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.