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America’s Most Sustainable Cities and Regions : Surviving the 21st Century Megatrends (Paperback)
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This book takes the reader on a journey across the American landscape and its history, taking time to consider the forces that shaped the development of various cities and regions, and arrives at an unexpected conclusion regarding sustainability. A foundation of the American Dream and one of today's most cherished beliefs is that our standard of living is up to us through the political and economic choices we make and the technology we create. From globalization to the digital and information revolutions, we assume that humans have taken control of our collective destinies in spite of potholes in the road such as the Great Recession of 2007-2009. However, these attitudes were formed during a unique 100-year period of human history in which a large but finite supply of fossil fuels was tapped to feed our economic and innovation engine. Today, at the peak of the Oil Age, the horizon looks different. Cheap oil and natural gas will be essentially gone by 2050, and oil will be rationed much sooner than that. Climate change is a reality whether the result of human activities, natural cycles, or both, and regional impacts will become increasingly severe. Cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas are situated where water and other vital ecological services are scarce, and the enormous flows of resources and energy that were needed to create the megalopolises of the 20th century will prove unsustainable. Las Vegas, where these flows are further imperiled by an economy almost entirely dependent on diminishing discretionary incomes, is already suffering the fate of the proverbial canary in the coal mine.
The new reality is that finite resources will mean profound changes for society in general and the energy-intensive lifestyles of the US and Canada in particular. Not all regions are equally vulnerable to these megatrends of the 21st century. Are you ready to look beyond “America’s Most Livable Cities” to the critical factors that will determine the sustainability of your municipality and region? Find out where your city or region ranks according to the forces that will impact our lives in the next years and decades, and how the place where each of us lives will affect our ability to adjust to the coming changes.