Day 23- Cities drown first
Can “libertarian paternalism” save our cities and the planet?
People often wonder what can be done about global warming short of putting the entire economy on a draconian carbon-free diet. The answer is that small, ordinary adjustments to our daily behavior can actually go a long way in averting catastrophe. Two basic principles are involved in making each city’s life friendlier toward the environment, more tolerable, and more enjoyable for a larger share of its population.
The first lateral principle is the “mundanity of excellence,” on the idea that high performance is not normally a result of quantum leaps or innate talent but rather comes about because of a series of tiny improvements. Small behavioral adjustments on our part can go a long way in terms of slowing down climate change and preserving the environment for future generations.
The second principle involves what behavioral scientists call “nudging”-behavioral modification through either positive reinforcement or indirect suggestion to influence groups or individuals' motives, incentives, and decisions. The basic problem is that people tend to act in ways that are not only inimical to the common good but also against their own self-interest.
Research indicates that mundane adaptations and libertarian paternalism can be more effective at helping cities deal with pollutions, congestion, and climate change that can punitive fines, carbon taxes, or monetary incentives.
“When the well is dry, we learn the worth of water”
Water is almost always a renewable resource, but its quality and distribution around the world are the subjects of considerable frictions and conflict. Cities, in particular, tend to face recurrent water shortages. What’s more, one out of four urban residents, or 1 billion people, don’t have access to piped water in their homes. The changing geographical distribution of population growth, the process of urbanization, the growth of the middle school, and climate change will fundamentally reshape the economics and politics of water. Our water problem will multiply by 2030. Water is difficult and costly to store and transport over large distances. The future of cities hinges on building new water infrastructure and on encouraging everyone-consumers, farmers, manufacturers, and energy producers-to be more mindful about water use.
2030 by Mauro.F.Guillen: 134–138