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Global Metro Summit : Saskia Sassen

In response to my previous informal overview of the Global Metro Summit I was delighted to receive a comment from one of my favorite panelists. To ensure that it is not buried at the bottom of that very long post, I promote it here so others can find it.

I had written:

Saskia Sassen of Columbia University took issue with [Deutsche Bank CEO Josef] Ackermann’s enthusiasm for carbon markets by stating she is “totally against carbon trading.”

She responded to that post with the following clarification:

Michael Vitali: really liked the way you synthesized the metro event.
thanks for picking up on my critique of carbon-TRADING. Let me add the other half of this assertion of mine. We need far more than just moving the damage around: and in that sense cities and metro areas become strategic spaces for implementing actual carbon-REDUCING measures. There are other such strategic interventions: the protection of forests, eliminating plastic bags, etc. What is especially important about the city and the metro region is that we can begin to implement a very broad range of good practices: from localizing all kinds of productions rather than importing from far away, to using new scientific discoveries that allow us to use the biosphere rather than chemicals made in factories.

saskia sassen

Agreed, carbon reduction is much more important that reallocation. This leads to another question that is more social than physical: is there a way for us to make such localized urban efforts more culturally attractive? Can the localvore food and architectural sustainability movements act as analogs for reframing all sorts of other economic enterprises as not only virtuous, but sexy and cool?

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