing.

What does Steffen mean by the idea that, “…even space itself is turning into a service…”? Can you provide any examples that you see here in Norfolk or elsewhere? He means that there are ways to improve current spaces.  By grouping a lot of services and companies in one building or individuals sharing a space for more than one purpose. An example are home run companies; using your home for also work related things.

Describe your understanding of Steffen’s argument that, “…it’s not about the leaves above, but the systems below…”. It’s not about “showing off” per say how green you are, but about how efficient what you are showing off works.

Finally, overall in what way(s) do you see Steffen’s ideas working / not working here in Norfolk?  I agree with what he says that every city is an opportunity.  Norfolk has the potential to change, like any major city, and change for the better of the people and environment.  But it is hard to implement such large changes when it isn’t habit for most of the people and commuters.  So with change comes an equal effort from participants.


Spring Team Racing Pre-Season Rankings

Sail1Design wrote an article identifying the teams to look out for during spring team race season. A group of the TR panel made up by college coaches around the country, talk about the teams and the key players to watch out for this season, as the start of season is slowly approaching in a few weeks.  The article is divided into sections by conferences and the teams that fall under those conferences.  Here is the excerpt about our team outlook:

“Old Dominion – A young team that had a great fall, looking to prove themselves this spring.  Look for skipper Dillion Paiva to lead the Monarchs with Brady Stagg, Gavin Rudolph, and Scott Hoffman rounding out the drivers.  As for crews, All-American Emily Reich will contribute greatly to the team, in addition to Chloe Constants and Jill Fattibene