Bringing Environmentalism Back Home


In America, there are more people in jail than working on farms, and most people live in cities. Yet the Environmental movement focuses its attention elsewhere: "The environmental movement has raised its voice loudest in defense of rainforests, wetlands, and old-growth wilderness, sending a subtle message that the places most of us care about strongly–our neighborhoods, our hometowns–aren’t really as important. But suppose for a minute that we enlarged the usual definition of the environment to include the places that people inhabit–where we live and work and play. Many people would then be willing to stand up as part of the environmental movement.." The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) reminds us of what Willie Sutton said when asked why he robbed banks- "because that's where the money is"- If we are going to create a sustainable society we have to focus on cities- thats where the people are. Fred Kent of PPS says: this emerging vision of environmentalism protects both communities and nature by:

* Curbing sprawl by improving places in existing neighborhoods, creating less incentive for people to move to new homes in greenfield developments;
* Reducing air and water pollution by supporting small-scale, local economies, which by their nature are less resource-intensive;
* Reining in global warming by creating mixed-use destinations that shorten and minimize vehicle trips and reduce energy use.

"A great opportunity now exists for the environmental movement to reach out to a broader base and new partners simply by expanding the scope of places it is willing to fight for. This expanded notion of the environment would encompass rural watersheds and town squares, coastal wetlands and neighborhood playgrounds. And by reinforcing the connection between public spaces and environmentalism, it would harness the energy of people who care passionately about Placemaking. It's a winning strategy to revive the movement and restore our planet. Let's bring the environmental movement back home." ::Project for Public Spaces via ::Spacing Wire