Skip to main content

Question of the day

Kevin Drum says:
Here's the thing: my guess is that virtually nobody in the country thinks that cities are greener places than towns or suburbs. And by "virtually nobody," I mean maybe a few percent tops. For most people, it's wildly counterintuitive on all sorts of levels to think of big, dirty, crowded, urban areas as "green." It just doesn't compute.
I'd like to solicit some opinions here. Is that really true? What's your gut reaction? (No fair looking up stuff, I'm really just honestly curious.)


  1. If i think green, i think bicycle friendly, actual recycling and reduction of stuff, carbon emission standards for vehicles and things close enough for people to walk, cycle or take public transport to get whatever it is. This is NOT the midwest, where everything is so sprawled out, and small towns very unlikely to regulate emissions or recycling and likely to drive big farm trucks, whether hauling pigs or just a solo journey to the store for bread and milk. I think some u.s. Cities, like tucson, are on the right track. Much more green than okc, for example.

  2. I think cities are greener per capita. If you were to put all those people in a rural setting to live, the impact would be much greater to the environment. The issue is that the combined environmental impacts of cities makes a huge impact in a concentrated area, increasing the risk of catastrophic environmental events, i.e. raw sewage into the sea and such.

  3. I think that we have a breakdown here in terms of resource aggregation and usage. It is doubtless more efficient to gather all of the resources necessary to sustain modern human life into a relatively small area, then have a greater number of people share it within that area. This avoids energy loss due to transportation and market inefficiencies from constrained supply and demand.

    Does that make cities more green (as measured by net waste output)? Well, that's a little more difficult to say. I would say that per capita, cities are greener. Conversely, I would say that per square mile of land, rural areas are far greener than cities.

  4. WNYC's Radio Lab recently did a show on Cities. This question comes up:

    One of the hosts starts (and ends) with the premise that of course cities are greener because of public transportation.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Why Did Reality Winner Leak to the Intercept?

So Reality Winner, former NSA contractor, is in federal prison for leaking classified information — for five years and three months, the longest sentence of any whistleblower in history. She gave documents on how Russia had attempted to hack vendors of election machinery and software to The Intercept , which completely bungled basic security procedures (according to a recent New York Times piece from Ben Smith, the main fault lay with Matthew Cole and Richard Esposito ), leading to her capture within hours. Winner recently contracted COVID-19 in prison, and is reportedly suffering some lingering aftereffects. Glenn Greenwald has been furiously denying that he had anything at all to do with the Winner clusterfuck, and I recently got in an argument with him about it on Twitter. I read a New York story about Winner, which clearly implies that she was listening to the Intercepted podcast of March 22, 2017 , where Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill expressed skepticism about Russia actually b

Varanus albigularis albigularis

That is the Latin name for the white-throated monitor lizard , a large reptile native to southern Africa that can grow up to two meters long (see pictures of one at the Oakland Zoo here ). In Setswana, it's called a "gopane." I saw one of these in my village yesterday on the way back from my run. Some kids from school found it in the riverbed and tortured it to death, stabbing out its eyes, cutting off its tail, and gutting it which finally killed it. It seemed to be a female as there were a bunch of round white things I can only imagine were eggs amongst the guts. I only arrived after it was already dead, but they described what had happened with much hilarity and re-enactment. When I asked why they killed it, they said it was because it would eat their chickens and eggs, which is probably true, and because it sucks blood from people, which is completely ridiculous. It might bite a person, but not unless threatened. It seems roughly the same as killing wolves tha

Caffeine Is Not a Bioweapon

I got into a discussion with Yves Smith about caffeine here , and somehow my comment got eaten, so I'd like to finish it up here. She said about this Raw Story piece about a girl who allegedly died from drinking two Monster drinks in two days, "The FDA lapse here is terrible. Caffeine is extremely toxic. We just happen to get highly diluted doses in coffee and tea." I commented: Yves, your implication about caffeine is incorrect on several levels. Most Monster drinks have about 10 mg of caffeine per fluid ounce, which is much less than even drip coffee (18 mg/oz) and WAY less than espresso (51 mg/oz). ( Source ) The whole idea of dilution is misguided in any case. The relevant measurement for caffeine intoxication (and most poisoning generally) is the total amount taken, not the concentration. Concentration is something to worry about, as it can make a lethal dose easier to take on, but the main concern there is pure caffeine pills, not energy drinks which are mostl