In a carbon-constrained world, cities and dense suburbs are increasingly vital. So what do we do?

Martin Johnson, founder and president of Isles, the Trenton-based nonprofit community development and environmental organization, will discuss the answers to this and other environmental dilemmas facing our planet today on Wednesday, April 21 at noon at Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor campus. This is a free event. Call 609-570-3324

According to Johnson, the answer to the future of environmentalism in the cities is almost counter-intuitive. The most important aspects of environmental action today are not the preservation of open spaces or conservation. Rather, the answer lies in how we build, what we build, and where we build it. Buildings, Johnson says, account for more of New Jersey’s carbon footprint than transportation or industry.

Building more efficient cities, with better attention to carbon output, he says, is the way to shrink that footprint. Even the most highly efficient house in the exurbs, with a family that drives nothing but Prius cars has larger footprint than retrofitted houses in an inner city, he says.

“We now have this challenge,” Johnson says. “How to make cities more effective.”

The good news is that there are ways to make cities more livable and cost-effective ways to clean up soil and make houses more healthy and efficient. “What we’re doing in Trenton is coming up with innovative ways to work with common folks and to make cities more fun and livable places to be,” he says.

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