An assistant professor of urban planning at UCLA argues in the far-left magazine The Nation that California is doomed as long as people keep owning homes. “If we want to keep cities safe in the face of climate change, we need to seriously question the ideal of private homeownership,” says Kian Goh, who researches urban ecological design, “spatial politics” and social mobilization “in the context of climate change and global urbanization.”I was once in a huge project meeting with a bunch of scientists, including some state managers, and one of them got up and told us we had to break the idea that people owned their own shore line property.
Goh considers it “news” rather than fevered speculation that “we may only have a dozen years to contain global warming,” as shown by destructive California wildfires in recent months and “precautionary power shutoffs” by utility companies.
Proposed solutions, including a public takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric, are missing one of the most important factors in climate change-driven destruction, Goh warns: “economic development, aspirations of home ownership, and belief in the importance of private property.”
To prevent catastrophe, Americans must reconsider their ideas about “success, comfort, home, and family,” particularly the single-family homes that followed in the wake of the Homestead Act of 1862 and federally backed mortgage insurance, the professor argues.
These policies benefited white middle-class families and “became synonymous with freedom and self-sufficiency” even though they represented “[e]xpansionist, individualist, and exclusionary patterns of housing.”
You can’t support poorer people if you continue to insist that home ownership is a core American value, according to Goh, who fumes that even the state’s progressive governor Gavin Newsom is only talking about “hardening” structures against fire: “Any suggestion that we might discourage rebuilding on privately owned land is promptly tamped down.”
Two things are clear to the professor: “Cheap energy is untenable in the face of climate emergency. And individual homeownership should be seriously questioned.”
And it's not just your private property they're after, it's democracy, since people won't vote for their policies, FT: “Democracies are ill-suited to deal with climate change”
Another green attack on Democracy; According to the Financial Times, giving ordinary people a say over public policy impedes climate action, because we don’t care enough about other people’s problems.Enironmental watermelons, green on the outside, red on the inside.
Democracies are ill-suited to deal with climate changeI’m glad a climate action advocate has finally gotten the message the Greta effect only works on people who already believe. When this message filters through to the top, we might see less of her.
It is tempting to say the problem is too abstract but the focus should be on the economy
Harrowing images of Australian bushfires and Californian wildfires should be blowing a hole in such complacency. But they also crystallise how hard it is for democracies to mobilise public action. If images of Sydney enshrouded in smoke, or Napa Valley in flames, cannot arouse the voter’s imagination, what will? Those hoping the world’s wealthiest countries will take more of a lead on climate change must confront three hard truths.
The first is that politicians struggle to look beyond the electoral cycle. It is hard enough for a government to invest in education, which can take years to show results. It is that much more difficult to take unpopular actions to reduce carbon dioxide output that might take generations to bear fruit, and even then go unrecognised.
And their predictions are wrong: Glacier National Park quietly removed ‘Gone by 2020’ signs in 2019—Update