Urbanism As A Way Of Death?

<p>Economist Jeremy Rifkin warns that unchecked urbanization is fueling unsustainable resource consumption and the destruction of the natural world.</p>
December 20, 2006, 1pm PST | Michael Dudley
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"Large populations living in megacities consume massive amounts of the Earth's energy to maintain their infrastructures and daily flow of human activity. The Sears Tower in Chicago alone uses more electricity in a single day than the city of Rockford, Ill., with 152,000 people. Even more amazing, our species now consumes nearly 40 percent of the net primary production on Earth -- the amount of solar energy converted to plant organic matter through photosynthesis -- even though we make up only one-half of 1 percent of the animal biomass of the planet. This means less for other species to use."

"The flip side of urbanization is what we are leaving behind on our way to a world of hundred-story office buildings, high-rise residences and landscapes of glass, cement, artificial light and electronic interconnectivity. Rising population; growing consumption of food, water and building materials; expanding road and rail transport; and urban sprawl continue to encroach on the remaining wild, pushing it to extinction."

"Try to imagine 1,000 cities of a million or more just 35 years from now. It boggles the mind and is unsustainable for Earth. I don't want to spoil the party, but perhaps the commemoration of the urbanization of the human race in 2007 might be an opportunity to rethink the way we live."

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, December 17, 2006 in The Washington Post
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email