There are a lot of different ways of building a prosperous society, and some of them use much less energy than others. And it is possible and more practical to talk about rebuilding systems to use much less energy than it is to think about trying to meet greater demands of energy through clean energy alone.
The Internet has made some phenomenal breakthroughs that are still only poorly understood in terms of changing people's ideas of us and them. If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
What makes creative people tingle are interesting problems, the chance to impress their friends, and caffeine.
For carbon-neutral cities, there are things worth talking about in how our consumption patterns can change - sharing goods, etc. - but those are a fraction of the impacts of transportation and building energy use. If we need to choose priority actions, the most important things are to densify, provide transit, and green the buildings.
By fundamentally changing how we design the places and systems that enable our daily lives, we can slash emissions way beyond the immediate carbon savings - because our own personal emissions are just the tip of a vast iceberg of energy and resources consumed far from our view.
I'm fascinated with design. I realized early that I had no talent in that direction, but I love talking with architects and designers about what they do. I appreciate applied creativity as a source of pleasure and meaning.
The planet's biggest problems have to do with sustainability, environmental decline, global poverty, disease, conflict and so forth. Really, they're all interconnected - it's one big problem, which is that the way we're doing things can't go on.
Climate change is not a discrete issue: it's a symptom of larger problems. Fundamentally, our society as currently designed has no future. We're chewing up the planet so fast, in so many different ways, that we could solve the climate problem tomorrow and still find that environmental collapse is imminent.
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