Historically speaking, paving was a step forward in urban life. City dwellers enthusiastically embraced the hard surfaced, clean road and walkway.  Walking around in mud and manure was the alternative.  Clean shoes and drier feet most people certainly enjoy.  So there was little hew or cry over paving over the landscape.  The environment wasn’t an issue then. 

We have reached a nadir when it comes to paving, though.  Today we see the results of our one track mind regarding our pavement choices and impervious surfaces in developed areas in general.  As cities expanded to suburbs and the invention of the automobile the amount of pavement has increased exponentially.  Major highways traverse the continents so that even rural areas have substantial amounts of impervious surface criss-crossing the open spaces.  We have created concrete and asphalt blankets over much of our land.  The one thing we forgot in all this is that it rains, and if it can’t go into the ground, where can the rain water go?  The traditional answer is pipe storm water to the nearest water source, usually a stream.  This has caused a myriad of problems in our environment and health.

The situation isn’t hopeless, though.  Green advocates and government officials alike are looking for ways to improve water quality.  When it comes to pollution caused by paving they are turning to new technologies such as Low Impact Development as a solution.  As green minded homeowners, we, too, can make a positive impact on water quality with our landscape paving choices. 

Let’s examine some effective solutions to the problems of paving.

NEXT     Paving the Green Way

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