Increasingly, I view the globalized world as a network of interconnected coastal megacities. Get that network right in all its complexity and security, and you’ve covered much of the flows that define globalization (energy, people, money, security, food, etc.). Doing that in a sustainable environmental fashion and you’ve conquered so much more of the enduring challenges associated with globalization’s continued—and rapid—ramp up.
Here’s a Bloomberg BusinessWeek piece (and yes, the mag is a lot better with Bloomberg attached, I will say) that says major metros increasingly lead the way in the global fights against carbon emissions. As Toronto’s mayor puts it, “We’re not going to wait for national politicians.”
I think this is true the world over—and a good sign. Cities share new ideas more easily and faster than nation-states. Mayors, as a rule, are far more pragmatic than national pols.
Why this especially makes sense on the environment: major cities, over the past century, have already experienced temperature rises equivalent to what’s predicted for this century due to global warming. This has happened because of the heat-sink effect created by all those buildings, infrastructure, operations, etc. Cities are just unnaturally warmer than rural areas.
The variations here globally are profound: 70% of Tokyo residents make their way other than by car; in Houston it’s 95% the other way.
Let the experiments begin!