Monday, April 21, 2008

The Green Planet (Without All These %$#@! People)

Excellent essay (by my college classmate Rebecca Onion) on the limits and dangers of eco-topian post-apocalyptic dreaming by the likes of James Howard Kunstler (whose Clusterfuck Nation wins Best Blog Title, but whose new novel sounds like a sexist mess.)

"In the perfect green apocalypse, population reduction leaves a world in which everybody wins—birds, bees, and people."

Elitist dreams of how great things would be if all the Hummer drivers went away? I'm guilty, as are many of my neighbors in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Not particularly helpful.

At the same time, I've talked to people who came close to this experience, in the brief hours of the New York City blackout in 2003, and more so in the weeks-long aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and did indeed discover unexpected inner strength, the value of hard work to meet basic survival needs, and a sense of community and freedom they'd never known. I don't think it's a bad thing to imagine an America that might be different, in a good way, after everything that's unsustainable in our current system--corporate, consumerist, polluting, unequal--has in fact collapsed.
That's what unsustainable means, after all. If it can't go on, it won't go on. And what then?

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