Friday, November 12, 2004

"Everywhere Should Be More Like New York"

That's the subtitle of a New Yorker article by David Owen (10/18 issue) that shows how Manhattanites are easier on the environment than people living in the country or suburbs. People who live in major cities enjoy the utilities-saving benefits of shared walls, use far less gasoline, and don't throw chemicals all over the earth in the name of lawn maintenance.

Owen draws our attention to one or two of Washington's failings, including the way Metro keeps growing out into the 'burbs, so people can maintain a single-family home, car-driving for-every-errand lifestyle, but still take public transportation to work. I can attest to that; I've seen Springfield, Va.

Yet, there is a "powerful anti-city bias [to] American environmentalism." Consider, Owen writes, the use of "urbanization" to describe the suburban sprawl of the West Broad Streets of this country.

He also asks us to consider recycling: a break-even proposition that can often use more fossil fuel in the reprocessing process. "By far the worst damage we Americans do to the planet arises not from the newspapers we throw away but from the eight hundred and fifty million or so gallons of oil we consume every day," Owen states, launching into a brief recap of the we're-almost-out-of-oil facts.

Richmond is very minor league city. On occasion, though, I can go a day or two without driving, yet still go to work / volunteer commitments, shop, see a movie, or visit a museum. I live in a row house with ivy in the front yard and mulch and plants and a fishpond in the back. Even when I admire dream houses, I find it hard to appreciate ones with more lawn than I could trim with, like, a pair of scissors.

Capital City weather: Rain.

No comments: