How easy is a greener tomorrow?

“Let us make an end of monumental, funereal and
commemorative architecture. Let us overturn monuments,
pavements, arcades and flights of steps; let us sink the streets
and squares; let us raise the level of the city,” -Antonio Sant’Elia.

The key element of futurism is to transform society into an idealistically efficient one; to get rid of the old and come in with the new. Perhaps such a radical change proposed by the two authors of futurism aren’t in any bit realistic, but the idea of progress and accepting change is one that society needs to adopt in order to make a greener tomorrow.

Technology has progressed faster than ever and we are living in a rapidly changing world, but how quickly will we ingrain sustainable lifestyles into our global human culture? The author of “Incinerators vs Zero Waste: Energy and the Climate,” proposes the realistic idea of simple tasks that can be practiced in order to make a large difference. For example, if we recycled paper, we would decrease the demand for wood and deforestation, which is responsible for 25% of carbon emissions.

Let’s not forget the fact that large corporations KiOR are building large plants that create fuels from wastes, contributing greatly to the reduction of pollution, but the impact would be incomparable to the participation of every citizen in saving the environment, starting from the community. Although this may be unrealistic, with time, political influence, the creation of incentives and the improvement of technology, we will see greater participation in the near future.

My question is this: What do we have to do incorporate recycling into our culture locally and internationally? Will it come naturally with time? Will rapid radical futurist change ever work?

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4 Responses to How easy is a greener tomorrow?

  1. Sifan Shen says:

    Promoting recycling as a lifestyle takes time. It will be a slow progress. Since more and more people are aware of the benefits of recycling, the government should start making recycling easier for citizens. For instance, recycling batteries can be a pain in the ass in NYC. Furthermore, during our recent class discussion, I noticed that none of us had recycled food waste at recycling centers because these limited recycling facilities are often far from our homes. Perhaps New York can offer waste pickup service via hotlines /online in the future.

  2. Zara Ellexi Hoffman says:

    I do not think any radical changes will steer society in the direction we are driven towards. I remember a class discussion we had regarding recycling where someone mentioned that recycling is now a way of life in most Manhattan households-of course this pattern took time before it became a steady pattern. As an Art History major, of course I appreciate art, architecture and the like, but my sense of reality plays a larger role. I am all for futuristic ideas, architecture of the future, and drastic changes to our city’s scape, however they do not seem like priorities for me. I think that part of what makes our city’s architecture so appealing is the mix of the old and the new. The fact
    that we have monumental structures-The Met for example, alongside modern infrastructure as the Guggenheim to me, makes our city exquisite in it’s aesthetic appeal. Although I commend futuristic architecture and admire the talent that these architects and artists posses, I commend our own person, futuristic initiatives more.
    To answer your question, I think that change will come in time. Change is a process and all processes by definition are made of steps.

  3. Michelle says:

    I agree with my peers in that rapid radical change is not ever likely to work. As human being we are conditioned to fear change, especially when it directly involves us having to take actions to make that change happen. We definitely have to make a conscious effort to practice a “greener” lifestyle and we need to face the urgency of our situation. As we mentioned in class before, we really do need to “normalize” this way of thinking and living and we need to make it as convenient as possible for the average Joe. We would really have to make recycling, saving paper, installing solar panels, whatever it may be, something that is uniform across all socioeconomic classes, all ages, genders, occupations. Because as long as we see it as a big threatening change, nothing is going to get done. That being said, I still hold the opinion that it is the role of government to take the first steps to making these changes. In this way, they can set an example for individual citizens to follow.

  4. rgalpern says:

    I wonder what “rapid” means in this context. Surely there is no way of installing the instant changes called for by a manifesto. But as I’ve mentioned in class, I am fascinated by how much recycling is incorporated into our daily lives, and I think that if we could do this, we could do something similar with other green practices. But as Prof. Macbride pointed out, recycling had to become a part of the government first, and is currently serviced under the department of sanitation.

    Nothing comes naturally over time, but I would hate to see the incorporation of greener tendencies in our lives limited to two categories: instant change or nothing at all. I don’t think I’ve heard this dichotomy used with any other topic before. And while it’s difficult to stay patient with all the apocalypse-like forecasts from scientists, we have to remember that change is not impossible (going back to recycling in nyc, for example), but it can’t be instant, either.

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