OK – I said I was going to take a break from blogging on climate change, but Mary-Jayne Rust has come back with some important comments which deserve an airing and a compassionate response. No pictures on this one, but I’ll think of something for the response above…
Mary-Jayne writes: You compare the two living spaces in Beijing and ask: Where honestly would you like to live?
I’m not sure it’s so straightforward for me. I suspect there was probably far more community in the Hutongs. So while much has been gained materially, I suspect much has been lost in human relations.
I completely understand them choosing the modern option, but while this may seem a good swap right now, I wonder what they will feel when there is no more fuel to run the VW in the garage or to heat the new houses. Perhaps in many cases the old dwellings might then seem more desirable. In Mongolia people are moving out of the city back into a nomadic existence, living in yurts, precisely because they realise what has been lost in urban life.
My honest choice NOW would be “the third way”, not old-style Hutongs nor modern flats, but carbon-zero communities where we can survive the oncoming onslaught as best we can.
It’s a great great shame that the Chinese who have the vision to build the new eco-cities were not also the planners of zero-carbon Hutongs in Beijing with roofs upon which they can grow vegetables….and so on.
No, I would have no desire to live in those soulless modern flats. I do understand why people chose that, but it’s sad, even criminal, to have been so misled by western ideals.
Now, onto another strand of this discussion.
We agree on Lovelock’s prediction that human beings will be radically reduced in numbers. Are you still of the opinion that humankind is finished? I suspect so.
As you know, I don’t agree that we can be so definite. I think our differences are probably based on our different attitudes to science. While it’s a fantastic tool, I don’t believe that science can see the whole picture.
I don’t think (concludes Mary-Jayne) I’m in denial about the reality of what we are in – just that we have different perspectives on it. It would be good to respect our differences of opinion as I suspect we will not persuade each other out of them!