To blog or not to blog that is the question

of Cities and Philosophy

I’m not sure just what I’m supposed to write about in ‘of cities and philosophy’.   When I look around the blogosphere, everywhere I look I see intelligent, discerning commentaries on the modern dyspepsia’s.   There’s James Howard Kunstler riding hard as the eviscerating Jeremiah of urban sprawl and destructive urban design.  Author of the ‘clusterfuck nation’ blog, he’s funny, smart and on point.

Then there’s the most quoted human being on the planet, Noam Chomsky on the impeccable shoot- yourself- in-the-foot with an IUD nature of world politics, best summed up by, “bigger, better funded conflicts will make the world more secure.  Mission accomplished! As Obama One once said.

The good doctors,  Suzuki and Lovelock have got the meltdown of the planet’s environment nailed down and have for years. They’ve described the planet’s disequilibrium for decades.  There’s the smog blog and so on. What is the point of adding another voice to the climate change bonfire?

I used to have a modest, but secure place in the effort to make the world a little more sustainable.  As a local city councillor, I was determined to bring surface light rail  to my city  from east to west and north to south as an alternative to more roads.  The other Ottawa sustainability project I championed was to renovate an old park in the city centre instead of building a shopping centre for more cheap goods from China.  Both were  achievable ambitions and on the way to becoming reality before the election of Mr. O’Brien, Ottawa’s last mayor.

The Ottawa electorate has recently disposed of Mr. O’Brien, but elected a candidate to replace him with the same platform and so we move on – standing in the same place, which leaves me where?  What do I write about in ‘of cities and philosophy?  For it is one thing to want a voice in the public conversation, that’s fair enough, but it has to have the possibility of meaning to bother doing.  And I’m not sure this is possible – for anyone.  The internet has given us a new human cacophony but no sign it is helping humanity solve the many problems that besiege us.

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8 Responses to To blog or not to blog that is the question

  1. bushidoka says:

    I think you have a solid place in talking about all of these things and how they relate to our city, Ottawa. I hope you do keep blogging.

  2. rww says:

    Your run for mayor was a valiant effort to get real change at Ottawa City Hall. There was a change of style in the mayor’s office but no real change in policy. Lansdowne Park and LRT Tunnel policies remain the same and “zero means zero” becomes “2.5% means 2.5%”.

    There is another big issue that needs your attention and that is the South March Highlands. With this election SMH lost three of its greatest allies, yourself, Alex Cullen and Peggy Feltmate and is under even greater threat of destruction from a City Council that refuses to question city staff who act as agents of the developers.

    Unfortunately this election was held at a time when intelligent politicians who think about the issues are derided as elitists and those who blindly follow the ideology of simple answers to complicated questions are worshiped.

    I can only hope that perhaps you can be more effective as a non-political elder statesman. Keep researching, thinking and writing. Use your blog to engage with the Ottawa citizenry about intelligent solutions to civic problems.

  3. I can’t say that you’ve ever been less than useful and constructive so far, whether I’ve agreed with any given comment of yours or not. At the risk of throwing away any pretense to objectivity…stick with this.


  4. Erin O'Manique says:

    In the Ottawa context, we need a space to raise the issues that aren’t being considered by officialdom. This is it!

  5. vaalea says:

    I’m with bushidoka… make it relative to Ottawa… you can even take those other blogs you mentioned and comment on them and how it applies locally in a tangible way. I would only suggest that you bring it to Facebook as well. You should share all your new blog posts through!/pages/Clive-Doucet/133604663337382 so your “fans” will be regularily updated.

  6. Robert McDonald says:

    Je voudrais bien vous offrir une nouvelle plateforme. Je cherche des conférenciers pour des sessions sur le développement durable lors du congrès annuel de l’Association française des municipalités ontariennes le 16 septembre à Casselman. Si cela pourrait vous intéresser, vous pouvez me rejoindre par courriel à ou par téléphone à 613-445-3529 ou 613-868-9812. On a grand besoin d’entendre votre voix de nouveau, et le plus souvent possible! Merci d’avance. Robert

    • Clive says:

      J’aimerais bien y assister mais je serai encore en voyage jusqu’a la fin d’Octobre. Un grand merci de m’y penser. A bientot Clive

  7. Emma Doucet says:

    When you lost the election, my thought was ‘good for you, bad for Ottawa’. Meaning, I was happy that you would have time to return to your writing, and selfishly on my part, spend time with your grandchildren. I hadn’t counted on how much I would miss hearing your voice on the CBC in the mornings. It is not just because you are my father, but because you are the only one ever actually saying ANYTHING! The radio coverage is back to pre-Clive which means that all politicians are well-trained robots who never actually say anything to challenge the status-quo. And, not surprisingly, the media rarely does anything to challenge this or bring to light the serious problems facing our city. These are problems that unfortunately, my children are going to inherit. Like no sustainable public transportation, a city that has more box stores than green space, and even sadder, the sense that “this is just the way it has to be”. Like there are simply no other possibilities. You said once during the election that if Ottawa didn’t elect you, they would have to elect someone like you eventually – because anybody driving out to Stittsville everyday from downtown knows this city has grown in a way that is simply nonsensicle. I miss hearing a voice of reason, a voice of inspiration, a voice that said “we can do better by our city, by our tax dollars, by our residents, growth is good, but smart growth is better”. At least I get to read it on your blog – because lord knows I am not going to hear it from the current city council who could take some lessons in imagination from my five year old.

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