Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Steward Brand: cities are the greenest things we can do


Steward Brand argues that the environmental movement must reverse some long-held opinions -- he says in his new book that cities are actually greener than the countryside, nuclear power is the future of energy, and genetic engineering is the key to crop and land management. While he raises some good points against most human-hating eco-nazis, it sounds like he still believes in Cap and (TAX)Trade:




Ryssdal: You're the guy who came up with the idea for the Whole Earth Catalogue 40-some-odd years ago. Chart your progression for me, would you? From a guy who writes something like that to a book called "Whole Earth Discipline: An Eco-Pragmatist Manifesto." I mean, what happened?

BRAND: What's different is in that one I focused on individual empowerment, and in this one the focus is on the aggregate effects of humans on things like climate. And some of these issues are of such scale that you got to have the governments doing things like making carbon expensive. Or making coal expensive to burn and putting all that carbon into the atmosphere. And individuals can't do that, individual communities can't do that. It takes national governments.

Ryssdal: Is there anything we can do that's going to get it done in time? I mean, I know that's kind of a pessimistic question but...

BRAND: I think we'll probably have to step across a couple of too-late lines. Events tend to change behavior. You realize that it's just going to keep getting worse unless you do something. And I think that's what we're going to have to go through before you really get the level of action that's called for.

Ryssdal: Stewart Brand. You knew him first as the founder of the Whole Earth Catalogue. He's got a new book out, it's called "Whole Earth Discipline." Mr. Brand, thanks so much for your time.

BRAND:My pleasure, and thank you.

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