Owen, a staff writer for The New Yorker, makes a convincing case that Manhattan, Hong Kong and large, old European cities are inherently greener than less densely populated places because a higher percentage of their inhabitants walk, bike and use mass transit than drive; they share infrastructure and civic services more efficiently; they live in smaller spaces and use less energy to heat their homes (because those homes tend to share walls); and they’re less likely to accumulate a lot of large, energy-sucking appliances. People in cities use about half as much electricity as people who don’t, Owen reports, and the average New Yorker generates fewer greenhouse gases annually than “residents of any other American city, and less than 30 percent of the national average.”
We think of the environment in terms of sustainability. We need to also think about health and healthcare in terms of sustainability. If it is our social duty to protect the environment for future humans, isn’t it also our social duty to maximize our health given the excessively high cost of healthcare and the devastating effects expensive illnesses have on our economy and the financial livelihood of future generations?
The green movement is about environmental sustainability. The “healthcare movement” should be about financial sustainability.
Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less are the Keys to Sustainability