Saturday, February 24, 2007

Environmental Hysteria: The Radical Agenda Of The Proponents Of "New Urbanism"

One of the newest entrants to Alaska's political blogging community decided to write a brief post on "New Urbanism". The Alaska State Politics blog, which appears to blog from the right-of-center politically, mentioned "New Urbanism" within the context of a recent Anchorage Daily News article which described some of our parking problems downtown as a result of simultaneous construction of the new convention center AND expansion of the museum.

My curiosity piqued, I Googled "New Urbanism", and amongst the results was a website which appears to be authored by those who conceived the idea of "New Urbanism". The website is, but their premise and agenda are anything but new. New Urbanists appear to be elitists who presume a preferential role in determining how the rest of use will live, work, eat, sleep, recreate, and, in particular, transport ourselves, because we supposedly have an environmental crisis so grave that we ordinary mortals can no longer be trusted to do these things without rigorous supervision and oversight. Of course, when the Anchorage Municipal Assembly passed two anti-smoking ordinances, a bicycle-helmet ordinance, and a sign ordinance within the past six years, they propelled us slowly in that direction. So the agenda of the New Urbanists no longer seems as radical as it would have been six years ago. We, the frogs, jumped into the pot of water while it was still cold, and we've failed to notice that the water is warming up.

But don't take my word for it. Read the New Urbanist agenda for yourself.

The Ten Solutions presented below are the most effective way to deal with Global Warming and Peak Oil - both of which are extremely serious, and coming at us at the same time. The leading experts (scientists, planners, Defense Department officials, State Department officials, oil industry leaders, corporate CEOs, Wall Street leaders, etc) all say we need to act quickly, and in a big way to avert disaster. We need to cut our oil addiction by 70-80% as quickly as possible. The only way to accomplish this is with a rapid conversion of our major systems (transportation, energy, agriculture, production, etc.) away from oil and inefficiency, into renewables and sustainability. Our 10 solutions presented below point the way.

This is not political, it is our moral obligation to take serious action now to prevent disaster, and save the planet. We are all in this together, all people of the world! "We face a planetary emergency"

The urgency with which we need to act cannot be overstated. We need to adopt a crash mitigation program with the total participation of the American public like we had with WWII Victory Gardens, the technological focus of the Apollo Moon program, the scale of the US Interstate Highway program, and the urgency of the Manhattan project. Here is our proposal for reducing our oil use, and dealing with this emergency:


We are facing the most serious environmental crises in the history of the planet:
- Global Warming and climate change threaten the survival of the human race
- Peak Oil - World oil supplies are running out while our oil use is increasing rapidly
- Energy Security - Increasing global conflicts over the remaining oil -- "It's a fight to the last drop"
- Traffic congestion is rapidly paralyzing America and the rest of the world while wasting millions of gallons of gas daily
- Out of control sprawl is devouring prime farmlands and pristine wilderness areas, and creating the massive traffic congestion

While these situations seem impossible to solve, these 10 solutions solve all these problems at once:

Ten solutions that are feasible, sustainable, safe, and healthy:

1. An immediate and permanent moratorium on all new major road construction and expansions (every additional dollar spent building and widening roads digs us deeper into our dangerous oil/auto addiction, and increases global warming). [Ed. Note: The use of the phrase "immediate and permanent moratorium" is another sign of extremist hysteria.

2. A huge increase in funding for Amtrak, and the rapid construction of a new nationwide train network. This should connect every city, town, and neighborhood with an efficient, state-of-the-art electric train network comparable to what is currently operating all across Europe and Japan. This should be built to transport both passengers and all the cargo now moved by very inefficient trucks. Trains are by far the most energy efficient form of transportation that greatly reduces global warming, saves lives, and encourages compact, walkable communities. [Ed. Note: Comparing America to Europe/Japan is like comparing apples to oranges. Europe and Japan have the more uniformly dense populations which are necessary to sustain mass transit with the hope of profitability. The only place in America where a significant amount of passenger rail transit persists is along the densely-populated Northeast Corridor, where, because of pre-boarding bureaucracy at airports, it can take as long to fly from New York to Washington as it can to travel by train. Mass transit requires a densely-packed population base to thrive.]

3. An immediate moratorium on the building of any additional sprawl. Sprawl is probably the single largest contributor to oil addiction and global warming due to its very design (or lack thereof). Sprawl forces everyone to drive many miles daily for everything, which in turn requires constant road expansions, encouraging more cars and driving, and more sprawl. It's a vicious cycle consuming ever more oil, and spewing out more pollution, making global warming continually worse. [Ed. Note: Mass immigration and forced diversity make our cities cultrually uninhabitable to many, encouraging sprawl. Much sprawl is generated by predominantly white people moving away from diversity. Why doesn't society's elites permit serious discussion on why so many white people want to move away from diversity?]

4. A major focus of federal, state, and local governments on New Urbanism and Transit Oriented Development - the revitalization and densification of all existing cities and towns across America into walkable, mixed-use communities, with pedestrians and bicycles given top priority over automobiles, and a serious focus on bicycles and trains as the major forms of transportation. Included would be millions of affordable housing units and high quality neighborhood schools located so all children can walk or bike to them. [Ed. Note: In most cases, this type of gentrification removes the working class and makes housing unaffordable to them. How many people who live in $35,000 mobile homes can afford to trade them in on $200,000 condos or co-ops?]

5. The rapid tripling of minimum vehicle miles per gallon standards for all vehicles produced in America - accomplished by a quick and complete conversion of all automobile manufacturing facilities to the building of only hybrid, solar, and fully electric vehicles. Government car purchases made each year should be switched to buying only hybrids and fully electric cars. It is estimated that the entire U.S. government purchases well over a million new vehicles each year - the sum total of Federal, State, & Local Government agencies, municipalities, counties, highway patrol, sheriff, police and fire departments, etc. The real solution is to eventually stop making cars altogether by a phased retooling of the auto industry into manufacturing trains (much like during the second world war when they switched to building military equipment). [Ed. Note: These are people who obviously hate cars. Private transportation is too thoroughly ingrained in our culture to get people to give it up.]

6. An immediate and permanent moratorium on all new airport construction and expansions, as well as an end to all aviation subsidies. In addition, an end to oil industry subsidies. [Ed. Note: Considering the windfall profits earned by the oil companies, we can certainly reduce their subsidies. However, their call for a moratorium on airport construction and expansion will make air travel available only to the elite who can afford it. Another way to create a plantation world and disenfranchise ordinary people]

7. An immediate moratorium on the construction of any new coal fired or nuclear power generating plants. Contrary to industry proponents who say nuclear is a "clean energy" solution to global warming - nuclear power is far from clean. The waste it produces is the most toxic substance known to humankind, remaining deadly radioactive for many thousands of years, with no safe way to store or dispose of it, and no way of preventing it from being made into weapons. [Ed. Note: France is proof to the contrary - much of their energy is derived from nuclear power, and they've had no "Chernobyls".]

8. The rapid construction of massive new solar and wind power generating capacity all across America, from large-scale installations to smaller neighborhood and roof-top units. Also, the immediate installation of new hydropower generating capacity in the form of coastal wave and tidal energy capture. [Ed. Note: Before it becomes "rapid", it must be affordable.]

9. The rapid installation of full roof solar panels on every building in America. [Ed. Note: This would work best only in areas that do not regularly receive snow in the winter.]

10. The installation of hundreds of acres of organic farms throughout every city and town in America. In addition to this, the planting of millions of trees across America. [Ed. Note: This is desirable and doable, but they must be the right type of trees, For example, one does not plant water-hogs like cottonwoods in areas subject to arid climates.]


-The $400 billion + spent so far on the Iraq war could have paid for a lot of this (experts
predict this war will end up costing over $1 trillion)
-A portion of the $430 billion United States annual defense budget
-The hundreds of billions spent annually on road construction
-The hundreds of billions currently spent on airport expansions
-The hundreds of billions spent on constructing nuclear and coal fired power plants
-The $300 billion each year spent subsidizing the oil industry
-A new 'waste tax' imposed on waste and inefficiency
-A new carbon tax on the burning of fossil fuels

"There is no more debate. We face a planetary emergency. The phrase sounds shrill but it is an accurate description of the climate crisis that we have to confront and solve." --Al Gore

Note: Also review the expected Ten Principles and Four Benefits of New Urbanism. The proposed rewrite of Title 21 (the "land use Bible") of the Anchorage Municipal Code incorporates many aspects of New Urbanism.

Analysis: The common denominator throughout this whole missive is hysteria. By using the term "planetary emergency", these people seek to quash debate in advance. Chicken Little is running amok.

There's no debate that global warming is taking place. Glaciers and icecaps are tangibly shrinking. The contraction of permafrost layers in Interior Alaska is causing homes to start tilting at crazy angles. However, what's debatable is how much human activities are contributing to it, and whether the contributions are sufficient to justify the draconian, totalitarian measures suggested by the New Urbanists. Many scientists of a multitude of disciplines suggest that the earth's history is characterized by alternating warming and cooling cycles. How did Greenland get its name? Because the Vikings who first landed there 1,000 years ago found a "green" land. This implies global warming was taking place at that time. However, the warming cycle became supplanted by a cooling cycle, and so Greenland became considerably less "green".

Consequently, this current bout of global warming may be a natural cycle enhanced by human activities. But let's get a better handle on the magnitude of human activities before we allow the New Urbanists to start transforming our cities into dense-packed concentration camps and herding all of humanity therein. And to determine the magnitude of human contributions to global warming requires DEBATE. The world will not become a cinder tomorrow if we delay. Remember Paul Ehrlich and his so-called "Population Bomb"? It never exploded. Scientists have been wrong before and can be wrong again.

Like the political elites, the restrictions advocated by these people will discriminate against the working class and middle class. It will result in the transformation of this entire world into a global plantation, where a handful of elites will be able to live, eat, work, and travel the way they want, while the vast majority are penned up in "new cities", effectively unable to travel at will or live where they want. This will by far transcend the dreams of the old Soviets, who tried to transform Russia into such a society. Both 1984 and Animal Farm will come to life in an Orwellian orgy of oppression.

And New Urbanism has not effectively solved one of the same old problems - crime. In Bedfordshire, United Kingdom, crime continues to persist because residents do not defend public property as vigorously as private property, and New Urbanism places a premium on common ownership. New Urbanism bucks head-on against one of the oldest, most fundamental human instincts - territoriality. People simply are not as protective of that which is not theirs as they are of that which is theirs.

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