The Bright Side?

Note: This is a Monday, October 22nd, unedited first draft. Anyone who disagrees with the thrust of this piece might benefit from glance at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Cities-And-Other-Tales/dp/1565848446.

The Bright Side?
Dedicated to the hope that this will resonate with at least some folks at NCCC
by The Ox
aptosnews@gmail.com

Most people don’t know that if one employed the population density of Manhattan, it would be possible to fit the entire world’s population in 2012 into the state of Texas.

[Pause.]

Have you processed that yet?

[Pause.]

A recent National Geographic article (December, 2011) titled The City Solution attempts to explain why cities are the best cure for our planet’s pains. Hmmm. I don’t think so. Do you?

In 1800 there were 3 cities of one million or more inhabitants. In 1900 more than five times that number blossomed. But the 16 cities of a million or more which the world boasted in 1900 (when there were 1.65 billion people on earth) grew 74 by 1950. A horrid momentum had begun. And only 60 years later — in 2010 — there were 442 cities of a million or more people!

I spent over four decades in academia and I know very well how statisticians and academic magicians enjoy spinning figures this way and that, often procuring funds to do so if they can provide a unique enough angle to pitch to the powers that be. I point this out because it should be kept in mind when reading the following excerpt from that misleading National Geographic issue:

“Not an urban myth: Dense cities tend to emit less CO2 per person than the national average. Not always — a city’s emissions depend also on its source of electricity and how much industry and public transit is has. But dense settlements emit less than scattered, sprawling ones.”

I’m not going to argue with the so-called facts here. My purpose is very simple. I merely want the reader to think about whether or not the likes of Manhattan — in the context I opened this piece with — is inhabitable. That’s what I’d like to talk to the reader about directly.

For I want to do something about our current momentum, and not just with regard to population issues. The National Geographic article — well-meaning, I’m sure, albeit not so well-informed in my book — is one of an almost infinite number of postings and publications that generate interest and entertain whilst making sales these days… which — simultaneously — ignore crises in various realms. [Pause.] Shining a light that darkens our potential to see what faces us.

We have collective deadlines. And it won’t do to act as if we can address the crucial challenges of our times by bright siding our momentum. We need light which delights and enlightens… not overexposure to what tells the public what it wants to see.

The author is NOT into apathy, resignation, cynicism or atomization. He very much wants to move in solidarity to solve serious footprint matters and related issues. He has a plan for action which follows a fresh paradigm, and he truly hopes that some reader will request details.