Saturday, February 21, 2009

Urban Sprawl


A major criticism of conventional, mainstream thinking is its inability to distinguish the forests from the trees, so to speak. There seems to be an overwhelming urge to be satisfied with describing symptoms when the urgent need is for an understanding of the root cause for the phenomenon in question.

"Descrirtive" analysis might not be totally useless but it fails to advance , meaningfully, our understanding of the dynamics behind the issue of concern.To suggest that environmental degradation is caused by excessive pollution is a "no brainer" when in fact what is instrumental is an understanding of the reason why we pollute.

This line of "shallow environmentalism" has become so widely spread that it is not an exaggeration to suggest that it might have become the norm. And that is tragic. One current example where this "shallow" analysis has become often applied is that of Urban Sprawl. There is no doubt that urban sprawl is one of the most destructive developments that we are confronting but to suggest that urban sprawl is related to numbers of inhabitants goes a long way in mismanaging the problem. No doubt that numbers can and often do play a role but may I suggest that the single most important issue in urban sprawl is NOT connected to numbers. Urban sprawl is very much the result of a life style, a habit of consumption and an accepted standard of living. Urban sprawl is very much a product of a feeling of entitlement that every family is to live in a ranch home spread over an acre of land with a swimming pool in the backyard and a three car garage in front. A recent study by the EU concluded that 65% of material use and 70% of global warming potential is related to urban areas. And yet uncontrolled, rampant urbanization is not only accepted but is even encouraged the world over.
Yet, is there a justification for the following:


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I must say that I was not expecting to see what I saw in this video, and moreover I'm a little conflicted as I'm sure many will be on this issue though. I definitely am one of those people who really feel that everyone else is either asleep or choosing to remain asleep on the fact that we are driving ourselves to ruin. It's within this that I'm glad there is something out there like the ALF and ELF, because it keeps the thought or threat of change alive and palpable. I do feel that these groups wouldn't be doing what they were doing if the governments and global institutions did more, as they should. I'm not saying its painless to free lab animals and destroy years and years of data analysis, but I am agreeing with this man when he says he burns the buildings down because if he didn't, they would just continue the activities the next day. Sad but true. I'm really shocked that there are people out there who are "extreme" and "radical" about things like urban sprawl and SUV's, but I'm thoroughly glad, and it should. Though burning down a millionare complex also wastes a lot of money that I hope has nothing to do with my money..(if its private money then let it burn). Either way Hummers shouldn't even be for sale anymore and urban sprawl should no longer be the status quo. I'm all for people being active in doing things to bring awareness, but I won't be a member myself because at certain points it gets "extreme". Either way, with people down to make literal change and a vast number of members in the ELF maybe the government will be forced to do something...

Emily Ottoo ENV 112

Anonymous said...

I am quite familiar with environmental terrorism. I am a firm believer in what they stand for including urban sprawl. However, the horrific acts they use to get their point across is uncalled for. They make all darkened the reputation of all environmentalists. If all environmentalist have a bed reputation due to the acts of these extremists than progress is less likely to be made.

Dandelion--env 112

Anonymous said...

What are we to garner from such acts? That violence is perfectly acceptable, just as long as you really, really believe in your cause? If we were to tolerate ALF/ELF's terrorism, it would seem only fair then that we accept as legitimate the various violent acts of Ted Kaczinski, abortion clinic bombers, and any number of other terrorists with strong convictions.

To condone any of this violent "protest" would set a disgusting precedent. To condone the violence of ELF/ALF alone would be pure hypocrisy.

-Aaron Fetto ENV 112

Anonymous said...

The ELF is an organization that does not harm people. They make sure every building, car, and house is fully evacuated. Actually they never have to evacuate the places because there already empty. They are not extreme abortion fighters who kill doctors in the name of god, they fight for what is right without causing harm. This may be seen as horible or demeaning to the environmentalist movement but i see them as the vigilante who kills the rapist or the gangbanger who has been terrorizing the neighborhood. No one tells their children to look up to this person, but when their kids are at school they secretly raise a fist and yell "justice was served". And yes they usually cause the degredation of more environment by buring down houses that will cause even more wood to be cut down, but havnt you wanted to burn down the new complex that was built over the woods where many of your childhood memories have been made? Sometimes it takes extreme measures and having a nation look down on you to get your point across, even bad publicity is good publicity.

Fred

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