“The naked truth about a world class city: Letter to a friend”. This is from an anti-overpopulation/growth site and is a letter from a former Vancouver (Canada) resident about how his city is being ruined by growth and development. I found these observations meaningful:
The other incident took place the very first time I came into Vancouver. I hit a wall of freeway traffic, arrived at the clinic, sat down. Then along comes this woman in her late twenties. She’s wearing high-heels and those sickly long painted finger-nails. Yep. This must be Vancouver alright. These women by their dress and their cosmetics betray the fact that they are totally cut off from nature. Quadra women garden, hike, kayak and chop wood. Their clothes are functional and they have little time for fashion statements. Vancouver is a space ship. A bubble with its own environment. And the woman who sat across from me at the clinic is typical of the millions who are feeding the consumer economy with their addictive shopaholicism.
My sad impression of this growing cancerous necropolis is that it will not be stopped until its host – the environment – dies. The people who live there are sleep-deprived, workaholic, zombies fuelled on a caffeine-overdose fully committed to their artificial lifestyle because they can’t foresee its provisional nature or imagine alternatives. We can lobby, we can educate, we can polemicize – but the great masses of Canadians we are trying to reach live in these urban fantasy worlds. What we mean by quality of life – what we know to be an authentic meaningful quality of life – has no meaning to them. When we tell them that a Canada of 40 or 50 million people would not be a pleasant place, that farmland and habitat would be lost to housing, how can that have meaning to people who don’t mind living like sardines in a sardine can, as a tenant in 12 story highrise in a forest of highrises in a city of two million? Quality of life for them is not wildlife habitat – it’s access to a Big Box store.
This description applies to virtually all cities; horrid, polluted, overcrowded, stressful environments cut off from the natural world but still dependent upon it for – and draining it of – vital resources (food, water, etc.).