Breakout Session 4

2 - 2:50 p.m.

Urban Agriculture, Community Food Systems and Environmental Justice

Rachel Weaver

Local food advocacy and urban agrarianism is a form of environmental justice as we care for the plants, animals and people within our communities. I offer a unique perspective and want to share my experiences as a young agrarian. From 2012–2015, I worked on a sustainable farm project in Denton. I learned the physical and emotional commitments required to be a young urban farmer participating in farmers markets. In 2014, I began working at a nature preserve and began coordinating and managing an educational garden there. I host Spring and Fall Organic Gardening Workshops and grow vegetables that are donated to local community kitchens and day cares. In 2016, I began working at the Denton Community Market as vendor coordinator. I coordinate 150+ vendors that include farmers, bakers, food vendors, artisans musicians that attend the Market. We are always striving to improve opportunities for farmers to participate and improve access to healthy foods for more communities.
 Urban Farming/Gardening and Environmental Justice

Sustainability Implementation for Small Cities

Duy Vu

With a population of less than 50,000 people, Cedar Hill is a leader in sustainability in the metroplex, proving that size does not matter to implement an effective sustainability program. In 2011, the city created a Sustainability Action Plan which set in motion initiatives that have set Cedar Hill apart. The city was one of the first in the nation to install automatic metering infrastructure (AMI) to all public water meters. The AMI program is set to pay for itself within 7.5 years. The city completed installation of a 480-panel 152.64 kW solar photovoltaic system and a 4.5kW vertical axis wind turbine at the Government Center. The city purchased two all-electric vehicles and at the time installed the only publicly accessible charging stations in the metroplex. Cedar Hill provides avenue to public electronic recycling and household hazardous waste disposal free to all residents. The city converted to 96 gallon recycling carts, increasing diversion by 258 percent. AND MORE!
 Smart Cities

Texas Native Wild Cats: Was that a Bobcat
or a Mountain Lion in my Neighborhood?

Monica Morrison

Monica discusses the five species of native wild cats that call or have called Texas home: jaguar, mountain lion, bobcat, ocelot and jaguarundi. Due to our proximity to Latin America, we have a wide diversity of wild cats, including the only breeding population of one species in the United States. These five cats face a variety of threats to their existence. Three are endangered, and two are non-game species. She examines efforts to save two endangered species and efforts to help non-game species. She also provides a comprehensive view of the Texas mountain lion, including its characteristics, habitat and range; mountain lion management at the federal and state level; trapping and its consequences; mountain lion scientific studies; status compared to other states with a resident mountain lion population; prior conservation efforts; its role in the ecosystem as a keystone species; threats; livestock protection from mountain lions; and conclusion.

Saving Humankind: A Peek Behind the Curtain
of Environmental Panic

Gary Gene Olp, FAIA, LEED Fellow

Today, every watercooler and street corner is abuzz with apocalyptic prognostications about the end of the Earth as we know it: Species extinction, global warming, GMO foods, loss of the ice caps, loss of all coastal cities, an 8 degree rise in temperature and a planet that will be consumed in fire and a total loss of all fertile and habitable land. The discussion will embrace what is known, possible and total fabrication. Actions should and need to be taken, as well as a redirect to focus on the issues that are truly compromising the health and well-being of humankind and our quality of life. The clear and present danger is overpopulation. Too many of us literally consuming at a rate that can't be sustained by the little blue dot we inhabit. The fundamental truth is that the Earth would be and soon may be just fine without us. This isn't about saving the planet as much as it about saving an innovative, special species called human.