Unlike gray infrastructure, which refers to things like roads, water and sewage facilities, and electrical systems, the green infrastructure needs individuals (in addition to corporations and municipal organizations) to help improve and sustain it.
|Image courtesy of Rostislav Kralik|
Here are a few ideas to get you started on your way to boosting the green infrastructure in your community:
- Plant trees. Trees help to improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen. They also improve water quality as rain puddles in the canopy of leaves and releases back into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration. When planted in the right location, mature shade trees can help lower your home energy bills by shading your home from the hot summer sun.
- Design your garden with native plants that are designed by nature to conserve water and provide appropriate food and shelter for the wildlife in your own backyard. They also help reduce erosion and runoff.
- Consider a green roof. This type of roofing system uses vegetation to absorb rainwater and reduce heat absorption, thus providing additional insulation for your home. They also extend the life of your roof and improve the air quality in your neighborhood.
- Plant a rain garden. These slightly depressed gardens hold onto storm water runoff and filter pollutants. Rain gardens naturally improve water quality and protect waterways while adding beauty to your sidewalks.
- Install a rain barrel. Unfortunately, rain barrels are illegal in some communities. But if you're living in an area where they're legal, rain barrels can improve the green infrastructure in around your home. Water stored in rain barrels provides oxygenated, un-chlorinated water for your plants, which can lead to a thriving garden.
If we all do our part, we can strengthen and improve the green infrastructure in our communities.
Keeping it green with the infrastructure,