Mary's Reviews > Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability

Green Metropolis by David Owen
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F_50x66
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Mar 15, 10


Hmm, the subtitle listed here isn't the one on the book, though it might as well be. But even as a convert to urban living, I am guilty of what Owen counts as the biggest environmental sin: driving a car. I fear he is right. All the little things we do to be "green"--recycling, turning off lights, buying locally grown produce--are ultimately a drop in the bucket given our massive collective use of oil, which Owen documents in terrifying detail in his chapter "Liquid Civilization." We are exonerated individually, somewhat, because of the economic and social forces that have long encouraged sprawl (including the environmental movement itself), but that just makes the problem seem all the more insoluble. I love the way Owen demolishes a lot of the conventional wisdom about sustainability (better fuel mileage = bad because it encourages more driving + complacency), and he has reminded me all over again why I love living in "the walking city"; his book will sit next to Jane Jacobs's in my bookcase. But it left me feeling profoundly uncomfortable, which I think is what he intended.
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