Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Pushing the planet to its limit

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Vancouver Sun May 7, 2007

Gateway project, sprawling suburbs widen the province’s ecological footprint, says UBC planning professor

by Maurice Bridge

University of British Columbia Prof. Bill Rees, the man who coined the term “ecological footprint,” still tries to keep his own footprint as small as possible, but he says no one can do it alone.

He uses a grim analogy to make his point: North Americans may use a disproportionate amount of the world’s resources, but if we push the planet beyond its sustainable limits, we will all go down together, just the way the first-class cabins on the Titanic went to a watery grave just as quickly as the steerage cabins.

I should point out the although we share a surname we are not related. But we do share a view

“In our province, we have the ludicrous Gateway project, basically oriented to expanding our capacity as a trading nation, i.e., to increase our eco-footprint. By redirecting funds that should be going into transit, we’re building more roads, bridges and other things for automobiles.

“The silly notion that because cars won’t be idling, they’ll be reducing their greenhouse-gas emissions is nonsense. There’ll be more cars, and in about three months, we’ll be jammed up and more cars will be idling than now.”

Exactly, Bill. Thank you for that. I could not have put it better myself. 

Written by Stephen Rees

May 7, 2007 at 6:17 pm

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