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What color comes to mind when I say Baseball Cardinals? Red? Well when I think of the Cardinals – or rather, their new Ballpark Village – I think green. Green as in “environmentally friendly.” Because the Village is an opportunity for local leaders to make St. Louis a more sustainable community.
Ballpark Village, of course, is the retail, entertainment and housing complex that the Cardinals and a developer plan to erect on the site of the old Busch Stadium. Though it’s touted as an important piece in downtown’s rebirth, I’d like it go one step further and tackle a critical environmental issue: global warming.
What do new buildings have to do with climate? The building sector is the “sleeping giant” among the causes of global warming. Construction and operation of buildings account for a staggering half of all greenhouse gas emissions and three quarters of all U.S. electricity generation.
By using green principles in new buildings, you can get a 50–80% reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Sustainable design costs no more when planned at the outset - and after a green building is finished, it saves on facility operating costs and helps the planet. A win-win, wouldn’t you say?
The time is ripe for green city buildings, especially since Francis Slay is one of six local mayors who signed the Climate Protection Agreement. What better way to achieve this goal, Mr. Mayor, than to encourage projects like Ballpark Village to go green?
Global warming is a planetary crisis demanding the attention of all of us, St. Louisans included. It’s time to think beyond Cardinal red – to green.
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Liz Forrestal is Executive Director for Missouri Votes Conservation, a non-profit that advocates for pro-environmental legislation in Missouri. She also participates in a number of community environmental groups, and is a board member of Audubon Missouri.