This is a project to address the issue of smog in cities and its negative impact on health. This project focused on the pollution within Hamilton, Ontario and methods to ameliorate the air quality. This case worked with Invest in Hamilton and The Initiative for Change.
Problems and Purpose, Background History and Context
Smog in cities is the issue of air pollution in urban communities that creates detrimental effects on human health and overall life. The issue of air pollution has been negatively impacting urban cities in Canada for centuries, such as in the city of Hamilton. Air pollution that is affecting humans to this day can be accredited to mass urbanization which deals with the growth of cities in terms of human activity, population density, or natural processes, thus leading to pollution. Another significant reason for air pollution that impacts these dense urban areas are vehicle and industry emissions, excessive consumption, overpopulation, and waste production. Furthermore, the City of Hamilton which is known for its heavy industry that causes air pollution.
Our purpose for the project:
Finding resources for the prevention of smog cities. This was done through our various initiatives such as an interview with a member of Invest in Hamilton and raising awareness within the community
Furthermore, through the creation of a social media post that outlines the issues of smog cities we were able to reach a wide audience in the McMaster University community. Not only was this post intended to reach students and faculty in the McMaster student area, but for all of Hamilton, and other communities as well. We hoped to achieve a great outreach so that these resources could be transferred to a greater population to make people more aware of the issue of smog in cities. The overall goal however, was to provide as many individuals as we could with the resources that they needed to understand the issue and learn/find ways that they can help create a change.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities
One of the ways in which the city of Hamilton is trying to produce sustainable and economically suitable alternatives to their city is through various stakeholders such as Invest in Hamilton. Invest in Hamilton is an organization that works to “pitch” investing money, awareness and growth in the City of Hamilton, Ontario. They ask various stakeholders to invest in certain sectors such as business, trade, foreign investments, real estate and economic growth. Some of the main industries include life sciences, tourism, media and finance. More recently, the city of Hamilton has issued a five year economic initiative plan that will aim to build more sustainability for the city. One of the major components within the plan is the need for green businesses and clean energy. How Hamilton will achieve these goals is through working with Invest in Hamilton as they are responsible for the hiring and firing of businesses and corporations.
Participant Recruitment and Selection
Invest in Hamilton targets companies that will be an investment for the city as well, thus, if companies are violating regulations such as The Canadian Clean Act, then these companies will refrain from remaining within the city. As well, Invest in Hamilton works diligently off the support of community stakeholders, so if communities are in close proximity to manufacturing plants, steel factories and such, this means that in order for either the companies to remain or the communities, there must be the regulation of keeping the environment clean. Invest in Hamilton is then responsible for ensuring that companies who are brought to Hamilton or who currently reside there are upholding regulations. Currently, Invest in Hamilton is working to bring in companies that are already going green to help sway the rest of the economic market in the same direction. This means finding environmentally aware companies that use alternative means for reaching mass production, manufacturing or that are extremely aware of their footprints.
Methods and Tools Used
Through this process of determining actions and solutions on the prevention of smog in cities, we used various methods and tools to ensure an efficient outcome. Firstly, through the use of our course and participation in our course, we have gained a great amount of knowledge and participation in our project. Our professor Dr. Nancy Doubleday aided us tremendously. She provided us with helpful feedback to ensure that our project could reach its full potential. Additionally, through the implementation of weekly check-in and progress reports, we were able to develop our project greatly. Along with the help of our course, we also had an interview on Zoom with Jenn from Invest in Hamilton. Through the use of platforms such as Zoom, our team was able to use this as an effective tool to gain insight on action and development in Hamilton regarding the effects of smog in Hamilton. Furthermore, social media has been of great use to our project. The tool of social media platforms, such as Instagram has allowed us to publish an infographic on a non-profit organization’s account, The Initiative for Change. Social media allows us to reach a large number of people, especially young people. This audience is responsible for the environmental changes that are to come; thus, it is important to educate them on platforms that are used the most by young people.
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation
The interactions that went on throughout our process are an important part of our process. The impact of having weekly-check ins to ensure our project was going along the right track is an essential part of our process. Furthermore, the interactions with our McMaster University classmates were very encouraging, as we could all watch how our projects developed together. The process of reaching out to Jenn and contacting her was a great learning experience for us and got us in touch with various other organizations to aid us in our project. With her participation, our team gained important knowledge to develop our project. Our process with the organization, The Initiative for Change was effective. The interactions from people from various parts of the world, commenting and through the direct messages we have received from those interested in our project.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects
The interview with the representative from Invest In Hamilton fostered more connections and further outreach opportunities with other Hamilton-based organizations dedicated to improving the environment and the health of Hamiltonians. This includes Environment Hamilton and their various initiatives to address air pollution and other environmental issues. The infographic post made for the Initiative for Change reached a wide audience and was successful in raising awareness of the issues of smog within cities. Many commenters on the post noted its useful and well-communicated information. The post also contained ways for community members to help solve the issue whether through changing their own routine or joining initiatives and signing petitions. Now all the followers of the social media account, Hamiltonians, and the McMaster community members are able to address smog and join in the fight for cleaner air and good health.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
Smog in urban areas is an important issue that needs to be addressed, especially as climate change becomes a more severe issue. Poor air quality is linked to premature death and respiratory illnesses. The city of Hamilton is infamous for its use of heavy industry, pollution and air quality issues. Through this case study and attempts to address the issue of poor air quality, we have learned that outreach, collaboration and raising awareness are viable methods which form the solution to the problem. Outreach and collaboration with groups such as Invest in Hamilton, which prioritize the development and sustainability of the city and people. The Initiative for Change is dedicated to raising awareness and creating political participants in the creation and implementation of a solution to address issues of poor air quality.
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