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Thread: Urban vs rural sustainability

  1. #1
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    Urban vs rural sustainability

    http://www.viewfromthepeak.com/modul...de1aba6cd72c61

    Where do you want to be located when the overconsumption party ends?

    I didn't quite understand the second half of this article, but the first half really rings true.

  2. #2
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    That does raise an interesting question. I suppose I would rather be closer to the urban center. Although rural areas do promote an environment of self-sufficiency, I think resources will be better rationed at an urban level.

  3. #3

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    The author was driven to move to the country and "live off the land" more by his sense of self-righteousness than any reasoned approach to sustainability. I could just picture what happened when this guy met his new neighbors -- the look on their faces when he launched on his half-informed ramble in response to seemingly benign question: "so, why did you decide to move out to the country?"

    Is it any wonder he felt isolated living in "the sticks" with "the rednecks?" Maybe it's because they could sense his surprise and disappointment that country folk don't live a pre-industrial dream world where you live off what you grow and give back to the earth what you take. Sorry, friend, but even farmers live in the 21st Century, and behave as capitalists trying to make it in a capitalist society. They don't eat their own home-grown vegetables, because just like city folk, they let someone else produce vegetables for them, in a manner more efficient than they could ever accomplish themselves.

    But our friend saw the light and moved to the city, the most efficient venue for the exchange of goods and services in an industrialized world where no one consumes the products that they themselves have produced. The city -- where people behave as capitalists in a capitalist society, and consume the goods that someone else has produced, all the while producing their own goods and services for others' consumption -- much like country folk. The city -- where the balet of supply and demand is played out in an efficient arena built of proximity.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I did not read all the way through this cr*p. So cities are the safe place to be when all order breaks down and there are widespread food shortages after the energy apocalypse? Nonsense. His compaint had more to do with people than place. Progressive intellectuals may find it difficult to live in the country. Is that a surprise? He had three psycho neighbors. Like that can't happen in the city? Law and order will break down in the country, but everyone in the city is going to get along in a nice, communal existence. Yeah, right. Buddy, if you think we are headed to an apocalypse, buy a gun and plenty of ammo wherever you may live.

    I have to wonder what kind of "city" environment he lives in. Eugene is not a very dense place, and it sure does sound like he lives in a detached home on a private lot, along with his neighbors. Perhaps they have enoough room to each have a fruit tree or two, and to grow some vegetables. You are hardly living "the lifestyle" until you are raising chickens for eggs, a cow for milk, and sheep for wool. Can you do that on your city lot? Now let's talk density. How much produe are you going to raise on the lot of a Chicago three-flat or a Boston townhouse?

    This sounds to me like a guy who simply wants to wrap himself up in the green flag and show us all that he is right. Ten years ago he was, no doubt, telling everyone how the only way to live was low impact, in the country, living off the land. Now that he doesn't like that, it is wrong and the only way to live is the communal brotherhood of urban yada, yada, yada....
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Cardinal: I argee with you that his crap about attitudes is pretty obnoxious. However, his point about urban residents (and even suburbanites) having a far smaller ecological footprint than rural people is pretty apropos. Rural life hasn't been self-sufficient for a very long time and now mostly survives on direct government subsidies paid for by cities.

    My friend has a very successful garden in the back yard of his twoflat. He had a bumper crop of tomatoes last year. And he doesn't even have a full-size lot. Also the Parks district loans out lots for people to grow stuff on if they don't have back yards (or just want more space and somebody else to till it).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Cardinal: I argee with you that his crap about attitudes is pretty obnoxious. However, his point about urban residents (and even suburbanites) having a far smaller ecological footprint than rural people is pretty apropos. Rural life hasn't been self-sufficient for a very long time and now mostly survives on direct government subsidies paid for by cities.
    Where are the facts to support that conclusion? There are a minority of people in rural areas who receive government subsidies. The work nearby and shop locally and generally have a modest ecological footprint. By the same token, there are many urban and suburban residents who drive SUV's towing smog-spitting ATVs or snowbomiles, don't recycle, waste enrgy, and are simply ecological disasters.

    The question of what is good for the environment cannot be boiled down to analysis of where you live. It is people, and they way they live their lives.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    I have to wonder what kind of "city" environment he lives in. Eugene is not a very dense place, and it sure does sound like he lives in a detached home on a private lot, along with his neighbors. Perhaps they have enoough room to each have a fruit tree or two, and to grow some vegetables. You are hardly living "the lifestyle" until you are raising chickens for eggs, a cow for milk, and sheep for wool. Can you do that on your city lot? Now let's talk density. How much produe are you going to raise on the lot of a Chicago three-flat or a Boston townhouse?


    He says he lives in Portland, and from his description of living within walking distance of good coffee and Ben and Jerry's, and of his type of yard, I would guess he lives in Southeast Portland, near Hawthorn. My father gardened extensively in the tiny lot we had in the east bay of San Francisco and though our family of five couldn't live off of it (or we'd get sick of the lack of variety at least), he produced so much it would have certainly been enough for a couple.

    How much produce does one family need to raise, anyway? In the ideal lifestyle, yeah, you'd be producing everything for yourself, including the wool you wear. But is that even feasible for one household, living in the country? I can't imagine that one household could produce wool efficiently for themselves---it seems like the expenditures would not make it worthwhile. That seemed to be one of his points--you can attempt to live "the lifestyle" but if it ends up that you are, for instance, burning more gas than you were living in the city, why keep up the charade?

    The only thing I really found questionable about this article was his premise, that there's going to be some kind of apocalyptic meltdown and he's looking for the best place to be when all hell breaks loose. In his town of Portland, where farms exist blocks from the Safeway and video rental store, a sort of sustainable, permaculture lifestyle would make a lot of sense.

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