Journalist McKenzie Funk is an adventurer, as much in his intellectual pursuits as in his taste for sport. He would rather climb a 26,000-foot mountain than hang with the press corps. So it is with his new book, “Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming,” which recounts myriad efforts to cash in on climate change. An absurd display of Canadian militarism first piqued Funk’s interest in the topic. In 2006, he found himself aboard the Canadian frigate HMCS Montréal as it surged toward the Northwest Passage.
Many new products promise to address consumption-related woes. Yet many of these products fall short of promises, creating a false sense of absolution and at times exacerbating other associated problems. In order to meaningfully address overconsumption, these products would, paradoxically, have to actually reduce primary consumption.
For a long time, the environmentalists’ mantra was Thoreau’s declaration, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Increasingly, however, environmentalists have become preoccupied by the concrete jungle: the city, dressed in glass, concrete, and steel. The city’s importance can’t be over-stated, because half the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and because the city consumes for more than 75 percent of resources, worldwide. In some parts of the world cities are growing rapidly; in others they are losing population and falling into disrepair. Yet, cities everywhere are being forced to reimagine themselves due to variability in population and climate. The way they do so will have massive consequences for our communities and collective ecological resilience.