“How do we do it all? Afford it all? Fit all the pieces of sustainability - environmental, economic and social - together?” asks John Mateyko, the Lewes architect who leads Sustainable Delaware. “How do the issues converge into a common path to low-carbon, high quality living with greater economic vibrancy and healthy, active living in our changing climate? “
That’s the questions Mateyko, and Jim Falk, associate director of the Delaware Sea Grant Program, and Dr. Tom Powers, assistant professor of environmental philosophy, at the University of Delaware, and director of its Center for Science, Ethics and Public Policy have dealt with in co-chairing the two days of ‘Convergent Sustainability In Delaware’ conferences.
“Seeing sustainability as a common path may be the most workable, most affordable way to get it built because it takes a coalition to get things built, “said Mateyko, “and besides its good science: the big challenge in the 21st century is learning to live within our ecosystem’s sustainable limits; we have to think ‘limits’ to survive and think ‘linkages’ to do it more efficiently, doing more with less.“
The conferences consider how to link ecosystem limits to economic vitality, repurposing streets to be more socio-economically productive, healthy and active living, more senior-friendly planning, energy efficiency, climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and natural hazard mitigation.
The first conference takes place from 8:30 am. to 5 p.m., Thursday, April 18, at the Virden Conference Center of the University of Delaware in Lewes. It features Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health and a pediatrician with 14 years of specialization in childhood obesity, who had a leadership role on the President’s Healthier US Initiative. She will speak on the need for community design that permits a healthy, active lifestyle in daily living.
She will be introduced by Constance Holland, AICP, Director, Office of State Planning Coordination and co-chair, Of Delaware’s Healthy Eating Active Living Coalition will discuss how land use is now understood as central to both healthy individuals and healthy environments.
Mateyko will moderate a panel on public safety concerns raised by climate change:
• William Coulbourne, PE, a structural engineer studying the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, a FEMA mitigation consultant and principal author of FEMA’s Coastal Construction Manual, will speak on Lessons learned from Sandy.
• Neelam Patel will speak on the risk of summertime extreme temperatures and urban heat islands, the tendency of urbanism with concrete and asphalt but few trees to heat up more than surrounding landscapes. Patel is the newly-installed climate and energy coordinator for DNREC. She is the former national manager of the EPA urban heat island program.
• Bruce Coldham, FAIA, a noted Massachusetts architect and national expert on energy-saving, low-carbon homes who formerly chaired the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association will discuss the building science of energy-efficient homes.
• Marty D'Erasmo of Lewes, president, Greater Lewes Community Village, will speak briefly on the need for senior-friendly communities, and walkable, safe streets where elders can age in place, right at home.
• John Sykes of Lewes, president of Delaware Interfaith Power & Light: A Faith Response to Climate Change will briefly discuss the spiritual loss felt as climate change threatens the quality of all life in Creation - and what some 17 faith communities in Delaware (and over 5,000 nationwide) are doing about it.
• Andrea Trablisi, the planning director of Delaware Greenways will lead the concluding group discussions.
An added evening program “Energy Efficient Homes for the Next Century”, at 7 p.m., at Lewes Public Library, is free and open to the public.
It features architect Bruce Coldham who will show examples of energy-efficient, cost-saving homes and a co-housing community equally welcomed by young families and retirees.
“Anyone considering a new or renovated home may find him enlightening - that goes for other architects and builders too”, said Mateyko. “Coldham is among the most knowledgeable low-carbon designers on the East Coast.”
The second day of the conference takes place 8:30 am. to 5 pm., Friday, April 19, at the Clayton Conference Center, University of Delaware, Newark and is hosted by Dr. Thomas Powers. It features Colin O’Mara who serves as secretary of the Environment and Energy for Gov. Jack Markell,
It also features from Philadelphia, Jose Almanana, FASLA, the internationally noted landscape architect and designer of Green Urbanism, who is a principal of Andropogon Associates, chaired the 2012 design awards jury for the American Society of Landscape Architects and was an author of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, the national guidelines for greener communities; and Jennifer Adkins, executive director, of the Partnership for Delaware Estuary on Nature’s Ecoservices and Climate Change.
Patel, Coldham and Holland will also present and join a roundtable discussion moderated by Powers and Mateyko on why, for reasons of good science and practical implementation, the issues may be best understood as converging in the real world into an integrated, convergent sustainability.
Continental breakfast, lunch will be served at both conferences with receptions to follow. Reservations are required. The cost for the Lewes event is $35 with informatiom at www.deseagrant.org.
Sustainable Delaware is the Delaware chapter of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association, the three decade-old specialist association of architects, engineers, scientists and builders focused on energy, the environment and whole system thinking.
“As the new century unfolds, it’s becoming clearer that concern with the environment is no longer a separate issue” says, Mateyko. “It’s the context of everything else--social, cultural economic and physical - on which long-term survival depends.”