St. Louis should have an ecological approach to living that addresses the very serious issues that confront our city. Instead, the Slay administration has a record of “greenwashing,” or using language that implies environmental preservation, while maintaining policies that are actually detrimental to our environment.
Though the voters of St. Louis said that they did not want to spend public money on a private sports stadium, Slay advocated tearing down the old baseball stadium, and building a new one with fewer seats. In the process, a ton of CO2 was spewed into the atmosphere for every ton of cement used. Again, he is supporting plans to build a new football stadium, despite our city already having one. This plan would destroy our historic riverfront, further pollute our city, and would not create any permanent new jobs. According to the American Lung Association’s 2013 report, St. Louis has the 12th worst air quality of major metropolises in the U.S. Mayor Slay’s Sustainability Plan, released in 2014, only partially addresses the issue of pollution. It calls for increases in alternative methods of transportation, but does not address the industrial polluters in St. Louis; who are responsible for the majority of our air pollution.
When the West Nile virus scare hit, Slay’s Health Department ignored information from environmentalists that pesticide sprays could not reduce mosquito populations and worsened the City’s asthma problems as it sprayed pesticides across St. Louis. The Slay administration was unable to fund the removal of lead contamination that was found in 27 St. Louis schools, but, at the same time it was revealed that they were spending $2 million to beautify the Grand Avenue bridge. The excessive lights from the Kingshighway and Grand Avenue bridges involves the burning of coal to produce wasteful electricity, and could easily have been solar powered. While professing to be environmentally friendly, Francis Slay has NOT lobbied against plans to build “Small Modular Reactors,” (SMR), and continues to accept contributions from proponents of SMRs; Ameren.. Nuclear power is arguably the worst environmental disaster in human history — it risks a meltdown that could destroy St. Louis and Kansas City; exposes workers to excess radiation during routine operation; creates wastes that poison people for thousands of generations, and drives up utility rates so high that low income people cannot afford to pay them. A truly environmentally conscious mayor would do everything possible to prevent new nuclear facilities from opening, and would prohibit nuclear power from being used in St. Louis.
Though City parks should be green spaces to unify neighborhoods [or: Though neighborhood parks should be green spaces to unify communities...] and larger parks unify the entire City, Francis Slay began the process of privatizing parks by attempting to sell off a portion of Forest Park. Mayor Slay’s program to improve Martin Luther King Blvd. involved paving the entire area with concrete, but
did not involve the addition of trees.
The Green Alternative
In contrast, the Green Party of St. Louis has a record of active environmentalism:
- Greens have halted the construction of toxic incinerators, and even shut down medical waste incinerators,
- Greens have proposed alternatives to the spraying of pesticide poisons to control mosquitoes,
- Greens gathered signatures for an audit of the City when it refused to release information on where childhood lead poisoning prevention funds were being spent, and helped gather signatures to protect Forest Park.
- Greens have warned St. Louisans of potential dangers of eating genetically engineered food.
Our elected officials should make sure that incineration is not used as a waste disposal method; never spray pesticides as a method of insect control, propose the labeling of food with genetically engineered components, and increase and maintain public parks throughout all parts of St. Louis.
1. The Green Party calls for a visionary long range program to dramatically reduce pollution and greenhouse gases that are caused by transportation and industry in the City of St. Louis, within the next five years.
2. The most important step in establishing the use of “alternative energy,” is using less energy. The Greens would begin a wide spread educational program to help people understand the need to use heat efficiently by wearing extra clothes and turning the thermostat down when not at home. The Greens would initiate a program to install free central heating systems in homes currently without central heat for occupants who agree to an external governor that sets the heat to no more than 68 degrees during the days and 55 degrees during sleeping hours.
3. Greens advocate making all homes as weather-proof as possible, with a focus on low income neighborhoods, where utilities are often cut off. Low income people without heat often turn to space heaters, which are dangerous, costly, inefficient, andproduce excessive green house gases. Unfortunately, the Urban League will not help weatherize homes if the heat has been cut off. Weatherizing all homes will help low income residents financially, and reduce the amount of energy used, thereby lowering greenhouse gases.
4.The Greens would install solar panels on all public buildings to generate energy; and require utility companies to purchase excess power produced by solar and wind generators on businesses and homes. In order to obtain an occupancy permit, a home should be required to meet at least IECC-2009 standards of energy efficiency. This would include reflectivity standards for roofing, which reduce cooling costs and result in less coal burning at electric plants.
5. The City should begin a demonstration program to construct at least 100 homes to passivhaus standards by 2012, at least 30% of which must be for low income families. A home with the German passivhaus design is so well insulated that it does not require a furnace. The approximate 10–15% extra cost in construction is far outweighed by the huge savings in heating.
6. The Greens advocate tree planting next to road improvements, in new developments and in treeless parks. Trees help our communities in a variety of ways, and we should not take their importance for granted.. They reduce contaminants from the air, and help in stormwater management by slowing runoff. Trees help to cool us in summer, and break winter’s chilling winds. They are also important to our psychology, and encourage people to spend more time outdoors.
7. The Greens will begin a rooftop garden program in St. Louis, to provide more natural cleaning agents for our air, and provide insulating components to buildings.
8. The Green Party advocates a jobs program to bury power lines underground, (as already done in much of Europe) both to prevent outages during storms, and to reduce the need to cut off tree branches. The jobs program would also include opportunities for youth to work for both pay, and school credit, by participating in urban gardening and city clean-up and maintenance.
9. Missouri law prohibits air pollution rules stricter than federal standards. Francis Slay has done nothing to protect citizens, many who suffer from respiratory problems, by opposing this ridiculous restriction. Federal guidelines for air pollution were designed to be minimum standards that local governments could strengthen as they see fit. A Green mayor would actively lobby to overturn this state law, and would work with US representatives to draft federal legislation to guarantee municipalities the right to strengthen pollution standards.
10. The Greens will continue to lobby against the use of nuclear power, and oppose the building of any new nuclear facilities. This includes the Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) proposed by Ameren.