Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Understand me: I have nothing against rural Nebraska, and I am not saying that you should not live there; but I am saying that living there is steadily going to become more and more expensive, and it will be quite simply unaffordable for those that are not rich.

I think that Jerome a Paris possibly underestimates the problem. Almost all of North America has been built on the assumption of car transport and unlimited land. This includes urban and rural areas. The cost to provide environmentally friendly anything is prohibitive except in the biggest of cities, and even there...

Compare Barcelona with Toronto - for example. Toronto is an environmental - urban sprawl nightmare (not to mention that all the interesting buildings have been destroyed in the name of progress). Toronto has 3 times the population - too bad it has maybe 20% of the subway system. Look at the buildings in Barcelona - 5-7 story multi res. everywhere. Compare that to the huge number of single family dwellings of Toronto. The reason for the sorry state of mass transit in Toronto is immediately obvious. That - and the fact that Toronto has built the last 3 subway lines in the wrong place or in the wrong way... very expensive mistakes that provide short term gain.

US cities are the same. Forget about rural Nebraska. The rural population will be the least of the world's problems. The very poor will continue to live and die in third world misery in rural America. That will not change. The cost and difficulty of rectifying the urban problems of North America will probably mean that North America will continue to be part of the problem when it comes to global warming. Even things that should help will be done wrong.

Having recently walked the Camino de Santiago - it became extremely clear to me that Spanish cities were made for walking. North American cities were made for cars. The life that it is possible to lead in Spain is very different than the life that it is possible to lead in North America in general and the US in particular. It will not be as simple as embracing mass transit and driving smaller cars, or even moving to the city. Depopulating rural Nebraska of the poor will not happen.  In particular the poor will be shafted, and will not participate if they can at all help it, as they have no obvious stake - and far more pressing immediate concerns.  In any case, the United States will probably have to lose Florida before people stand up and take notice - and then they will blame the Democratic Party and the Liberals.

This is not just a North American problem. Spanish factory trawlers are helping to turn our oceans into deserts - with the active support of the Spanish people.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Oct 31st, 2006 at 04:04:43 PM EST

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