Looking For A Good Read?
January is a great month for reading. If you are looking for some hopeful, inspiring nonfiction, here’s what Allan Baker (who is part of Beach United’s Environmental Action Group) recommends:
Reviewed by Allan Baker
It isn’t often that I read a book about the environment that is overflowing with positive energy. “Solved: How The World’s Great Cities Are Fixing The Climate Crisis”, by David Miller, is an unusually upbeat and informative book.
This book reminds me of Chris Turner’s, “A Geography of Hope”, as David Miller tells stories of how cities around the world have been proactive in dealing with our world-wide climate crisis. Miller’s core argument is that most people live in urban areas, and cities have many tools available to them to have a positive effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We do not need to leave these decisions to other levels of government. Internationally, cities are using technologies that are already available, and the C-40 group of cities is a forum where these “best practices” are being shared for the good of our global village.
Miller’s book has interesting chapters on transportation – both public and personal. For example, he tells the story of Shenzhen China, where 100 per cent of its fleet of 16,000 buses are powered by electricity. This conversion was accomplished in a short period; from 2011 to 2018. This is only one city, but in the global village in 2017 there were 385,000 electric buses. This is just one example where Miller shows us that the technology exists, and implementation is helping to reduce GHG emissions. I learned about how prevalent it is to transition to electric-powered transportation.
Other chapters deal with urban planning; the generation of electricity in urban areas, waste disposal, and what we can do to increase the efficiency of energy use in buildings. There are plenty of examples from cities on all five continents to demonstrate that visionary thinking and smart implementation, with existing technologies, are making a difference in reducing humanity’s negative effect on the environment.
As a former Mayor of Toronto, Miller uses some of the examples that Toronto has undertaken (under programs called, “Change is In The Air” and “TransformTO”) to reduce GHG emissions. For example, he tells stories of building renewal programs in Toronto; the use of cold water from Lake Ontario to provide cooling for downtown office towers; how ridership on the TTC was increased, and how solar arrays at the CNE contribute to a reduction in the need for electricity to be generated outside Toronto.
Although most of the content of this interesting book is about what we can do collectively, there is a small section in the final chapter on actions that can be implemented in our personal lives to reduce the negative effects of climate change. Miller poses questions, such as: Do we use our voices when others question the fact of climate change? Do we need to drive a car? Are there steps that can be taken in our homes to reduce the use of energy from fossil fuels? How will we use our votes to support politicians who are honestly committed to dealing with climate change?
According to David Miller, the climate crisis problem has been “solved”; the technology to deal with reducing GHGs exists, and he shares examples of how the solutions have been implemented by many different cities in our global village.
I was impressed with David Miller’s conversational style of writing, which kept me engaged throughout the book. I hope that you will also find it that way.