Today, Malaysia is in the center of the most dynamic economy in the world–Chindia. With over 3 billion people and a growing middle class, Chindia is wrestling with reconciling the twin objectives of raising average incomes while protecting and restoring the environment. Penang itself is a bustling center of international high technology companies and high rises alongside the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown (where Jimmy Choo got his start!).
Through First Stop Portland, I was invited by the World Bank to join a forum on Greening Urban Growth in Penang, Malaysia. Among the 50 or so participants were elected leaders from Korea, Vietnam, China, India, Malaysia and the Philippines along with top World Bank economists as well as planners from as far away as Spain and as close as Singapore. Such a diverse group reflected the global economy as well as the long history of Malaysia in world trade with its own population mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and Europeans…
While we wait for the “big boys” to act (or not) at their annual conferences in far flung locales, there is much we can be doing on the local level to reduce carbon emissions and address the changes wrought by a changing climate. But what should we do first?
Even if the world were to stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow, the momentum of rising global temperature caused by too much carbon in the atmosphere demands on the ground responses if we are to keep our cities livable. How can we cool our cities and keep them healthy?
Bicycle use is experiencing a resurgence in much of the world – even the French are riding! In the USA bicycling is on the cusp of even greater growth, rating the attacks of House Republicans who eliminated funding in the latest transportation bill. Yet, most cities still are hostile to experienced riders much less the average person. What do you find that works to give this affordable, convenient, healthy transportation option a leg up?
Why Getting to 2100? The next century will be a test: can humans use their intelligence and foresight to successfully transition from our consumption-fueled economy to one that balances the needs of humans with the Earth’s available resources. Getting to 2100 aims to be a forum for sharing of good ideas and good works. Got a good example or a new idea? Share it with the world!