On Monday, I got up early to make the drive to attend a International Sustainable Urbanism conference at a University that is better known for its military traditions than perhaps its forward thinking. Even though I was speaking in the afternoon, I wanted to hear James Kunstler speak at the opening of the conference.
I arrived to see Kunstler standing on a large stage presenting his large bright slides. He showed schools that looked like prisons, and suburban tracts that he said would fail. He talked about how highrise multistory living would fail. He blistered the group with most of the predictions found in his Long Emergency.
I imagined a strong wind blowing from the stage, knocking the hats off these young heads while blowing their hair behind them as if they were riding in a open roadster at 100 miles per hour. In fact though, there was a lot of non verbal communication of folded arms, heads resting on arms, with the occassional finger pointed up to the head.
I would say the group was overwhelmed, but they were not. They simply did not believe his tale. In all fairness, I don't either. But not because we don't see the world the same way, but because I see humankind responding to the challenges ahead in time and in a spirit that averts the worst of the long emergency that Kunstler imagines.
One slide that caught my attention was the one showing retail square footage per capita for different nations.
In the US, we have ten times the square footage of any other developed nation. So if you think we have been taken over by ugly big boxes. We have.
The Conference turned out to be a pretty good one. This former all male, all white military school is no longer a backwater.
Then yesterday, I happened to be in the gallery of the Texas State Senate as an Imam from Dallas opened up the session. In the gallery with me were women in burkas and middle eastern men with beards. They had come to see the event.
I watched the Senators as they tried not to squirm as the Imam broke into his song of prayer. His clear voice rang out through the Lone Star State's remarkably cheezy chandeliers. It went on, and on, and on. I watched as standing Senators shifted their weight from one leg to the other. But only the Lt Governor actually allowed his eyes to wander.
On the same day, the Iranians freed the Brits.
And our Lady Speaker of the House brought an offer of peace from Israel to Syria, against the wishes of the POTUS.
Meanwhile, the IPCC has released a draft of the consequences of Climate Change.
But we should all remember, Climate Change can very easily act as a full employment act for potential authoritarians and despots.
We need a Global Climate Stabilization Premium.
For the only thing worse than a deregulated carbon economy,
is a regulated carbon economy.
These strong winds of change must be captured in the sails of freedom,
or we will be captured by the foul wind of Fascism.
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