The Urban Sustainable Living Future: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
Green Living. A few years ago, that tiny phrase might have initiated an article on those little extraterrestrial green guys from Mars! It’s all quite different now. My consciousness has expanded, and the term ‘green living’ now resides in its own folder on my brain’s jump drive the folder that contains the files entitled new urbanism, sustainable living community, green living tips, urban living ideas, biodegradable school buses and wind powered iPods. I’ve just uploaded a few kilobytes of new phrases this week after an unexpected joyride to Manhattan where I discovered the existence of green luxury homes and green luxury apartments! When I previously thought of green living in green homes, I must admit that I envisioned farmer Bob and his wife Nancy in Sears overalls, refueling their VW bus (with the Woodstock Festival sticker still on the back bumper) with a solar and grease powered organic garden bed and power generator. That might be a tad too reminiscent of a Little House on The Prairie episode morphed in a fever dream with one from Gilligan’s Island. But green living in a luxury home – I’m in!
Unless we want to do a disappearing act in the future, our ultimate desire is sustainable life here on a sustainable planet. That global view is often challenging to focus on because it’s difficult from week to week just sustaining yourself. You barely have enough time to accomplish getting sleep, meeting your obligations, eating well and fitting in the fun things. Life is not always a well-oiled machine. Instead it is a constant flux, a morph from one possibility to another, often as shapeless as a cloud. Sometimes you sparkle in the sunlight and empowerment to change the world abounds. Sometimes rain bursts through foggy gray in random patterns that soak and scatter all your pending plans.
It’s tricky to look into the future. What is the precedent? Do you gaze through a clear lens of positivity, or a colored filter of doom and gloominess? I try to take in the view from a vantage point somewhere in the middle, tossing practicality in the blender with chunks of reality, to pour out a smoothie that is healthy for me, without the icky medicinal aftertaste.
I believe that there has to be a thread of continuity from generation to generation because life is one big hand-me-down. As we move through future time, everything we do on the planet should be over the soundtrack of a global four ‘r’ mantra chant ‘reduce reuse recycle and rethink’.
Of all the living choices – rural, ‘burbs or urban –city life is the easiest one to disconnect from our natural habitat of nature, from our connection to the earth. Concrete, glass, tar, bricks, noise and smells all surround the small bits of grass and trees that just remain within the parks. Everyone seems to be using their Starbucks double-shot energy to propel them through their day on hard pavement, with little time for thoughts that turn to ponder sustainable living.