Urban Meltdown
262 Pages
English

Urban Meltdown

-

262 Pages
English

Description

>Eblast & Review mailing to National daily newspapers (Washington Post, NY Time etc)as well as to weekly urban freebies >galley mailing to long lead magazines, Publishers weekly etc) >Publicist will be hired to arrange radio interviews >Ads in Alternatives Journal, Municipal World, Planning, E Magazine, Earth Island Journal, Foreword, Publishers Weekly, Mother Earth News, Amazon.ca, The Progressive

> Written by the first poet to be elected to city hall, Urban Meltdown takes a unique and highly readable story-telling approach to the subject of cities and climate change. > It urges readers to consider different origins for global warming, asking them to connect the dots between how we govern ourselves in cities and climate change, instead of personal decisions between driving a large or small car, or no car. > The book’s thesis is that knowledge isn’t the key to more sustainable cities; politics is. > The book’s audience is broad, from activists and academics to city and country dwellers alike. > The author is a well-known writer and speaker on urban sustainability and other issues.

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Published 01 March 2009
Reads 0
EAN13 9781550923476
Language English
Document size 1 MB

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Exrait

Advance Praise for Urban Meltdown
You’d better believe we will have to rethink the way our cities work as the West enters a new age of energy scarcity. We have to get serious about making other arrangements — for getting around, for manufacturing and trade, and even growing our food. Clive Doucet has been at the center of this issue as an activist, an elected o‹cial, and an author.Urban Meltdownis both an astute diagno-sis of the problem and a visionary agenda for correcting things. — JHK, author ofThe Long Emergency
I know I’m going to enjoy reading it and learning from it. Every now and then I’ve been dipping into it unsystematically, and Šnd it hard to put down. — The late D. JJ, author ofThe Death and Life of Great American Cities andDark Age Ahead,in a letter to the author, 2005
Why are our cities so miserably prepared for the impending post-petroleum future, and what can we do about it? If you want answers informed by experience, look no further. Clive Doucet is the kind of local politician the world desperately needs an abun-dance of : he’s realistic, forthright, courageous, aware — and a damned good writer to boot. — RH, author ofThe Party’s Over, PowerdownandThe Oil Depletion Protocol, and Research Fellow, Post Carbon Institute
Through Clive Doucet’s poetically inspired kaleidoscope we get a clear picture of how our cities have rapidly and increasingly come under ecological seige and why politics as usual will not get us out of this mess. — TC, author ofInside the Bottle and co-author ofBlue Gold
Clive Doucet writes powerfully — from the head and heart. In Urban Meltdown,he shows clearly and convincingly that climate change is not only the great global challenge of our generation but that it is also a local concern. He draws connections between the city and planet in a way that make us realize we cannot evade our responsibilities as citizens and, more importantly, as members of the human family. — JC, Polar Programme, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Norway and Ottawa
Global warming is the issue of our time. Perhaps of all time. Clive Doucet has been on the front line of the struggle to understand the consequences of not governing accordingly. I highly recom-mend this book. — DM, mayor, City of Toronto
Poetic, insightful, and Šlled with hope, this book will open your mind, change your life, and liberate your soul.Urban Meltdown oªers a new and valuable perspective on the world’s most impor-tant issue — climate change — from an informed, practical, and passionate voice, Clive Doucet. — DE. M, author ofIt’s a Sprawl World After All
NEWSOCIETYPUBLISHERS
                     A catalog record for this publication is available from the National Library of Canada.
Copyright © 2007 by Clive Doucet. All rights reserved.
Cover design by Diane McIntosh.
Printed in Canada. First printing February 2007.
Paperback13: 978-0-86571-584-4
New Society Publishers acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) for our publishing activities.
Inquiries regarding requests to reprint all or part ofUrban Meltdown should be addressed to New Society Publishers at the address below. To order directly from the publishers, please call toll-free (North America) 1-800-567-6772, or order online at newsociety.com
Any other inquiries can be directed by mail to: New Society Publishers P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island, BCV0R 1X0, Canada 1-800-567-6772
New Society Publishers’ mission is to publish books that contribute in funda-mental ways to building an ecologically sustainable and just society, and to do so with the least possible impact on the environment, in a manner that models this vision. We are committed to doing this not just through education, but through action. We are acting on our commitment to the world’s remaining ancient forests by phasing out our paper supply from ancient forests world-wide. This book is one step toward ending global deforestation and climate change. It is printed on acid-free paper that is 100% old growth forest-free (100% post-consumer recycled), processed chlorine free, and printed with veg-etable-based, low-VOC inks. For further information, or to browse our full list of books and purchase securely, visit our website at: newsociety.com
NEW SOCIETY PUBLISHERS
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Dedication
There is always one singer that your wife would have left you for if only he would have asked; that singer is always nobler, more poetical, more talented than you ever could be. For me that singer was Phil Ochs and the girl is a freckle-faced, strawberry-headed, the-world-is-here-for-me-to-Šx girl named Patty Steenberg. It’s easy to under-stand her preference for Phil Ochs. Sometimes when I listen to Phil’s songs today (forty years after he wrote them) hot tears stream down my face. They are not tears for Phil but for the vivid hope his songs evoke that a better world is possible. They are tears for the naiveté of youth and the kind of world we have today. We seem to have learned very little. The Iraq war has replaced the contra wars in Nicaragua, and Nicaragua followed Pinochet and Chile. The list of man’s inhu-manity to man in just a few centuries of New World settlement has been a long one founded on genocidal wars, slavery and ethnic cleansings. All that ever seems to change are the participants in the human folly.
They are tears born in hope.
To Patty Steenberg who has been my comrade in arms in all the ways that matter.
Contents
Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Part I A Poet Goes to City Hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1. Global Cities and Horse and Buggy Nations . . . . . . . . . . . 2. Neighborhoods to Love . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. The Barbell Society and Just-in-Time Delivery . . . . . . . . . 4. From Mont Tremblant to Ski Tremblant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. Along Bayswater Street . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. Urban Villages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. It ain’t Planning. It’s Politics. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. Citizenship versus Faithship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ix xi
1 3 11 25 37 43 47 57 65
Part II The Idea of Progress and Why We Got it Wrong . . . . . . . 71 9. The Mayor of Hiroshima and Intimations of God . . . . . . 73 10. The Idea of Progress and the First Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 11. Biological and Social Phase Transitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 12. Cod, Government and the Transpiration Cycle . . . . . . . . . 99 13. Care of the Soul/Care of the City/Care for the Planet . . . . 105 14. 1984–2004: Poets and Visions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 15. Cape Breton Beaches and the Gulf of Mexico . . . . . . . . . 117
Part III Trying to Create a New Order of Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 16. The Rise of Cities and Decline of the Planet . . . . . . . . . . . 123 17. 689 Spadina and Coming of Age in Toronto . . . . . . . . . . . 143 18. The 1960s: A global paradigm shift that never happened and how the same pattern is repeating itself . . . . . . . . . . 161
viii
       
19. The World Social Forum II and Trying to Change Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 20. The World Social Forum III and Failing to Change Things . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189 21. Saving the World with Stephen Lewis? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195 22. The Bush Bubble Comes to Ottawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 203 23. Jean de La Fontaine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207 24. Cities, Climate Change and Politics as Usual . . . . . . . . . . . 215
Epilogue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233 Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 243 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 246 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
Acknowledgments
There is a worldwide movement going on as I write these words. It’s a movement that has its roots in many places and in millions of peo-ple’s lives. We saw it in massive, worldwide demonstrations against the war in Iraq, in the election of Lula da Silva in Brazil and the new power sharing that is occurring in that country via participative budgets. We see it in “Earth Day” and other new ways of celebrating our shared existence. We sustain each other in this grand conversation for a better world. Some of the sustaining people in my life have been my wife Patty Steenberg who introduced me to complexity science, the concept of the fat tail rate of change and encouraged me to think of politics and societal change in the context of these new scientiŠc paradigms instead of the old right-wing-left-wing political models. Murray MacGregor introduced me to the global conversation via the Internet, read and critiqued drafts. In my o‹ce at City Hall without the help of Stuart Lister, Donna Silver, Pierre Johnson, Tara Pear-man, Sarah Lindsay and Cyndi Box I could not have done Hay West, the Connecting Community studies and the Ottawa Participative Budgets. Rejections are often an author’s best friend and they have been for me. I am very appreciative of publishers who took the time to critique earlier versions of this book. Ronsdale Press was kind enough to send me several thoughtful readers’ reports; Doug Gibson suggested cut-ting a great deal which I did, and Jan Walters made me think harder about point of view; and Ramsay Derry who edited my Šrst book and became a life long literary mentor. Thanks to Val Ross and Patrick Martin at the Globe and Mail who published excerpts in their newspaper; to Elizabeth May, Jane Jacobs and John Ralston Saul who read early versions and encour-aged me. Last but not least, I thank the people of Capital Ward who took the chance on electing a poet.
ix
x
          
And most of all, I thank my publishers at New Society who met with me, talked with me and were able to see the connections be-tween the poet and the politician. I had the sense from our Šrst con-versations that my manuscript had found a Šne home. All writing is vanity, and the vainest is autobiographical. A polit-ical life is also a tangle of conceits, ambitions and ideals, but as I wrote this book, I could not see how to untangle my own life’s experiences from the more general experiences of politics and society. They were all mixed up. The personal gave meaning and emotion to the polit-ical, and the political gave the essential context of society to my individual experiences. Chris and Judith Plant of New Society had reservations about trying to mix a life lived with general conclusions about how society worked, but decided I was worth the risk and as-signed Betsy Nuse to shepherd the words from manuscript to book. To all I am very grateful.