Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Big Cities, Empty Spaces and the Whole Earth

In 1966, Stuart Brand was hanging around with Ken Kesey--together they helped create the countercultural revolution we pretty much take for granted.

He went on to create the Whole Earth Catalog. It was a fringe document then. Now it is widely regarded as foundational to a rather popular notion called "environmentalism."

He has a couple of other items on his resume: the concept for (not the invention of) the Internet is one. But let's stick to environmentalism.

Brand is not a romantic, live-off-the-land advocate. He claims to be in favor of big cities and empty hinterlands. He claims to be in favor of well-regulated nuclear power.

I have long been against what I call FreeSprawl: the destruction of native habitat for lawns and pools; and in favor a concentrated, mass-transit-oriented population. The bigger (considering our population pressures), the better.

I may take some convincing on nuclear power. But it sounds like a much more viable solution than trying to convince everyone to use paper bags instead of plastic, or to freeze up north in the winter.

Keep it coming, Stuart.