Forgetting the air about you: losing perspective on the environment

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beyond the mountains there are mountains. – Haitian saying

a problems got a problem til it’s gone… – Russell Tyrone Jones

As a part of the lead up to the World Urban Form in Naples, Italy this September, the National Building Museum hosted an excellent series of dialogues covering forum topics. I attended one dialogue entitled Urban Mobility, Energy & Environmental Sustenance.

I thought it was a fabulous discussion until a colleague pointed out to me that there was no conversation concerning the environment, yet there hanging off end of the title was the term “Environmental Sustenance.” (I’m assuming that Environmental Sustenance simply means making energy used for urban mobility sustainable.) Why was this missing?

No one (myself and my colleague included) brought it up during the question and answer session, and we, like the speakers, knew the name of the session was Urban Mobility, Energy & Environmental Sustenance, yet no one mentioned the omission. Thinking to past events, symposium, meetings, and even classes  I’ve attended I can recall similar oversights.

An unsustainable thing will end itself; the nature of its existence will destroy the system that sustains it (Safina, 2012). If we are going to somehow replace cheap fossil fuels with something sustainable, we’ll need to better understand how. No society is sustainable if the energy that drives it is not renewable. The most important aspect of sustainability is how to link energy use to the ecological services that sustain its use.

The mountains aren’t going anywhere.

ECPA Urban Planning Initiative posts on similar a topic:
Development work
Sustainable economic development
The World Bank Eco2 Cities Initiative: Ecological Cities as Economic Cities



Safina, C. (April 4, 2012). Sustainable seafood? Interview by Kojo Nnamdi. Retrieved from: