Jesse Rodriguez is a student of Environmental Policy and Management at Hunter College. Originally from Bogotá, Colombia Jesse moved to New York City to seek a career with the United Nations. Her hope is to use the example of her city Bogotá to transform cities all over the world into sustainable ones.
Climate change and pollution are no longer subjects that belong to environmentalist only. This threat is affecting people all around the globe and we are now in an urgent search for solutions that can help us overcome and undo centuries of deforestation and contamination to our planet.
Bogotá was one of the most polluted cities in the 1990’s and also a great contributor to CO2 emissions and water contamination. Children’s mortality was high due to respiratory and digestive issues all caused by the poor quality of the city’s air and water supply.
In 1995 Antanas Mockus was elected as major. Mockus was an academic and a civic leader who began a set of “social experiments” and pioneered several proposals to improve the city and the citizen’s mindset. Bogotá then became a model of civic-minded and sustainable urban planning.
The proposal’s included adapting a high capacity Bus Rapid Transport system (BTR), the addition of greenways and parks, the creation of more than 300km of bicycle lanes, restriction on cars, car free days, waste management programs and many changes on the city’s infrastructure.
Today Bogotá is consider to be one of the greenest cities in the world and has been hailed as an inspiration to cities working towards sustainability showing that it is possible for other cities to have these accomplishments as well. The conservation charity WWF now calls Bogotá “a poster child of sustainable transport”. Cities from New York to London have copied its transit ideas.