PESTLE: Big Ideas as of 4Dec09

    • Environmental laws focus on prevention and reduction. Policy formation relies heavily on scientific research; without research there is no basis to regulation.
    • State-level legislation does not focus enough on concrete resolutions.
    • Federal-level legislation encounters several problems with its controversial programs, but overall makes steps in the right direction.  
  • Economic: Three Big Ideas:
  • Metro Birmingham’s current air quality issues take root in Birmingham’s traditional industries of the 20th century, iron and steel production, and these very industries have resulted in a socio-economic barrier within Metro Birmingham, the less wealthy being concentrated in Birmingham city.
  • Currently, metro Birmingham has greater, more diversified, and cleaner industry and services than it traditionally had. Industry brings pollution and though Birmingham is not as large and industry-heavy as many other big cities, it ranks among the worst metropolitan areas for particle pollution. The result of metro Birmingham’s low-wind stagnant weather and that it’s sitting in a valley at the tail end of the Appalachian Mountains is retention of particle pollution.
  • It is very difficult to enact policy with environmental consideration when the city of Birmingham is in its current economic crisis. The city will need to reach economic and political stability before such ideas will be considered to be practical. The city will need to produce enough net income to be able to stably maintain its own operation before new projects are started.


SOCIAL Big Ideas

  • Birmingham’s current growth is unsustainable.
  • Smart growth is a viable long-term way to revive community and culture.
  • Current air quality problems shall result in long-term, expensive health care expenditures.


  • The State of Alabama puts money toward highways systems instead of mass-transit

     (Amendment 91)

  •  Jefferson and Shelby County can’t raise any taxes without the entire State’s approval because of limited Home-Rule System.
  •  Jefferson and Shelby County (and most other counties in the Greater Birmingham Area) don’t work together often (or well).
  • Some alternate form(s) of transportation is needed in order to lower number of individuals commuting by car. 


Technical/Scientific: 3 Big Ideas:

  • Lack of will/motivation is a main hindrance for progression in the Birmingham area.
  • Lack of education for people about energy efficiency both importance and cost.
  • Lack of access to the renewable resources. Alabama does not have easy access to constant, high velocity winds that the South West may have, but we have rivers, nuclear power, and some sunlight for cleaner energy to reduce the emissions and increase air quality.


Environment: Three Big Ideas Accepted by the Group

  • Decreased air quality is a prevalent problem in Birmingham and Jefferson County, and is negatively impacting the surrounding environment and human health.
  • Birmingham is currently ranked number 5 on the American Lung Association’s list of most polluted cities with respect to year-round particle pollution.
  • Environmental and human health are closely linked, and our human dependency on the environment remains, even as the environment is degraded.

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