Can Fargo become an Ecocity and more sustainable?

Hello class, this is our second issues blog.  Remember you are to give your opinion based on a solid rationale or reason and you are also to respond to someone else’s comment.  Here is the blog issue.

In class and in your textbook p. 123, they talk about Curitiba, Brazil as an Ecocity, I have mentioned that Portland, Oregon is one of the top 10 cities in the world to become a true green city and ecocity.   You might want to look on the internet for Greenburg, Kansas a city that was destroyed by a tornado and was rebuilt as a green city.  My question I would like you to respond to is “How can Fargo become a greener city and a city that carefully does something about becoming more sustainable?”  What can you do?  How are your suggestions making Fargo more sustainable?”  Dr. K

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50 Responses to “Can Fargo become an Ecocity and more sustainable?”

  1. Jared Morrill Says:

    Because of Fargo’s thick topsoil that doesn’t allow for high rises. This makes a difficult problem because of the large track of land that the city of fargo takes up. Maybe the city could allow for more duplexes or appartments that only rise to eight or nine stories. This would shrink the area of land that the city would take up, this shortening the commute for many of it’s residents. Otherwise there are many portions of the city that could be developed into “greener” areas. Such as maybe planting trees around the cultisacs. We also could cut down on how many non used parking lots that the city has, make them into parks that are full of trees, plants and grass. Not only would that help with increasing air quality, but it would keep the city cooler in the summer, because trees take in the suns energy to drive photosynthesis, thus not allowing it to hit the ground and be absorbed. and the nasty tar that the parking lots are made with trap large quantities of sunlight and release the energy as heat. As for me, When I’d get a house, I could keep my backyard full of grasses and trees and just keep it as wild as I can. I might have to put up a fence so that my neighbors don’t mind. but I could do it, and maybe as for my house, i could catch the rain water off of the roof and use it for watering my lawn, just trying to not let it go to waste.

    • Megan Lambertson Says:

      I agree with Jared in that we could get rid of all of the unused parking lots in Fargo. I have drove around and seen so many vacant parking lots that just look like they have been abandoned forever! I think that by eliminating those we could put in more parks and that was trees, grass and flowers could be plated and put in making fargo much more “greener”. I also think that since everything seems to be somewhat close together in this city, people could ride bike more or even walk. I do realize that it is getting cold out but in the summer months we could all do this in abundance. As for me, I am not going to lie I am not the “greenest” person ever but I could work on car pooling, and having plants and making sure that what I do does make an impact on this city and on the atmosphere. There are many things that we can all do, but I think that since most arent familiar with the ways these things arent possible. I think that more seminars about being “green” would be helpful also.

  2. Jennifer Linne Says:

    My first thought is if they can use windpower in Greensburg then we should certainly be able to do that here!
    My second thought is look at all the construction that goes on in the FM area. There are no requirements for building green but why not offer some incentives for building green. You may point to the economy and say there is no money for such projects, however the state of ND is financially sound. What a perfect time to grow our economy and protect the environment at the same time!

    • Emmali Montazemi Says:

      Yes i like that point. We are doing so much road construction and building because of the flood. So why not impliment greener options if we are already spending the money.
      Also, Fargo is WINDY! lets utlize it!

    • Greg Morel Says:

      I agree that the city could implement more incentives to make the new construction in the city greener. It would cost more, but the incentives could help curb the costs.

      • Grant Lang Says:

        I agree with the wind power issue, I’m actually surprised the state of North Dakota doesn’t have more wind power stations than they do now. Especially considering North Dakota is the second windiest state, next to Texas. We should take advantage of such a resource.

        I also completely agree with the idea of offering incentives for building green, especially because it is a bit more expensive to build green. It is definitely worth the extra cost in the beginning, it will certainly pay off in the long run to build green. Plus, with all the open flat land of North Dakota it shouldn’t be too hard to build green, on existing buildings and on new ones. It would be interesting to see if we could combine building green with wind power stations!

  3. Derrick Lang Says:

    I agree with the thought of jennifer because i think that Fargo can start become more of a going green trend with the construstion being done. it is obviously something that has to be done so why not make the way we are contructing things now based off going green because you have to start some where. Also ND is not in nearly much as finanacial trouble as most states so taking a risk by going green is something we can do. it may be expensive but in the end it will make things so much better. i am definately not a person that is always looking out for our environment. I think that a can drive my car much less and start riding my bike or taking the bus when i have the opportunity. this will cuase much less pollution to be put into the air. if everyone starts to think this when then we will be much more green and have alot less pollution

  4. Melissa McCann Says:

    If money was no issue I would have to say I would have a few ideas for how to make Fargo green. I would probably put in a lot more rain gardens. People don’t realize how much one rain garden can help stop pollution. I would try and talk to the schools to see if they can try and reduce how much paper they use. I would try and convince them that it would be more worth it to use the web. I think that if you do just those two things you could make Fargo more green than some other cities. If you were really big on going green you might try to pass some new laws. For example you could try to pass a law that all companies must provide recycling for the public. Now you may have trouble passing those laws but I think if you could pass them then you would be in a much greener area.

    • Emmali Montazemi Says:

      I really liked the idea of making companies have recyling for everyone availabe. It is so simple, wont cost a lot of money and will make a huge impact. I would say that recyling is going to be a huge help.

      I dont know much about rain gardens but it does sound interesting and you are right Fargo is more finacially well off then other states. So it would be more feasable.

  5. Connor Larson Says:

    I think fargo is doing a good job of being a greener city. Fargo is encouraging recycling and reducing non biodegradable garbage. The city now has its own solid waste division. I can’t really think of a way that Fargo is hurting the environment, there is not alot of industry here. The only way I could see that the Fargo area is not eco-friendly, is the farming chemicals, but in that case the pesticides and other chemicals are needed.

    • Melissa McCann Says:

      I agree that Fargo is doing a lot to be a green city but there is always more that can be done. I also know that the chemicals and pesticides are needed but I still think we need to find a way to stop them. What I mean by that is, to stop them from polluting our water sources. I mean our water sheds and rivers shouldn’t have to pay the price for us to live; that just doesn’t seem fair. I know that there is not a lot we can do but even the little things would help. Then again that is just my opinion.

    • Andy Mesich Says:

      I completely agree, fargo is doing a pretty good job of becoming an Eco friendly city. But with the chemical problem, I don’t think there is much that the city can do much about that unless that these farms happened to lay with in the city limits, you would have to talk with the county or state to try to curb the use of some pesticides, all of which make their way into the red river basin and into our water and food supply in the RRV.

    • Greg Morel Says:

      I also think Fargo is doing a good job of being a green city. I think there are a lot of cities that are doing a lot worse and could have more cleaned up with less money then it would take Fargo to clean up as much pollution.

    • Jenna Moser Says:

      I agree with you about how Fargo is trying to become a greener city. They are encouraging recycling and reducing nondegradable garbage. I come from a farming family and yes you are right that pesticides and other chemicals are not good for the environment but they are needed to have the crops yeilding their best.

  6. Connor Larson Says:

    Jennifer Linne has two good thoughts on how Fargo could aid in the eco-friendly movement. She said that wind power could be an option and I agree because thats one of North Dakota’s most plentiful resources. Also, incentives should be used to encourage builders to go green.

  7. jeremy lura Says:

    I like jennifers ideas of raingardens and wind energy. I’ve always wondered why so much of the wind power has to be generated by hulking behemoths and not many small wind electricity generators that could help reduce the cost of powering your own home. Although there is a decent bike path system here, basically all the industrial areas of fargo have no bicycle access, drive down seventh avenue towards west fargo and look at some of the emerging businesses there. Riding your bike down 7th feel like a death defying feat.

  8. Derrick Lang Says:

    i think that Fargo does a nice job in trying to become a more green place. The way that recycling and all of those things are pushed has really made a difference on people. I think that we are doing to the environemtn more good than harm compared to many other cities that are larger like Los Angelos. i believe one thing we could do is reduce the amount of times we use our vehicles. When you look around Fargo you see so many parking lots and things of that nature that could be used for other things. If we used our bikes more and walked to places when we have the opportunity then we could take even another step closer to becoming green

    • Jillian Loos Says:

      while it is nice that fargo is finally doing something to recycle… why do they make it so difficult for people who are not living in houses? I don’t know about anyone else’s apartment, but mine houses many college kids who are too lazy to drive to a drop off point to recycle. Not only is it really inconvenient, but it’s a pain in the butt to sit there and sort things and take the different plastics apart, that is ridiculous. I am from connecticut and I have never seen a program this ridiculous… the reason a lot more people recycle out east is because the programs are more convenient and less of a hassle.

  9. Jennifer Linne Says:

    Jeremy and Derrick both mentioned bikes which is a great idea. I know that Portland OR huge on bicycles but I thought it would be too cold here so I did a little research. ForbesTraveler.com listed the top ten most bike-friendly cities in North America. #4 is Montreal. #9 is Minneapolis. It is cold there too!! I think if other climate-challenged (really cold) cities can make a bike system work, we should be able to as well.

    • jameslandman Says:

      I agree that we could push using bikes more here in fargo. I know that there are a lot of people that own bikes, but then don’t necessarily use them that often. It might be good to create more bike/walking trails in fargo to promote the use of bikes. We could also create some bike lanes on some of the larger roads.

    • jeremy lura Says:

      I had no idea Minneapolis was #9, being just back in college, I’m planning to try to ride my bike through the winter. They sell snow tires for bicycles at Island park cycles. It won’t be easy to give up that warm vehicle.

  10. jameslandman Says:

    Fargo is trying to become more green, but there are a lot of things that it could do to enhance its efforts. Fargo doesn’t push public transport that well and its bus system is not that extensive. If the bus system was larger, maybe more people would use it. Fargo doesn’t have too many large factories that emitt large amounts of toxic gas, but the few ones that we do have we could put some emissions policies on to make sure their emissions stay clean. We could totally plant more trees around Fargo. There are not very many trees in or even around Fargo.

  11. Dallas Miller Says:

    Fargo has done an excellent job with recycling stations, however, there should be recycling stations put up around major apartment complexes. The city of Fargo offers recycle bins that people can purchase and place out on the front of their lawn to be picked up for recycling, why not offer something similar in apartment complexes where a majority of Fargo lives? I think that they should offer an incentive for major apartments like Goldmark to have a recycle drop off zone at a location in each of their complexes. I also think that there could be some work done for wind energy, perhaps tax cuts or something along those lines for companies or people that purchase wind energy? And finally, plant more trees! I love trees and it’s depressing in Fargo.. While there are a decent amount of trees, there aren’t enough compared to other cities in North Dakota. Some of the parks here barely have any trees either..

    • Cassie Nelson Says:

      I really like the idea of incorporating recycling with apartment buildings. I would be environmentally friendly and a lot easier for the people living there to recycle. In general, it would be so much more convenient. I also like the idea of planting more trees too. Fargo definitely needs more of them around.

      • Lori Neer Says:

        Having recycling in apt building would be a great idea. Most apt buildings don’t have the usual requirement for regular garbage pick-up. They would be a great opportunity for people to not have take their recycling out to a station.

      • giovannyleyes Says:

        i greed with you guys a lot of waste come from apt buildings. It will nice to have different dumpsters just like restaurants one dumpster for plastic, carbora, & trash.

  12. Dallas Miller Says:

    I agree with Derrick, we need more bicycles.. we don’t have near enough bike paths and we don’t have near enough people riding bikes in Fargo. I also agree with jameslandman with the trees… I LOVE THEM and we need more of them! Make the city beautiful, greener, and shadier in the summer! can’t go wrong. Get some jobs going with leaf cleanup in the fall :P

  13. Cassie Nelson Says:

    “How can Fargo become a greener city and a city that carefully does something about becoming more sustainable?” What can you do? How are your suggestions making Fargo more sustainable?”

    I really like everyone’s ideas on how to become a greener city. I’m sure there are many more too, but here are my ideas that probably go along with everyone elses thoughts. For new construction coming up, they should be required to building eco-friendly structures by using green products and materials. Another idea would be to use the buses more often and have more environmentally friendly ones. And again like others have mentioned, I think it would be great to recycle more and incorporate it more into businesses and schools.

  14. Cady Mangin Says:

    I think it would be a good idea to try to install recycling stations in many of the public buildings. I believe that if the oportunity to recycle was presented to people in an easy fashion like this, the majority would throw their garbage in the correct recycling bin instead of the trash can next to it. Then after doing it so many times, some people might take it upon themselves to recycle in their own houses.

    • Kylie Mitchell Says:

      I totally agree with Cady. I think that it is important to have may recycle bins or places to bring recycled goods around town. It is mostly about time and convienece if there isn’t a recycle bin around it is likely that people will not be recycling. For me, I live in an apartment and we do not have recycle bin or anywhere to put my recycled goods so it is easier to just through all my garbage away. I think this can be a big problem especially for college students since they are so busy with everything it is likely that they will just through their garbage in the garbage can than driving somewhere else to have to dispose of their recycled goods.

  15. giovannyleyes Says:

    Well the city of Fargo have 27 drop off locations throughout the city, and twelve of this sites have containers for yard waste. So in recycling Fargo is doing ok. A good idea on how to become a green city is by improving public transportation, in this area Fargo needs to work more because there are some places where the buses won’t pass. For right now Fargo is doing ok, but we have the potential for a green massive expansion.

    • Drew Lundberg Says:

      I couldn’t agree more with giovannyleyes about improving our public transporation. Increasing the amount of eco-friendly buses is a must, therefore we could possibly reducing the amount of car exhaust going into our atmosphere. Also the buses need to make more stops in the city to acquire more people. We could always be more efficient when we talk about recylcing. Providing different trash stations and trash cans like the ones on NDSU’s campus throughout Fargo is a very eco-friendly decisoin.

  16. Lori Neer Says:

    I live in a small community outside of Fargo that has not committed themselves to recycling. It is one of the last communities in our area that doesn’t. We aren’t required to separate our trash. I think Fargo residents are going in the right direction. Every new construction seems to plant trees as part of their landscaping.

    I wish that we would have more incentives to take the bus rather than driving. I know that students can ride the bus free, but when you don’t live near a bus stop and you would have to drive half way to catch a bus.

  17. Jared Morrill Says:

    I agree with the wind power suggestion at the top of this page. Fargo has an abundance of wind and we could harness some of the it’s energy and at least cut back on the other more wasteful ways of producing power.

  18. Jillian Loos Says:

    I think that to help make Fargo more green we need to educate people, starting out with younger children. When I was in second grade our class went on a field trip to the state’s recycling plant (in Hartford, CT). Our assignment for the month was to record what we could recycle, and what we actually did recycle. This had gotten our parents involved in recycling and it did make a difference. Even to this day I recycle all the time, if it can be recycled, and the program here will take it, then I’ll do it. I don’t know about the school programs out in ND or MN, but our entire state has a week designated as “turn off the tv week”; kids who go to school are not supposed to watch tv for the week to help conserve energy. Any simple activity that is assigned to kids will automatically get parents involved. A simple field trip to a recycling plant and an assignment can make a huge difference.

  19. Baridura Meabara Says:

    Yes, Fargo can become an ecocity. I realy belive that Fargo can become a more better place with much effort. Take an example from how good 12th AVE will look like after the construction is completed. Besid that, there are other things that comes with being an eco or green city. Fargo already have a good metro mass transite. Fargo is not big enough for city commute, but there is need for more housing affordability. Water supply and its quality is ok. Waste management need some inprovement. Air quality is ok, planning and land use is going well, and there are good communication system. As for the green part ot it. Fargo did not cell local food, and there is need for that, and while planting trees, they should plant some fruits if posible, and alow foods from other local communities and even international as well as non native American food. With this, I belive Fargo will become one of the eco or green city in the United State.

  20. Baridura Meabara Says:

    First of all, I want to respond or add a little comment to Lori Neer’s rite up. Fargo is one of the smallest city I have ever live in. I moved in here from Atlanta Georgia and that is a big city. it dose not nesessarilly depend on extention of bus root, I think with the size of Fargo, the number of mass transite in the city is ok, what I see as a big problem is bicyle track, this will enable anyone of a free ride either to the bus stop or if you are not too far from the NDSU community, you can even ride your bick on a clean track to school without any problem, after all it’s a part of exesize. so it’s not only when the road is congested with mass transite or all kind of junk cars that make things easier, I think all this can be done if we all look at it from a simple paspective.

  21. Kylie Mitchell Says:

    I agree with most of the people when they say are saying that Fargo is doing a pretty good job of being a greener city. Fargo has been encouraging recycling throughout the city. I also think that by using wind power would be a good option for Fargo to become eco-friendly. It seems like Fargo is always windy so this would actually probably be a good option for us. Having wind power instead of electricity would save us a lot in resources and it would be a lot green and efficiant way of doing things. I also think the use of buses would be a good option instead of everyone driving their own individual cars. This would save on the amount of harmful gases that are put out in the air. Yes buses would still be putting out these harmful gases but with less cars driving this could help clean up our air.

    • Andy Mesich Says:

      I agree with this but it would take a substantial investment in the state’s part to get wind energy to Fargo. I live in a small community on the Iron Range in northern Minnesota and Minnesota Power just installed 10 new windmills on top of one of the mine dumps outside of town. Each windmill costs between 5-10 million dollars each which I believe is an amount of money that no city can afford to pay. They would have to look at the benefit for the cost and I am willing to bet that it would still be cheaper to get our energy from coal for the time being.

  22. Andy Mesich Says:

    First off, I hope that I am not too late to comment on this blog :)

    While I agree with most everything that people have to say here there are a few things I don’t. There is only so much that a small city (yeah even Fargo is small compared with most metro areas) can get accomplished with the limited resources available. Fargo is on the right track however, just this past year the city initiated a city wide recycling program in an effort to reduce the waste heading to the landfill but one of the big reasons for that was the fact that the land fill in Fargo only has about 10 – 15 years left in its lifespan so they wanted to extend its life as long as possible. I have also seen small windmills near buildings in town and even some solar panels which help cut down on the amount of energy used. I believe that Fargo is in a good position to take advantage of the abundant natural resources like wind and solar but it will take more money to get them into reality.

    • Andy Mesich Says:

      I also forgot to note that Fargo also has done a wonderful job by providing mass transit for the entire metro area as well as make it easier for students at NDSU, MSUM, and Concordia to travel around and to our downtown campus with out having to crowd the roads with their own cars.

  23. Greg Morel Says:

    I think Fargo is doing a good job for a smaller city. I think its best options would be to improve on what they are already doing. Like getting more people to participate in recycling and trying to get people to use the bus system more. There are a lot of people in Fargo that could be riding the bus and saving money and limiting pollution that are still driving their cars. If Fargo would improve on what they are already doing they could be considered much more sustainable.

  24. Dallas Miller Says:

    I think Greg Morel hit it spot on. Fargo is doing a good job for being a smaller city and people (like myself) don’t ride the bus enough. I myself like the ability to go anywhere at any time i choose so i think its a matter of also getting people to ride bike or walk more as well. I would sooner ride a bike somewhere than the bus because I like the feeling of controlling where I am. I don’t want to buy a bike though because i don’t want to deal with moving bringing it up stairs into my apartment each day or leaving it chained up outside. So it’s a number of issues for myself that are probably the same for other people as well.

    • Brandon McBain Says:

      While you and Greg Morel both have good ideas on bus transportation and other ways of commuting, you have to realize that for at least a few months out ot the year Fargo is almost impossible to bike in. Yeah, I know you can walk to work, but who wants to do that when it’s negative 25 with a wind out of the north. I know I would like to take responsibility for my actions by not driving my vehicle everywhere but taking the bus is such an inconvenience. Other members on this blog believe putting bus routes next to major apartments would be a nice option. I too believe this would be a great alternative but the fact of the matter is Fargo can’t afford bus routes that nobody rides.

  25. Brandon McBain Says:

    If the Fargo-Moorhead area was willing to provide sufficient funds for an ecocity plan this area would be perfect for it. North Dakota is the windiest state in the country. We can develop massive wind farms near this town so large transmission lines don’t have to be rerouted. Skyscrapers are pretty much out of the option with the clay like surface this area has to offer. Fargo can also create a tree program or some sort of planting program to help offput CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Fargo would be a perfect place to start a green city. The whole town would have to come together in order for the plan to work.

    • Elizabeth Nissen Says:

      I agree with Brandon. With all of the open land, fargo would make a great place for a wind farm. This would also bring jobs to the city, and it wouldnt distrupt the livestock farms because they can live togeather with the wind farms without any danger. I think this would be a great step towards fargo becoming a greener city, ya gotta start somewhere! I think it would bring awareness to the city as well.

  26. giovannyleyes Says:

    I agreed with Brandon McBain, I also think that Fargo have the capacity to become eco-friendly after all Fargo is not that big of the city, and that is a good advantage. We can use combined heat and power; we can use wind power and solar power by install solar panels on roof tops, it is expensive but at the long run houses will be producing energy instead of using it.

  27. Grant Lang Says:

    There are many ways Fargo can become a greener city. With the influence from NDSU’s Architecture and landscape architecture programs Fargo will surely be able to create some interesting new ideas. It is important to NDSU to influence LEED design, which is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. To become LEED certified one must create an extremely environmental friendly building. NDSU has already created some LEED certified buildings, such as Renaissance Hall. If NDSU continues to build and design LEED certified buildings it will encourage others to do the same around the area, creating a much more green city.

  28. Elizabeth Nissen Says:

    One thing i learned while researching for our ewaste site is that fargo currently doesnt have any for of ewaste control. By puting some laws in place i think that would help make fargo greener. However i do think that fargo is on the right track. Fargo utilizes renewable energy such as wind energy, solar energy, and methane gas. They take the methane gas that is released from the landfills and convert it into energy that can then be sold to local power cooperatives, which also creates more jobs! i think this is really cool because before, this gas was just released into the air causing pollution.

  29. Jenna Moser Says:

    I think that the Fargo area does a fine job at supplying receptacles in and around the businesses. It provides a way for the residents of the Fargo area and pass-through people. Fargo does have a great Metro-Trans System to provide students a way of trasportation. This system helps the Fargo area because there is not as much fuel consumption and less traffic. Fargo is a windy city, maybe they could use the wind for some wind turbines that would produce more energy.

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