Leadership and Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure

Leadership and Sustainable Cities and Infrastructure

Alexa Goble

While Kathryn was at the Youth Legislative Assembly in Raleigh, I lead the Global Lens Club meeting at home. The week’s topics of Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure) and Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) aligned with my scientific and environmental interests, so the meeting was an amazing experience! Despite the day-before-spring break slump, there were still many eager members in attendance.

With Goal 9, we learned of the importance of infrastructure and industry in developing areas. Infrastructure is key to advancement of an area. Strong roads, sewers, and water systems allow further economic and social growth. Furthermore, bringing industry to growing areas sparks exponential employment and economic growth. Goal 11, creating sustainable cities, is closely connected to Goal 9. Cities are especially vulnerable to climate change and contribute to most of the world’s pollution. Much of the world’s population resides in urban areas, so addressing sustainability in these areas is essential. Both Goal 9 and Goal 11 are critical to humanity as we face upcoming challenges (climate change, economic inequity, etc.). These two goals have strong intersections with the other goals, and some other goals would be impossible without first achieving sustainable, resilient communities.

In our discussion, we examined areas nearby in the context of infrastructure and sustainability. As a group, we saw what Henderson County and Western North Carolina does well and what the region could improve. We came to the conclusion that it is overall a safe, clean area with ample healthcare and employment opportunity. However, we felt that sustainable transportation and energy are not prevalent in the area. The group discussed ways to implement sustainability in our own homes and on a larger scale. Ms. Eblen joined the discussion and provided valuable insight with her experiences living in multiple U.S. cities and internationally.

Overall, leading this meeting was an incredible experience! I loved being able to explore the intersections with other goals and bringing it close to home by suggesting improvements for our region. Being in Kathryn’s shoes for a morning was a unique experience. There was definitely a learning curve finding the best ways to present the slide show and lead the group discussion. Despite the challenges, leading the meeting enabled me to spread valuable information and spark fellow club members to enact change in our community.

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