McKibben on Global Warming, and (New) Urbanism

Bill McKibben's recent reviews from the New York Review of Books suggest New Urbanism's potential role in the fight against global warming.

In the October 11 edition of the New York Review of Books, author and environmentalist McKibben reviews four books addressing concerns about environmental change, including Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger's Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. While McKibben characterizes Break Through as "unremittingly interesting, sharp . . . [and] provid[ing] a great deal of thoughtful comment for anyone trying to figure out how to rally public support behind action on climate change," he also critiques the authors for "accepting slower progress than is necessary and possible." McKibben disagrees with Nordhaus and Shellenberger's opposition to limits on carbon emissions (they promote investment in new technology to address environmental concerns), yet finds in their text "kernels of hope for even faster progress than technology alone can provide." For instance, while the authors' research reflects Americans' desire for increasing autonomy, it also suggests that Americans want to see a simultaneous investment in "functioning community." For McKibben, this opens up the possibility that Americans will embrace urban solutions that could provide that sense of community in a more environmentally-responsible manner. This use of urban environments to foster community, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease energy use is certainly one that will sound familiar to CNU members.


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