Wednesday, July 2, 2008

think forward

My husband and I watched a documentary last night called "The End of Suburbia." Our interest was originally piqued by this article:

This is all unsurprising to me, having gotten into sustainability while studying architecture in college. It all started with a professor who urged the use of natural light and ventilation when designing buildings. Then he encouraged me and a few others in my year to take some upper-division interdisciplinary courses on sustainable development. It blew my mind and started changing the way I thought...on more than architecture. My husband and I both did study abroad in Europe before we knew each other, and both experienced the European way of development and daily living. It was so much less stressful to get around, we spent more time connecting with friends and experiencing culture firsthand, and both got healthy from not being in cars so much. I ended up doing my thesis project on the strip mall development formula, how it is marginalizing the population in favor of consumerism, and then showed that the healthiest development to support the economy and living was a return to the planning and design principals developed in Europe.

So I get it: suburban development is socially unhealthy and economically shortsighted.

This documentary was made 4 years ago but seems as if it's responding to today's headlines. It features many prominent speakers, writers, and the Mitchell Energy CEO, who are all in front-row seats as we approach the impending and unavoidable consumption crisis. For the record, global warming was mentioned once, briefly. Most of the film concentrated on how much energy and raw resources we use to support our daily lives...and how that can't continue.

Now, they aren't a bunch a fanatics preaching about doomsday. Trust me, those people bug me. These are writers and researchers who are urging the public to WAKE UP and take control of the wheel. It was quite scary to hear them talking about how foreclosures would increase and people would rush back into the urban centers, and how crazy it will be when gas reaches $4 per gallon....we're there, people.

We're excited to watch the newest documentary from the same producer, "Escape From Suburbia," which was released on Netflix's Instant Viewing yesterday. In the meantime, we've been talking about how we can look forward to a time when energy and materials are much more will we live?

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