In chapter 15 Tom Rough shared two ways in which urban growth derive deforestation. In conjunction with Barbara Torrey’s paper, describe these two drivers and, as expert in the field, how would you advise or suggests reforms to reduce this deforestation process. Also add few lines on urbanization factors that were not mentioned in the text. (in one page). In your 2nd page, and based on Roger Keil’s research about global cities network and the research presented in class by Ronal Wall, identify the top one or two social and/or economic factors in the city that you believe highly influence, shape and derive the spatiality and inter-urban network.
Here is the article I referenced about Vancouver being a family friendly city to live in. It includes and interview with their previous chief planner.
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The main two factors that Tom Prugh emphasizes as the major contributor to deforestation are rural migrants to cities and expansion of cities into forested areas. He explains that rural migration into cities creates behavioral shifts that increase consumption. This desire for a higher level of lifestyle is reflected globally as more developing countries adopt western values and consumer behaviours. One of the biggest changes from a rural lifestyle to an urban, is the increase in meat consumption. The raising and processing of meat is a huge resource drain and creates numerous environmental issues. The land needed to raise the animals as well as the land and resources required to grow crops to feed the animals create pressure on natural resources. The slaughtering, processing and transporting of these goods is also very reliant on fossil fuels and consumable materials.
Barbara Torrey points out that it is not just eating more meat, but a general increase in consumption of food, energy and durable goods (such as washer/dryer, stove, car, etc) that happens when rural populations migrate to the cities. It could also be pointed out that housing in cities are usually constructed to house one or two people, not generations of families that live within one household. This would also increase the need for more construction materials and resources to house the urban populations.
Prugh notes that the increase in urban areas encroaches and destroys natural lands. Cites will continue to grow because of the draw of a better life, culture and social networks and the abundance of jobs. However, government and citizens can shape and influence the way that cities are being built. It was interesting that Prugh points out how the Brazilian government openly encouraged the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest to boost economy and capital; it was not just the drive of cities growing that contributed to the deforestation.
Urbanization factors that the papers did not touch on include the desires of younger generations to live a different lifestyle and cultural influences. There are benefits to living in a city that previous generations considered determinants. Cities are epicenters of diversity, entertainment, food, and music. Younger generations are seeking lifestyles that are filled with experiences, not a house in the suburbs or back in the country. Younger generations are waiting to have kids until they are older and are having fewer children which does decrease consumption and resources usage. Barbara Torrey noted in her paper that urban fertility rates are always lower than rural. Having children is a huge money, material and energy drain on the environment and also creates massive amounts of waste.
In conjunction with having fewer children some other solutions to the current negative effects of urbanization are cultural shifts away from TV, computers, cars and fast food. Icons of the American culture that drive the world towards wastefulness and consumerism. Torrey notes that many of the environmental problems caused by cities are not directly related to size of the city, but to consumption patterns.
There is also a need to integrate urban farming, urban forests and plan a better mix of urban/rural landscapes. As cities grow it is important environmentally and socially to maintain undeveloped areas of connectivity for nature. In the same sense of promoting diversity, Prugh emphasizes the need to create better agricultural systems that include numerous varieties of animals for meat that are less resource demanding. Permaculture and other innovative ways of growing food, fiber and fuel need to be brought into the forefront of our economy.
The economic and social factors that influence spatiality of the inter-urban network have shifted over the last 5o years. The biggest factor that shaped cities in the 1960’s and 1970’s was a combination of economic growth and incentive and the force of the “free-market” of the western world. The United States has a government that highly favors capitalism and corporate control over rules and regulations. Born out of this lack system of rules was the corporation’s ability to dominate national and global city structure through the creation of office spaces and manufacturing. This “formation of a global urban hierarchy” , as Keil describes it, then affected the infrastructure of cities and consequently the social fabric.
The internet was a major factor that shifted the development of global urban networks, especially over the last 20 years. Previous theories on economy and cities did not consider the current reality of a global internet fueled macro-economy. Keil notes that predictions and policies were built on idea that “national economy as the base container”. Once the internet erupted full force it became clear that capitalism was better and more powerful on an international scale.
The ability to work remotely or internationally, and the easy access of ordering goods from across the globe has changed the face of the world and cities. Keil notes that this “diasporic network” has created new patterns of urban growth. He notes that this has created a social fabric that only contains corporate elites and informalized jobs. I would argue that this has also created a third sections of jobs based on the service industry, which can be seen as an intermediate type of job. Again it seems that government and citizen direction should have a stronger voice in shaping the ability of economy to dictate our lives, cities and jobs.
Both Ronal Wall and Roger Keil emphasized that the negatives of cities can play a big part in determining how they continue to grow and improve. Political and economic instability , as well as corruption, discourage international investment into cities as well as create a danger for the global interurban network. Terrorism, disease and crime are no longer localized and the influence is felt globally. The recent outbreak of Ebola in the United States was a reminder of how globalization harm local cities. These negativities influence the economy of both international investments into business and infrastructure and local governments ability to solve pressing issues for poverty and crime.
These papers emphasized my personal theory that capitalism and consumerism are the biggest factors in creating a world that is detrimental to the environment and creates social issues. In the younger generations there is a push to move away from traditional farming to move holistic farming techniques as well as alternative forms of employment and economy. It is somewhat ironic that these new lifestyles are supported and fueled by the internet. The globalization of the world has caused a lot of negative issues, but at the same time has created opportunities and inspiration for new solutions.
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Tom Rough claims urban growth drives deforestation because of rural-urban migration and the expansion of cities into areas of natural habitat. As rural populations move to cities and their incomes increase, their consumption of food, energy and durable goods also increases. Torrey gives the example from China in 1970, where urban populations consumed twice as much pork as the rural populations who were growing the pigs. This ability to consume is exacerbated by the fact that international trade gives the population in cities access to as much food as they desire. Cities, especially in developed countries are not forced to reduce their consumption or adapt their eating habits depending on seasons or the variety of products immediately available to them. This growing separation between place of consumption and production leads to higher energy use as well, when factoring the need for year round production and transportation costs. It also puts the clearing of land for agricultural production above preservation of natural habitats. The lack of priority given to preserving natural habitats is also observed when cities must expand to accommodate growing populations, by building more housing and amenities.
I think the Internet has had significant influence on people’s understanding of the how our consumption habits can lead to deforestation and the impact that has on the earth. For example, there have been popular trends in the past few years to reduce meat consumption like the popularization of “Meatless Mondays” on social media, or the increasing popularity of locally sourced restaurants. This trend of “less is more” Is becoming more accepted especially among millennial but can also be observed among older generations that are choosing a more minimal lifestyle, by reducing consumption and recycling/selling current possessions. Ironically, this movement toward less consumption, often attracts families and older households back to cities from suburbs where they can downsize their homes and have easier access to culture, entertainment and transportation—adding to the population and aggregate consumption of cities. Additionally, I think that the suburban state of mind is very influential in the way cities expand. People are often in search of the convenience of cities, but not completely willing to give up on the lifestyle of consumption. This can be seen through New Urbanism and the lack of attempts by cities to decrease consumption patterns. For example, in some cities new housing development in barely reduced in size and no thought is given to incorporating urban farming and clean energy into new housing and mixed-use development.
Roger Keil explains how previous theories of urbanization predicted that cities would grow into metropolitan areas where transactions would be contained within its national borders. Instead, a global urban network has emerged, connected by and largely characterized by its interdependence on a multitude of factors. In the 70s and 80s, scholars understood these factors to be based on a hierarchal system made up of transnational corporation interests. These corporations had the power to influence various processes within cities, such as the spatiality of cities and housing markets. Additionally, this influenced the social fabric of cities by creating a new class alignment between an elite high earning and a low-paying segment of the economy. I think the legacy of this hierarchy has had tremendous influence on how the inter-urban network exists today.
Roger Keil then describes this inter-urban network as having less focus on transnational capital and more focus on cultural, political, and ecological networks. The connectivity between cities around the world, largely made possible by the Internet and media, allows information to flow and increases the proliferation of international trade and business outside transnational corporations. When analyzing from an international scale, this has allowed for a more leveled playing field for cities around the world, contributing to the economic growth of many developing countries. However, on a national scale, it seems as though the inequality within cities has grown.
As I mentioned before I think this is a legacy of the new class alignment created by capitalism and transitional corporations. Just as capital was kept in the hands of the elite, the factors that constitute inter-urban networks are largely accessible only to the elite in cities all over the world. I think this has major implications for whether cities will be able to grow sustainably. Sustainability has significant associations to wealth. Those who have more money can afford to eat healthier diets that often cost more money—organic vegetables and grass fed cows which are considered more sustainable have a much higher price tags. Transportation options are less available to poor people who cannot afford to live in new urban development projects that provide easy access to mass public transportation. Furthermore, low skilled jobs that provide livable wages are rarely within city lines, making the use of bikes and even public transportation impossible. Ultimately, cities are designing for sustainability with high-earners in mind and these design choices perpetuate poverty. This is changing to a certain degree. Many cities are looking to Medellin Colombia for example, due to its high success in using existing technologies to improve the lives of people in informal settlements while fostering sustainable development.
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The two determinants that Tom Rough claims are rural migration into urban and city’s expansion into natural habitats. First, when rural migrants adopt city lifestyle they tend to use more resources since their incomes rise. The most illustrative example of the resource is the meat consumption. The great meat consumption would in turn causes farmers or agriculture corporations occupy the land which could be used for other functions, to produce animal products. This land clearance could either happen in migrants’ own country or globally. Second, city dwellers increase at a surprising rate every day, and the urban land area expands at an even higher rate into natural areas. Urban expansion destroys animal habitats and impairs the biodiversity. Also, it occupies the agriculture land which is driven to clear the land of forest, which caused more deforestation than it seems like.
Barbara Torrey in her passage also claimed different consumption patterns between urban and rural areas have a big influence on the environment. Urban populations not only consume more animal products, but also more energy and dual goods than rural populations. The environmental effects of urbanization cannot be seen from a single perspective but from a multiple one so that we can make a more accurate assessment of its effects. Besides, she mentions that although urban fertility rate is lower than that of rural areas, the rural immigration and the urban increasing population still contribute to the deterioration of environment. However, the lower fertility of urban is likely to slow population growth globally while it is also likely to create some environmental problems in aggregation.
Since the environmental impact of urbanization is not a single problem of rural-urban migration, I would recommend multiple methods to slow this deforestation process. Increasing the income of rural populations is effective to reduce the gap of wealth between rural and urban areas. Most rural people who migrate to urban seek for more income to obtain more resources, fancy lifestyle and education opportunities. Therefore, there is a need to enhance the salary, fundamental facilities, school education and health care of rural areas. However, this method may not be easy to implement. The diverse population in the city provide more opportunities and ways to build intensive facilities, corporations, buildings, restaurants and hospitals, and exchange their ideas. Without enough intellectuals and funding, it may be difficult for rural areas to reduce the gap. Besides, it is hard to tell if rural populations became rich they would not follow the city lifestyle and change their consumption pattern. It seems like only through the alterations of social and cultural context this process would be reduced. When I came to America, I was impressed by the conception of recycling deeply rooted in people’ s mind and the number of vegetarians who insist a healthy and harmless diet. If people’s opinion of consuming more energy and resources could be changed by education and propaganda, they would follow the right way more conscientiously without being lured by benefit.
The urban factors not mentioned in the articles are the increasing production ability, globalization and people’s desire of engaging with others. Increasing production ability provide more resources, food, energy and building constructions for the city. Since agriculture does not need as many labor as when it used to need, people choose to work in other professions. Although Rough mentioned trans-border transactions, what is ignored is that globalization brings the ideology of urbanization across the world from developed countries.
The most important factor that Roger Keil describes in his passage is the emergence of Internet after the Cold War. The connections of all regions over the world is made possible by the Internet which also fosters the information exchange, prosperity of international trade. It allows the “interconnected geoeconomic, geocultural, geomilitary and technological transformations” (Keil). The Internet increases geographical proximities among cities and makes the similar cities lose their unique features. Meanwhile, across the interurban network the social distanciation is also increased. People tend to no longer keep close touch with their neighborhood.
The interesting part of Ronal Wall’s research is that either the investing city or the receiving city is benefited from the transnational trade. For example, Shanghai receives huge amount of investment from foreign cities so that it can develop basic facilities, corporations and attract people from other regions to work there. Why it can receive so much money is because it is the economic center of China and has completed transportation systems and enough urban land to hold those transnational companies. It gained prosperity in merely ten years, largely because of the foreign funding. I noticed London and New York are the top ranked two investing cities. Their ability to invest other cities prove their wealth, their capability to exert influence on other cities and gain from international trade. The investment diagram Ronal Wall shows which reflects the genuine cooperation and exchange between two cities, is more realistic than the diplomatic relations of two countries.
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Tom and Barbara invoked two primary reasons that urban growth drives deforestation in two ways. First, rural migrants to cities adopt city-based lifestyles; they tend to use more resources. As their incomes rise, their diets shift, and land clearance for livestock grazing and fodder accelerate. To meet the food demands of a urbanizing global population may require an additional 2.7 to 4.9 million hectares of cropland per year. For example, South Korea is 63.5 percent or 6,265,000 hectares covered in forest. Since the 1960s, the rapid urbanization and industrialization took place in Seoul, where massive population migrated.
Second, cities often expand into areas of natural habitat like forests. The urban land area is growing on average, twice as fast as urban populations. This expansion destroys wildlife habitat and threatens biodiversity. It also releases carbon stored in biomass and thereby increase atmospheric carbon concentrations. If more people migrated into forested areas, they would naturally increase pressure on resources there. For example, during a massive influx of population relocated to Seoul, South Korea in the 1960s, these people had no place to stay, so they had to settle in the mountainside and by the streams. In North Korea, from the 1980s to the 2000s, 75 percent of converted forests became croplands, and 69 percent of converted cropland came from forests. However, this study does not show the relation to urbanization or population growth.
Besides these two main drivers, I strongly agree with Barbara that urbanization affects the broader regional environment such as the runoff patterns for water. I was unsure about Barbara’s argument that bigger urban areas cause environmental problems but small cities also cause massive problems too. Her argument will be stronger by giving a solid example to support her argument. Both papers failed to include extensive analysis of satellite, demographic, and economic data to support a significant correlation between urban growth, agricultural exports, and deforestation.
As an amateur in the field, I recommend the following to mitigate this deforestation process. Be part of the new movements in forest protection such as (a) eco-forestry where selected trees are cut down and transported with minimal damage to the area; (b) green business which focuses on recycled paper and wood products and alternatives; (c) land use planning which advocates environment-friendly development techniques; (d) community forestry where citizens come together to manage and practice in keeping their local forests sustainable.
Other urbanization factors include recreational resources, cultural, educational, and health facilities. People move to cities to enjoy new leisure and cultural facilities such as museums, libraries, and art galleries. As we discussed in our class, educational facilities in towns offer a range of choice and access to education for all ages. Good health care and hospitals are usually in easy reach of city dwellers.
Roger Keil review the classic texts of global city theory to help readers understand the highly interconnected contemporary world of planetary urbanization. He reviews literature in urban studies, sociology, and geography that highlights an era when technologies (i.e., internet, Facebook, Twitter) enable planetary networks of production, distribution, and transportation. Roger emphasizes the multiple, interconnecting interurban networks that create a broad range of city to city relations, not all of them hierarchical in cultural, political, and media domains. While geographical proximities among cities and their inhabitants have increased, a social gap within towns and across an interurban network has also increased. Roger describe a rapidly urbanizing world shaped by new forms of connectivity along with new patterns of disconnection, peripheralization, exclusion, and vulnerability among and within urbanizing regions across the globe.
In Roger’s research, the internet is one of the crucial social and economic factors that influence, shape, and derive the spatiality and inter-urban network. The world has transformed through a cascade of interconnected geoeconomic, geocultural, geomilitary, and technological transformation after the Cold War. This led the world to become even more tightly connected than ever before. For example, South Korea has the fastest average internet connection speeds, and about 45 million people or 92.4 percent of the population are Internet users. The South Korean government has encouraged its citizens to use computers and cellphones to connect to the high-speed Internet by subsidizing the price of connections for low-income and traditionally unconnected people in the rural area. South Korea has Information Network Village project as an exemplary policy to reduce the technology gap between urban and rural areas and to improve inter-urban networks.
In the “Global economic Competitor” video, Ronald Wall demonstrates an approach to empirically understanding the relative position of any city within the world financial system. The method reveals thousands of cities connected to each other through foreign investments. Knowing which type of Foreign Direct Investment is good for a resilient or sustainable city, so that cities can invest into their top characteristics. Ronald talks about several social and economic factors such as productive/consumptive cities, universities, and schools, technological parks, density, diversity, connectivity between districts, transportation, cultural diversity and density, etc. Ronald emphasized that the development of ports, airports, railways, and roads creating better quality infrastructure attract investment that can potentially lead to sustainable development.
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Tom Prugh suggests that urban growth drives deforestation in at least two ways – first, through rural to urban migrations where land is converted for farming and second, through expansion of cities into forest areas. As more people get urbanized and incomes increase, their diets, and requirements change into wanting to adopt more richer diets with more animal proteins. Adopting richer diets can cause multiplying costs on the environment. With more people moving into urban areas, there is a huge change in lifestyle which does not tally well with the time-consuming process of resource generation. This often leads to an imbalance of available resources and causes strain on the market, often leading to import of resources for consumption. This also tends to put a strain on resource availability at places of resource generation as they have to satisfy the demands.
Torrey specifies a striking pattern of how the urban populations in China consumed more than twice as much pork as the rural populations who were raising the pigs on their farms. In addition to this, urban areas also tend to consume durable goods like gas, TV, washers, etc. This consumption is a function of comfortable living, incomes and household structures. The energy consumption patterns of urban dwellers also tend to put a strain on the resource availability and cause harmful environmental effects.
Many of these seem to be a direct impact of what Prough calls the “wealth effect”. For whatever reason it is that the rural population moves to the urban areas, the key driver for this migration remains the hope and expectation of higher incomes. How do we control the increase in strain on resources that have come as a result of rural-urban migration? Equipping the rural population with skills and creating jobs for better livelihood could create a self-sustaining model of development for people in the rural areas. This reduction in income differences between the rural and urban could control the number of people wanting to move from the rural to the urban and this, in turn, could control the need of added resources to sustain life in the urban areas. Deforestation due to urbanization can be controlled by changing lifestyle trends of the urban population. When in India, I have faced food shortages and sometimes the market prices of some food items (tomato in recent times) would be so high that indirectly, consumption is controlled and people resort to using alternative products or eliminate using it in their diets at all, thereby releasing the strain on its production. Coming from a developing country where resources availability is also a matter of ‘can you afford it’ is also probably a method of controlling urban resource usage. But it seems to be an unhealthy way to control resource usage as cities tend to contain people of mixed incomes and mixed diets and of not many benefits probably in developed countries who seem to be consuming the most resources without putting much thought into ‘where is my food coming from’. Educating the urban population of environmental impacts or health benefits of certain lifestyles is another possible way to control this issue.
Roger Keil’s research about the scope of inter-urban network invokes the idea of what defines a city as global, of why a particular mode of thinking was used to generalize hierarchy of cities on the global scene, but also emphasized the newly emergent strategic connectivities of capital, labor, and information across the world economy. On the positive front, it helps cities to invest in other cities who are in need of economic support for growth and benefit from each other, but on the other hand, rises vulnerability to spread economic instability, disease, crime or terrorism through such connectivity. Ronald Wall’s video suggested how capitalism and globalism are intertwined but are susceptible global inequality.
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In Chapter 15 of Can Cities Be Sustainable?, Rough explains that urbanization causes deforestation by two primary factors. First, he argues that urban dwellers consume more resources then individuals living in rural environment. Urban dwellers use more energy, water, eat more meat, and have more income that can be used to purchase durable goods. This encourages production to meet the needs of urban dwellers. The effect is then forests are harvested for wood, cleared for food production, or both.
Secondly, urbanization causes deforestation by the simple need for space. Urban areas by default are surrounded by rural areas. Rural to urban migration is a phenomenon that has been occurring since cities were first established. The trend is forecasted to continue. According to the United Nations, 75% of the world’s population will be urbanized by 2050. The need for land to build housing, as well as all the elements of urban life, causes undeveloped land near cities to be prone to urbanization.
Potential solutions to managing deforestation is to first establish an urban growth boundary (UGB) limiting the spread of urbanization and protecting undeveloped land encircling an urbanized area. Establishing a UGB will have the adverse effect of limiting supply of urban space, and it is crucial to build compactly to maximize the limited land within the boundary. Building compactly has the positive effect of supporting effective public transit, and reducing the need for automobile ownership. To further protect against deforestation, critical open space can be protected by either establishing preserves, and limiting land uses to non-urban uses such as grazing or agriculture.
Another innovative strategy is the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). This process a developer (hypothetically within the UGB) to build denser than the current land use law, by purchasing the “rights” from a farmer outside the boundary. This promotes development within the UGB and maintains rural use of lands outside of it. UGBs and TDRs require strong local and regional governance powers.
Cities by function are useful for the conglomeration of diverse uses, and therefore areas closest to urban activity are the most valuable. Following this condition, the rural areas closest to urbanization, whether it be forest, or agricultural land, is likely to come under influence to urbanize as landowners see opportunity to profit from the sale of their land, and developers see opportunity to build and sell housing- all driven by the wants of individuals to live in an urbanized environment.
In response to Keil’s From Global Cities to Globalized Urbanization, I believe capitalism, primarily the concept of the corporation, and connectivity, specifically the low cost of transportation as strong influence to the shape of the inter-urban network. The effects of these two elements have been observed during Colonialism, and has escalated with Globalization. My opinion is derived from Jared Dimond’s Guns, Germs and Steel.
Dimond argues that the development of the affluent Global North was largely induced by the geography of Europe. To summarize, Dimond believes that limited resources in Europe coupled with extensive coastlines and ports promoted a system of exploratory trade. Under this system, ships would sail in search of trading opportunity. As expeditions grew in scale, the need to insure voyages spurred banking, financing, investing, and insurance. With stronger investments, Europeans innovated in ship design, navigation, along with monetary systems that supported and profited from the seafaring activity. These two elements both driven by profit, added fuel to conquest in hopes of fortune, which lead to the Colonial Period.
The 20th century has seen a transition from traditional Colonial practices in to globalization, a phenomenon that can be argued as Neo-Colonialism, since many of the same influences and systems are so similar. Colonial powers have been replaced by Corporations- entities established for the sole purpose of generating wealth for its members. As technology progressed our world has become smaller through faster modes of travel as well as communication technologies that allows for instant communication to anywhere on the world.
Corporations are interesting compared to smaller capitalism ventures that define most small businesses, due to their sheer strength in capital resources, and disconnect between business operations and community. The inter-urban network has largely been restructured so that manufacturing production now occurs far from the markets they will be sold in because of cheaper labor costs, with transport costs being minuscule due to advances in transportation technology. Advanced nations have developed voids in their urban fabric from the departure of manufacturing activities and the consequences of this loss is still being dealt with. Corporations and transportation technology has created a globally divided world, where cities and regions conduct specialized activities.
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Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, a book about leveraging new technologies to solve a couple of the world’s key issues.
Legacy of Earl Butz – why America’s food industry is the way it is. His mantra to farmers was “get big or get out,” and he urged farmers to plant commodity crops like corn “from fencerow to fencerow.” These policy shifts coincided with the rise of major agribusiness corporations, and the declining financial stability of the small family farm.
Tom Rough described two main drivers of deforestation derived from global urbanization. The first is the increase in demand of meat products by an urban population. There is a correlation between urbanization and an increase in meat consumption because when people move from rural to urban areas they tend to make more money and can afford more meat products. Meat is also more easily preserved for transport from the rural area of production to the urban area of consumption where vegetables are not as easily preserved and loose a great deal of nutritional content on their way to market. Meat consumption is also a form of conspicuous consumption. However, meat, and particularly beef, requires a much greater amount of land to produce the same amount of calories. So more land must be cleared to grow corn, soy, and fodder to feed cows, pigs, and poultry in concentrated feeding operations (CFO). Some countries, such as Brazil, are gearing their economy to provide for this demand by clearing great swaths of rainforest.
The other driver of deforestation is more direct – the expansion of urban development into forested areas. With the advent of automobiles and commuter trains, urban dwellers can live further and further away from where they work and so cities are expanding. Ironically, this expansion usually covers prime agricultural land and so greater quantities of marginal agricultural land must be cleared further from the city to compensate for the loss.
One point of hope I took from Barbara Torrey’s paper was that people in the urban environment tend to have many fewer children than rural subsistence farmers. This, along with the empowerment of women worldwide to control their reproduction, will, I hope lead to a plateau and decline of the human population to a sustainable steady state. This will be a long time in coming, especially since governments are starting to encourage their citizens to procreate in order to have a population base to support the larger number of elders.
In any case, there were a few suggestions made by Tom Rough for slowing the rate of deforestation due to urbanization. One was to create subsidies for small, rural farmers so that it becomes profitable, even MORE profitable to farm than to move to the city, the primary driver of migration. Another is to encourage the consumption of pork and poultry as meat animals and discourage beef. Cow and other ruminants such as goats and sheep, are less efficient at converting feed stocks to edible flesh than are pigs and chickens and so more land is required to produce beef. In addition, Rough also encourages improvements in efficiency so there is less food waste.
I agree with Rough’s premise and his conclusions. I think there is a lot of improvement to be made in the lives of rural inhabitants if the tables are turned on big agribusiness and it becomes more profitable to be a small, diverse subsistence farmer than a huge agribusiness. I think some of the cultural changes are also happening around meat consumption. Where it used to be a symbol of status to eat a steak, now it is more fashionable to eat a kale salad with a sprinkling of bacon. Vegetable based diets are on the rise as meat prices increase and meat in general becomes less essential to the concept of success.
Roger Keli’s idea was primarily that modern urbanization is not as based on a community’s proximity to local resources but more about its position in the global capitalistic economy. A city’s significance is more about its connections to transnational corporations than even the country in which it is located. In this conceptualization urbanization is a product of the meme of capitalism which has been so successful in Western civilization. The unfortunate result from the pursuit of capitalistic growth is that human labor has become outdated where machines, economies of scale, and transnational slavery (outsourcing) are brought to bear. Despite the obvious efficiency of this idea, we have to ask ourselves what we value, money or people?
Another of Keli’s ideas is that when growth in the city is based on the local position of very powerful transnational corporation there emerges a steep power differential between the new-coming, highly paid corporate elites and the local blue collar community, which is in sharp decline in the western world. Old communities in proximity to these headquarters become rapidly gentrified and the established population gets pushed out further and further from their base of work. This inequality of pay becomes an inequality of opportunity and access. I think this is exactly what we’re seeing at play in our local community of Oakland and San Francisco. It hasn’t been more than five years since the most expensive, hip areas were once working-class neighborhoods.
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In chapter 15, Yom Prugh points out that main reasons of deforestation are urbanized lifestyle of rural migrant and urban areas sprawling into forest habitat. Those two factors leads to less areas for forest grow and more resources consumption. Yom explains that urbanized lifestyle drives rural migrant to change their diet to a more energy consumption way when their income rise up. He also writes that influx of rural migrants leads to endless expanding urban areas of natural inhabitants. Barbara Torre reveals that the advantages of urban areas are the major contributor to drive rural migrants to cities. He notes that these increasing migrants not only consume more food, but also living facilities such as TV, washing machine, car and so on.
Base on what Yom and Barbara have discussed above, the immediate solution may be reducing inflow of rural population. For instance, building more living facilities or providing more job opportunities in rural areas might reduce the gap between urban and rural areas. However, we may also find that the reason of rural migrant consumes more energy is their incomes rising instead of their migration trends to cities. As the examples from Alaina and Zack in the class, the people living in rural area will also consume a lot of energy at rural area when they can afford this lifestyle. In the developed rural area in China now, rural people prefer to consume more meat than urban area since the meat is more affordable. Hence, the reason of more resource consumption is our increasing ability of using resources without long-term consideration. This crisis will be exacerbated continually because the developing technology improves our ability of taking resources from nature.
To address this problem, we should take advantage of technology development on leading people to environmental friendly lifestyle instead of just enlarger the ability of using resources on earth. I will take the sharing bikes in China as an example, before this year, most of the Chinese people prefer to drive a car or take a taxi to work. But after several companies came up with really convenient bike sharing apps, comfortable and high-speed bicycles, people fond that biking to work was low cost and time saving. Now, sharing bike has been the major transportation in big cities in China. (The link is posted below) So human being is the creature pursuing comfortable and convenient. We should merge the comfortable/convenient lifestyle and environmental friendly lifestyle together by technology instead of just transmitting environmental friendly slogan.
In my opinions, increasing greenhouse gases emission through urbanization is another factor accelerating deforestation. Higher temperature and longer dry season increase the frequency and scale of the forest fire, which exceeds the limits of forest self-adjustment. As a result, carbon dioxide level is higher due to the decreasing of carbon sink – forest, which exacerbates global warming in turn. Such crises happen all over the world.
Meanwhile, globalization could also increases the recourse consumption and the n drives the deforestation. For example, in the model of global factory, companies prefer to locate their branch based on the lowest cost, which creates more energy consumption on transportation. The Apple Inc produces the basic elements of I-phone in China, and ships them to the U.S. for assembly, and eventually ships the mobile phone back to China for sale. With the improving of technology development, the range of communication of goods and people is becoming larger (from a community – to cities – to countries – to global – or to interstellar in the future), which results to more energy consumption.
In response to Keil’s argument and Ronald’s video, I believe the key element shaping the inter-urban network is the connection between cities. These connectivity and corporation can be shaped by technology development such as transportation, telecommunication, Internet and financial system. In the “Global economic Competitor” video, we could know that financial system still plays the foundational role in urbanization and control the inter-urban network. Foreign investment trends reveal the transportation, cultural and technology development to some extent. The western big city such as New York and London are not only the transportation node physically, but also are the financial center in capital world. Even though the technology development like Internet, mobile phone and transportation empower people in developing countries more chances to get information and then get involve into global world, the financial condition also a key factor in globalization and cause inequity in some way.
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Link of sharing bike in China
(The link below shows the details of deforestation caused by climate change)