Kunstler on Peak Suburbia; Harpers Magazine on Detroit
We at TreeHugger are positive and forward looking, but when we see forest fires, drought, peak oil and global warming slamming into a government that can only come up with coal and 35 MPG in twelve years as an answer, we get depressed. In such times we turn for comfort to James Howard Kunstler.
This week he talks about his "serene conviction that we are at the end of the cycle -- and by that I mean the grand meta-cycle of the suburban project as a whole. It's over." He then continues with his prescription and prediction: "we had better prepare to make other arrangements for living in this country, by which I mean specifically re-localizing, de-globalizing, with an emphasis on local agriculture wherever possible, the emergency restoration of passenger railroad service and related modes of public transit, the rebuilding of local commercial infrastructures, and a radical rethinking of how we inhabit the landscape." ::Clusterf*ck Nation
Fact of the matter is, you can see this already- in Detroit.
There is a wonderful article in the July issue of Harpers by Rebecca Solnit: Detroit Arcadia- Exploring the post-American landscape
It follows the decline of Detroit - "This continent has not seen a transformation like Detroit's since the last days of the Maya"- as industry and people leave, cutting its population to a fraction of what it was. "Between the half-erased neighbourhoods are ruined factories, boarded up warehouses, rows of storefronts bearing the traces of failed enterprise... some areas have been stripped entirely and weedy version of nature is returning....a third of Detroit, some forty square miles, has evolved past decrepitude into vacancy and prairie- an urban void nearly the size of San Francisco."
However people have stayed and organized and are taking over land and planting gardens and urban farms. The Earth Works Garden has planted three acres of organic vegetables. Other remaining residents are growing their own food. The author continues:
"This is the most extreme and long-term hope Detroit offers us: The hope that we can reclaim what we paved over and poisoned, that nature will not punish us, that it will welcome us home- not with the landscape that was here when we arrived, perhaps, but with land that is alive, lush and varied all the same." ::Harpers (not online)