"Regenerative" cities

Lorna Howarth, writing for the Ecologist:

So, what is a regenerative city – ‘Ecopolis’? It is one that relies primarily on local and regional food supplies; it is powered, heated, cooled and driven by renewable energy, and it reuses resources and restores degraded ecosystems. This is diametrically opposed to how many cities are currently run: they use resources without concern for their origins or destination of their waste products; they emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide without ensuring reabsorption and they consume huge amounts of meat produced mainly with imported feed, often from devastated rainforest regions.

Self-sufficiency is a laudable goal—people have been chasing after it for eons, in part because they chafe at the idea that they should have to depend on someone else for something critical to their survival. This is no different, it’s just draped in green garb.

The issue I have with these sorts of proposals is that they flout perfectly obvious trends. The world is becoming more interconnected, not less. There’s evidence that globalization can help, not harm the environment. It also fails to acknowledge the potential for internecine conflicts in a balkanized world where cities and regions don’t have to get along with one another to survive. Connections, not independence, will get us out of this mess.

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