By Andrew Ross
Phoenix, Arizona is one in every of America's quickest growing to be metropolitan areas. it's also its least sustainable one, sprawling over 1000 sq. miles, with a inhabitants of 4 and a part million, minimum rainfall, hot warmth, and an insatiable urge for food for unrestrained progress and unrestricted estate rights.
In Bird on Fire, eminent social and cultural analyst Andrew Ross specializes in the customers for sustainability in Phoenix--a urban within the bull's eye of worldwide warming--and additionally the stumbling blocks that stand within the manner. such a lot authors writing on sustainable towns examine areas like Portland, Seattle, and manhattan that experience first-class public transit platforms and comparatively excessive density. yet Ross contends that if we can't swap the sport in fast-growing, low-density towns like Phoenix, the entire stream has an important challenge. Drawing on interviews with two hundred influential residents--from kingdom legislators, city planners, builders, and eco-friendly enterprise advocates to civil rights champions, strength lobbyists, sunlight marketers, and group activists--Ross argues that if Phoenix is ever to turn into sustainable, it is going to happen extra via political and social switch than via technological fixes. Ross explains how Arizona's more and more xenophobic immigration legislation, science-denying legislature, and growth-at-all-costs company ethic have perpetuated social injustice and environmental degradation. yet he additionally highlights the confident adjustments taking place in Phoenix, particularly the Gila River Indian Community's winning fight to win again its water rights, possibly transferring assets clear of new housing advancements to generating fit neighborhood nutrients for the folks of the Phoenix Basin. Ross argues that this victory could function a brand new version for the way eco-friendly democracy can paintings, redressing the claims of these who've been aggrieved in a manner that creates long term merits for all.
Bird on Fire bargains a compelling tackle one of many urgent problems with our time--finding pathways to sustainability at a time whilst governments are dismally failing their accountability to deal with weather swap.
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Additional resources for Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City
In turn, those not directly responsible for the exploitation resent having to pay taxes to clean up or mitigate its harmful impact. At the same time, all parties thrive on the artiﬁcially low price of scarce resources like water and nonrenewable energy that are heavily subsidized to hide their true environmental costs. The metropolis of Phoenix, an antitax stronghold, was a case in point. ” A suitable pop analogy would be with the Road Runner cartoons (whose backdrop was the Sonoran Desert landscape) in which Wile E.
22 The result has been a society that depends on a vast federal plumbing system that moves water hither and thither, regardless of where it would naturally ﬂow. ” But the long-term ecological degradation caused G A M B L I N G A T T H E WA T E R T A B L E [ 31 ] by the plumbing has also given rise to the perception that many of the big cities in the region are mistakes, and that they should never have held large numbers of people in the ﬁrst place. 23 But American farming had itself long been an act of land speculation, and there was no reason to think that the West would be an exception.
When we talk about sustainability we talk about decision-making. Nothing just happens. ” Although it was by no means certain that a centralized chieﬂy authority would have made wiser decisions, his point about what could be learned from the rise and fall of the Hohokam was that the future of Phoenix would not be strictly determined by its limited resources but rather by whether its residents could cooperate and wisely interact with each other in order to stave oﬀ the most dire outcomes. [ 28 ] Bird on Fire Bostwick’s take on the Hohokam story echoed scholarship that focused on the resilience of societies in the face of long-term decline, or in their regeneration after a collapse.
Bird on Fire: Lessons from the World's Least Sustainable City by Andrew Ross