Let’s see what Dr. Mayer Hillman — eminent architect, town planner and Senior Fellow Emeritus since 1992 at the Policy Studies Institute, University of Westminster where he worked for at least thirty years — had to offer in an interview that appeared in The Guardian last week. By Patrick Barkham Full text with illustrations at https://bit.ly/2FjpEbI
W’re doomed,” says Mayer Hillman with such a beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. “The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.”
Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his “last will and testament”. His last intervention in public life. “I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said,” he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.
One day, a long time ago and in a faraway place, or so the legend goes, there was a huge forest fire that was raging the entire countryside. All the animals were terrified, running around in circles, screaming, crying and helplessly watching the impending disaster.
But there in the middle of the flames, and above the cowering animals, was a tiny hummingbird busy flying from a small pond to the fire, each time fetching a few drops with its beak to throw on the flames. And then again/ And then again. And yet again.
After a while, an old grouchy armadillo, annoyed by this ridiculous useless agitation on the part of the hummingbird, cried out: “Tiny bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those minuscule drops of water one after the other that you are going to put out the fire and save us all! ”
To which the hummingbird replied, “Could be, but I’m going to do my bit”.
In a conversation about one of the critical issues and decision points being set out in my forthcoming collaborative book, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transport to Your City” — namely the fundamental structural importance of the climate/transport link — I was told yesterday by a well-placed person in Malaysia that no one in Penang or indeed Malaysia (or for that matter pretty much anywhere else on our gasping planet) takes climate change seriously. At least sufficiently seriously to even consider changing their daily transport choices (which it just happens is what my book is all about.).
Events: Getting ready for Taiwan 2017 Collaborative Mission
This year’s program combines site visits, brainstorming sessions, conferences, presentations and vigorous questioning, looking, listening and co-learning with my esteemed long time Taiwanese friends and colleagues.from 22 September to 4 October. Among the main events and presentations:
SLOW CITY PENANG – AN INVITATION
From the New Mobility Fine Arts Collection, Summer 2017. From 1 July – 1 September
An online exhibit of shared photos, drawings, renderings, street art, child scribblings, videos, poems, proposed projects events . . . .illustrating these two very different sides of life in Penang: fast and slow. the good, the bad and the at times very ugly.
– See https://www.facebook.com/NewMobilityArts/ for details
Everything you always wanted to know about global warming. But were afraid to ask.