I'm exploring the challenge facing the next generation: how to live well with climate change. I want to help people figure out how to worry less about being greener than most and work more effectively at building social consensus.
Quick Takes on a Slow Crisis
Articles in the New York Times, Fortune, the Atlantic CityLab and elsewhere home in on the essential factor that can make communities more resilient to climate-related panic: open democracy.
These pieces crystallize complex systems science and clarify intricate engineering in buildings, cities, oyster reefs and schools. At times, they venture into global politics. Most recently, I wrote to professionals in a world-changing network of coworking space about how to take carbon seriously from their desks.
You will look in vain for brimstone in these stories. At these pieces’ heart, you can find people using their wits and instincts to find other people and forge partnerships that make life more nourishing amid uncertainty.
As sea levels and temperatures rise, so will anger and superstition. Ecologically literate folks generally can stand to grow more literate in how humans can work together amid competing claims. I'm gathering data from teaching and the field under a rubric I call Getting Warmer. It seems so far productive to sharpen storytelling, rhetorical and social tools for fostering civic skill through public life.
Where does the American mania for extra space meet the American ethic of public life? Well, lots of places, but with special vividness on Manhattan's Lower East Side. This is the launchpad for last century's immigrants, the evidence for midcentury misguided public housing, and the site for this century's most ambitious project to protect cities from rising seas. It's also the neighborhood my grandparents escaped and the one my family cherishes as a community.
I'm always reassessing articles I've written (most recently in Newsweek) and tours I've led to showcase this neighborhood. Logical flows from the constant human desire for freedom and need for others come together to yield new claims, new designs and new inequities. I'm out for new chances for peaceful democracy- even as climate change presses all of us closer together.