Monday, August 4, 2008

Elevator environmentalism

"Get ready to rethink what it means to be green."

If you go to that link, you'll see a list of "10 green heresies," with 10 links to very short essays, each one about some supposed environmental heresy.

Some of them are, indeed, blatantly heretical for your standard environmentalist: don't go organic, for instance.

Oh, and Ronald Reagan might not have been that far off: trees cause global warming.

But what really gets me is this one: "urban living is kinder to the environment than the suburban lifestyle."

That one stands out not because it's so heretical, but because it's hard for me to fathom how it can be controversial.

Would anyone seriously take issue with the article's claim that New York City is one of the greenest cities in America?

From the link: "A Manhattanite's carbon footprint is 30 percent smaller than the average American's." To make it more vivid:

[G]uess what high-speed means of transportation emits less atmospheric carbon than trains, planes, and automobiles? The humble counterweight elevator put into service in 1857, which has made vertical density possible from Dubai to Taipei.
And does anyone seriously think that going camping or hiking to "get in touch with nature" is doing anything other than creating fun for human beings but actually depleting the planet overall? That is, if you have to drive your car to get there. Which is pretty likely.

(Photo of woman standing by elevator in the New Museum by Anne Helmond. Photo of Manhattan viewed from Brooklyn by Ann Althouse.)


Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I like that my picture symbolized the cleanliness of NYC. Of course, that is the East River, and it's pretty toxic. But is sure does look sparkly.

John Althouse Cohen said...

There's no question that having denser populations is going to result in more pollution in that area. But people associate "NYC" with "dirty" and "polluted," without thinking about how tiny an area it is, and how much less transportation there is.

kjbe said...

Most don't yet think of their own carbon foot print - only in dollars per gallon.

BTW, Amtrak has two stops in Glacier NP. And, you don't even need a car in the park. I get your point, but pretty sweet, none the less.