las-vegas-750286_1280_edited

 

I just spent a week in Las Vegas, Nevada with a friend. I love talking to her and getting to just hang out, but as many of you know by now that I like to keep my life, and especially this blog, positive, feel free to skip to the bottom to see the suggestions that I have for Las Vegas (and the rest of the world, if I’m truly being honest 😉 ).

I visited Las Vegas for the first time a few years ago and have been back twice now. Before I went the first time I was excited to see the Strip, eat excellent food, and see an amazing show or two. My expectations were quickly overpowered as I began walking around and realized that excess (and its byproduct, waste) is not my cup of tea. Each time I visit the city again I am reminded how drastically different I want the world to be.

Vegas has so much waste built into every single system. I realize that many people view Las Vegas as a place to get away without worrying about the daily things that they have plaguing them at home. I, unfortunately, have realized I can’t be one of those people. I can’t leave my morals at home. Sustainability runs through every cell of my body.

Examples of waste:

  • The wasted food at the end of the night thrown away from the buffets.

  • Air conditioning – the restaurants and casinos with all of the doors open and the air conditioning on high. I understand this is to draw people in and that it probably works in the heat of a Las Vegas summer, but, seriously?

  • The stripper cards that are handed out on the street. (If you pay attention to the sidewalk you can anticipate when you will be coming upon a guy handing out the cards for strippers, because the sidewalk will be pasted with them.)

  • Very little recycling anywhere

  • Blank rooftops

Monorail

 

Changes already begun and I want to encourage more of:

  • The Monorail is a great way to quickly get around. I only wish that it was available to more locations.

  • There should be a recycling bin next to every trash can.

Ways Vegas could change:

  • Figure out how to give the edible food, remaining at the buffets that would otherwise be thrown out, to needy people at the end of the night.

  • While you are at it, the food that is no longer fit for human consumption, such as off the plates of finished restaurant guests, could be sent to a compost heap instead of a landfill to be turned into fertilizer.

  • Close the doors and keep the air conditioning inside.

  • Switch out light bulbs for more efficient light bulbs. I’m not saying every light bulb needs to be replaced right away, but as they burn out replace them with ones that are more energy efficient.

  • Pick up the stripper cards and recycle them. OR, better yet, do they really need to be handed out? Are they an effective advertising scheme?

  • Require more energy efficient taxis.

  • If the city is not already doing so, they should make sure to water plants at night with gray water or with rain collected in rain barrels.

  • Switch out non-native plants for drought tolerant plants.

  • Remodel the unused roof top space to create a rooftop garden. (A quick Google Earth look shows tons of unused roof top space.)

  • If not using the rooftop for a garden, install solar panels or wind turbines to produce your own energy. (Ideally you could have the poolside or outdoor restaurant seating shaded with solar panels.)

  • When building new construction, or renovating old construction, use low flow toilets, sinks, and showers.

  • Use energy efficient windows.

  • Insulation should be extra thick to keep out the heat.

  • Windows should be strategically placed and angled to avoid direct sunlight in summer by using awnings or overhangs.

These are just a few of the examples that came to mind as I walked around. There are certainly some places that are trying to accomplish some of the goals listed above. If you know of one, I would love to feature them as a shining sustainability example of what “To Do”.

Join the conversation; your thoughts are welcome!