Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Patrick Moore is a pariah. Not only did he once belong to the world's most well-known environmental organization, he helped to found it... But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Patrick Moore's story gets going in his college years. During this time he came to see that science and spirituality need not be mutually exclusive: "Ecology showed me that everything is interrelated. It's all one big system. I discovered through science you could understand the mystery of nature and life. In my own way, I understood genesis or creation." Maybe it was this epiphany that led Moore to conclude people and their needs should be thought of as a part of such a system.

When Patrick and some friends (hippies, journalists, and other assorted characters) went to Alaska to protest nuclear testing by the US government, Greenpeace was born. In the 1970s, many of their common concerns had to do with nuclear proliferation and the Vietnam War, not just the environment. "I fashioned myself as a crusader for truth and justice." As a founding member of Greenpeace, Moore handled various campaigns, including the protection of whales and protests against nuclear warships, the killing of sea lions, and uranium mining. He served nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as director of Greenpeace International.

But something happened. "I realized you just can't save the environment and forget about the people," said Moore. As Moore began to think more and more about sustainable development, he realized that not only had Greenpeace begun to evolve, but that he had begun to question some of their priorities. "All social movements evolve from an earlier period of polarization and confrontation during which a minority struggles to convince society that its cause it is true and just, eventually followed by a time of reconciliation if a majority of the population accepts the values of the new movement. For the environmental movement this transition began to occur in the mid-1980s."

In 1986 Moore left Greenpeace. He came to understand that it could be in no one's interest (much less that of the ecosystem) to be fundamentally anti-business, anti-technology, and just plain anti-civilization. Thus, in 1991 he formed Greenspirit, a consulting firm that focuses on environmental policy, biodiversity, and natural resources.

Instead of radical activism, Moore favors approaches that involve bringing various interested parties together for roundtable meetings. Often, he finds, communities have a lot more common ground on issues than one might think. Such discoveries of mutual interest through dialogue, claims Moore, can be far more effective than jumping onto fishing vessels with campy T-shirts, or amassing large sums of money to press Congress into enacting economically stifling regulations. Patrick Moore continues to speak out against radical environmental activism, as well as the deleterious consequences that may be hidden behind its well-meaning agendas.



With the cost of fuel, in many instances doubling in the last year,opponents to drilling in Alaska and coastal waters are more often than not of the political party that is supposedly for the "little guy." If it really was for the "little guy" the "poor" and the "disadvantaged," who can least afford increases in fuel costs, why does it continue its opposition to use of U.S. resources? After all, that opposition penalizes the same "little guy, poor and disadvantaged" that the Democrat Party supposedly champions.

Democrat opposition to exploration and exploitation has nothing to do with their interest in protecting the aforementioned "classes" of people, or even the environment, and has everything to do with obstructing and inducing failure of attempts to implement a multi-faceted approach to energy self-sufficiency. It wouldn't be a surprise if most of them own stock in some middle east oil company.

Democrats don't get it. They lost the election, now they are consolidating that loss into permanent political minority status. Even longstanding ethnic-minority-lapdog interests in this country are beginning to see through Democrat partisan maneuverings, and increasingly awaken to the fact that it isn't in their interests to continue going along with them. After all, the Democrat Party is: pro-high fuel costs, pro-homosexual marriage, pro-abortion, pro-higher taxes, pro-every-evil-issue-in-the-cloak-of-"civil-rights," anti-religion, anti-morality, anti-life, and anti-marriage; all of which are issues that most minorities eschew.

Democrat Party machinery is finally being revealed for what it is, a bunch of rich racists who create, then prey on the fears of the elderly,minorities and women for the purpose of "exacting from each according to their ability, and to each according to their needs." Regarding this last, those who understand, understand; those who don't, didn't and probably never will

More here


It is just a variant of a failed Communist idea

American suburbs are "a chaotic and depressing agglomeration of buildings covering enormous stretches of land." The cost of providing services to such "monotonous stretches of individual low-rise houses" is too high. As a result, "the search for a future kind of residential building leads logically to" high-density, mixed-use housing.

This sounds like typical writings of New Urbanist or smart-growth planners. In fact, these words were written nearly forty years ago by University of Moscow planners in a book titled The Ideal Communist City. The principles in their book formed a blueprint for residential construction all across Russia and eastern Europe. With a couple of minor changes, they could also be the blueprint for smart growth.

Mixed-use developments, wrote the Moscow planners, allow people easy access to "public functions and services" such as day care, restaurants, parks, and laundry facilities. This, in turn, would minimize the need for private spaces, and the authors suggest that apartments for a family of four need be no larger than about 600 square feet. Prior to the late 1960s, such apartments were built in five- to six-story brick buildings, but the authors looked forward to new, reinforced-concrete building techniques that would allow fifteen- to seventeen-story apartment buildings.

Like the New Urbanists, the soviet planners saw several advantages to such high-density housing. First, it would be more equitable, since everyone from factory managers to lowly janitors would live in the same buildings. While New Urbanists are less concerned about housing everyone in nearly identical apartments, they do promote the idea of mixed-income communities so that the wealthy can rub shoulders with lower-income people.

Second, the soviets believed apartments would promote a sense of community and collective values. Single-family homes were too "autonomous," they said, while the apartment "becomes the primary element in a collective system of housing." Similarly, many New Urbanists claim that their designs will produce a greater sense of community.

Third, high-density housing was supposed to allow easy access to public transportation. "Private individual transportation has produced such an overwhelming set of unresolved problems in cities that even planners in bourgeois societies are inclined to limit it," the Russians prophetically observed. With their high-density apartments, as many as 12,000 people could live within 400-yard walking distances of public transit stations. That's about 70,000 people per square mile, slightly greater than the density of Manhattan. "The economic advantages of (public transit) for getting commuters to and from production areas are obvious," says the book, "and it is also an answer to congestion in the central city."

Soviet-block countries were building such new cities even as the University of Moscow planners were writing their book. In 1970, East Germany developed a standard building plan known as the WBS 70 (WBS stands for Wohnungsbausystem, literally, "house building system") that was applied to nearly 650,000 apartments in East Berlin and other East German cities. "The WBS 70 was the uniform basis of the accelerated housing construction until the end of the GDR," says a paper titled Architecture as Ideology. According to page 23 of this paper, the WBS 70 offered a generous 700 square feet in its three-room apartments, not counting 75 square feet of private balcony.

The WBS 70 was one of the major designs used in Halle-Neustadt, a bedroom community built between 1964 and 1990 for about 100,000 people on the outskirts of the manufacturing city of Halle. I first became aware of Halle-Neustadt at a 1998 conference on sustainable transportation at which two planners from the University of Stockholm declared it to be one of the most sustainable (i.e., least "auto-dependent") cities in the developed world.

What the Swedish researchers failed to note in their 1998 presentation, but faithfully recorded in their full paper, was that Halle-Neustadt was only "sustainable" during the socialist period. When Germany reunified, many residents moved out, and those who stayed bought cars so that auto ownership "reached nearly the level of western Germany." Naturally, this created major congestion and parking problems: "The cars are parked everywhere -- on pavements, bike-ways, yards and lawn." The Swedes feared that proposed construction of new parking garages would "undermine" the "planning concept of concentrating the parking places on the city's outskirts." (See page 263 of The Vanishing Automobile for a somewhat greater discussion of the Stockholm paper.)

[These days] the apartment buildings range from reconstructed to totally abandoned. According to various web sites on the city, Halle-Neustadt's population peaked at 94,000 in 1990 but since has fallen to 60,000. After reunification, the apartments were privatized and are now owned by various housing companies. These companies have successfully lobbied the federal government to fund the demolition of unneeded buildings, and more than two dozen high-rises in Halle-Neustadt are scheduled for destruction. Yet the population of east German cities is declining so fast that demolition cannot keep up: despite numerous demolitions, the region is expected to have even more vacant housing in 2010 than it does today.

Where did all the people go? Many found jobs in western Germany; since reunification, east Germany has lost more than 1.25 million people. But many of those who stayed got away from the slabs by moving to suburbs of new duplexes and single-family homes. Wendell and I did not have to search very far to find such suburbs, mostly added onto existing villages. But well away from any village, in the middle of farmlands, we found several big-box stores, including a home improvement center, a furniture store, and a hypermart.

Today no one in Germany refers to such suburbs as "monotonous." This term is instead reserved for the grey slabs of concrete that most people are abandoning as fast as they can. Throughout Europe, high-rise apartments are increasingly becoming ghettos for Muslim and other foreign "guest workers." While the houses shown above are admittedly smaller than ones found in modern American suburbs, the Germans are fast catching up. A little further from Halle we found a suburban village that included many large homes with large backyards.

By 1980, research by Northwestern University economist Edwin Mills had thoroughly discredited the hypothesis that more compact cities would have less congestion and air pollution because people would be more likely to walk and ride transit. That didn't stop the U.S. House of Representatives from holding hearings titled Compact Cities: A Neglected Way of Conserving Energy. In 1996, compact cities were tied to sustainability in a book titled, Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form?

Which brings us full circle to 1998 when University of Stockholm researchers tell an international group of planners that Halle-Neustadt is one of the most sustainable cities on earth -- knowing full well (but not mentioning) that the prerequisite for Hanoi's sustainability was keeping its residents poor and oppressed.

While I don't seriously equate urban planners with communists, the similarities between the Ideal Communist City and smart growth are far more numerous than their differences. As the table below shows, both seek to use planning to create a sense of community and promote collective rather than individual transportation. Beyond the superficial difference that the soviets preferred high rises and smart growth prefers mid rises, the main difference is that the communists tried to put everyone in identical small apartments while smart growth allows people to have as big a house or apartment as they can afford, but just tries to get them to build those houses on small lots.

Though they publicly claim they want to reduce congestion, most smart-growth plans admit they seek to increase congestion to encourage people to use transit. Though they publicly claim to worry about affordable housing, smart-growth plans drive up land and housing costs with the hidden agenda of encouraging people to live in multifamily housing or at least on tiny lots.

Planners call this giving people more "choices"; what they mean is forcing people to accept lifestyles that they would not choose for themselves. How is this fundamentally any different from the philosophy of the Ideal Communist City?

More here


Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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