Throughout the the Twin Cities' there are many social design issues that require both the thoughts and attention of problem solvers everywhere. However the most influential of all the social design issues would have to be the air pollution not only throughout the cities, but throughout the U.S., North America, and the rest of the world. Over the past few years there has been a steadily increasing trend in more eco-friendly cars as well as more environmentally friendly ways to get through your average day. We've seen some of these methods instituted throughout the cities already (i.e. the lightrail, bike lanes, tunnels/skyways, the public bus system, taxi companies, etc.), and while they've done a great deal to decrease the amount of chemicle emmissions given off from our vehicles, theres still more to the issue than just transportation.
For the most part, i'm pretty sure no one's every gotten an e-mail advising people to stay inside due to the trash level outside, which is perfectly reasonable. However this doesnt mean that one form of pollution is necessarily worse than another. Sure air pollution affects everyone, which is why we've started to take action against it, but trash and overall land pollution is almost if not an even bigger issue. I've been to a fairly large portion of the country, and the one similarity between each state is the amount of trash. There hasnt been one state that's extrememly clean, just like I havent noticed a state thats perticularly dirty. I have heard however, more air pollution warnings in certain states than others, which is understandable when you take into account the population size as well as the number of large cities in the state. For this reason I say we shift our focus (not entirely, that would be stupid) from air pollution towards land pollution. If we can prevent the pollution of Earths ecosystem on land first, our job of cleaning up earths atmosphere will be considerably easier. It doesnt take much, if you see a wrapper on the ground, pick it up. If you've got an empty wrapper in your hand, hold onto it and throw it into a trash can (theres plenty of convenient locations all over the U of M campus). A few pieces of trash picked off the ground by everyone in the Twin Cities, would equal out to be quite a bit of trash not on the ground, and I think we can all take a sigh of relief knowing that our planet will crap out a few years later than previously expected :)
photo 1: http://photobucket.com/mediadetail/?media=http%3A%2F%2Fi51.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Ff377%2Fgravediger%2Ficons%2Fair-pollution-systems.jpg&searchTerm=air%20pollution&pageOffset=3
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Photo 3: http://photobucket.com/mediadetail/?media=http%3A%2F%2Fi101.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fm49%2Fburndog6%2FMinneapolis.jpg&searchTerm=minneapolis&pageOffset=2