THE BLOG
06/09/2006 01:52 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Brave New (Urban) World

It sure is cool to have James Kunstler around these parts. Sure, he can be rough and nasty, but that's the way the United States likes things these days. Just remember the media overload for 6/6/6 or take a trip through our malls and screens filled with horrorcore the likes of which even hip-hop's mighty Gravediggaz couldn't conjure. It sure as hell wouldn't take The Man Who Fell to Earth long to realize that this century's America loves its violence, virtual and otherwise.

But Kunstler can also play nice, as his recent post on the New Urbanism movement proved. Sure, he still calls out America's "infotainment-fueled sleepwalk" into extinction, but just because he's a raving Cassandra doesn't mean he's far off. Ask Al Gore and Laurie David about that one. Or a healthy swath of the respected scientific community, including the ones that Bush likes to ignore while golfing with fatcats from Exxon, Enron and Evil Empires of all stripes. (Saudi Arabia, that sucking sound you hear is an extinction of your own making.) Or...well, anyone who isn't a global warming hater, a shrinking contingency by the minute.

Yeah suckers, laugh if you want. But like a great American poet once sang, it doesn't take a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing. And it's blowing right up in your face, hotter than ever, and that's just the tip, lame pun intended, of the iceberg. Sri Lanka and New Orleans, sinking fast, recognize. So will you. Some day.

But don't trip. Here's the thing: Environmentalism by definition is inclusive, because inherent in its worldview is the irrefutable fact that we are all connected, by fiber optics, by atoms, by gravity, by whatever. Which means we are all going to be environmentalists one day. Not convinced? Then take a peek at E2: The Economies of Being Environmentally Conscious, another much-needed foray into the enviro-doc game, this time courtesy of the the conscientious production team Kontent Real. Design:E2, the first installment of the series, takes on a burgeoning green architecture scene aiming hopefully towards sustainable development. A six-episode program, it examines how China, New York and other global powerhouses are striving to design mind-blowing buildings, from Steven Holl's Linked Hybrid Project in Beijing to Rick Cook and Bob Fox's One Bryant Park in New York and onward, that harness the planet's water, air and other gifts.

Plus, it's narrated by Brad Pitt, so it's as interested in recruiting mallrats as it is in relaxing green purists who have been tracking our resource wars for longer than you or I. Best of all, Design:E2 is visually compelling with its heart naked on its sleeve. Translation: It isn't your everyday PBS snoozer.

But it matters not, the Green Revolution will be televised, one way or another. Because no matter what the skeptics and haters say, the climate is changing. And some of those haters -- including William Gray, Colorado State's so-called forecasting visionary who has gone on record proclaiming that global warming will go down as one of the "greatest hoaxes ever" -- are saying pretty crazy stuff. Gray himself bets we're due for a cooldown in a decade or so. Anyone want to take that bet with me? Send Gray a wager he can't refuse. We can throw a massive party in America's drowned cities to celebrate their lack of foresight.

Look, we're all tired. That's no secret. It's also no excuse, and people are beginning to stop using it as one. Americans have been battered by so many grifters, liars and people who aren't actually politicians that they're beginning to believe just about anything. Which is why officialdom wants you to keep buying, commuting, drilling, warring, polluting and pretending that it won't one day come back to bite you in the ass.

Of course, they know it will, but they'll have skipped town with your money and power long before you find out.