Thursday, November 17, 2016

Green Cities, Neighbors and a Call to Action

Every day hundreds upon thousands of people are moving into cities. Urbanization is growing unchecked at an exponential rate, infinitely increasing the number of cities their populations, market demands and thusly their pollution levels. Cities will grow even more as renewable energies take over the market. In about 20 years their prices will fall below those of fossil fuels, assuming business as usual. Renewable energies will allow a less centralized reliance on the grid, allowing some people to create their own power and some people to even live entirely independent of it. This is great news for rural, poor communities, as it will help limit the distances they travel for water, food and especially medicine in front line communities (communities most affected by climate change such as Indigenous populations).

Despite all this cities will grow and the trend of mass migration to urban areas will continue. If we are to keep to the Paris agreement and maintain the health and happiness of urban populations, then cities not only have to be greener they have to be smarter as well. This means having a circular economy based on reuse and recycling, environmental friendliness and efficient use and reuse of sustainable materials, especially energy. In order to achieve this both ancient environmental wisdom and modern science must be integrated. This has been shown to work in modern ecovillages based on old indigenous designs and native input, such as the installation of a modern wind tower based on an ancient architectural design and modernized with new technology. 

Not only must scientists, architects, and politicians listen and learn from local indigenous tribes but they must also listen to the youth and the elderly. People of all ages must be consulted and included in the process. This is our world. Even though some people might feel the effects of climate change less than others, all of us, especially the youth, will have to live with the consequences. People of color, women, trans and nonbinary people must be included as well. Each and every one of us must work to overcome the prejudices of our teachers, mentors, and adults in power in order to save this world. We cannot achieve this alone no matter how strong the heart or sharp the mind. We must work together to face a challenge like no other or live in a ruined world. We cannot escape earth. It is our home, and whether or not we love our neighbors, pollution, climate change and eventually significant suffering and even death will come for us all if we continue down this dangerous path. And no this isn't an exaggeration.  Already climate related deaths worldwide are in the thousands. Didn't know that?  Then consider this encouragement to educate yourself now or pay the price of ignorance.

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