Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Freep Sees A Silver Lining
To Detroit's Dark Cloud

Detroit's carbon footprint is relatively small, coming in 37th best among 100 of America's largest cities.

No word on how many unemployed day laborers were needed to find that positive needle in a very large pile of mouldering straw.

And the Freep? In a word, excited!

The Detroit area did surprisingly well in a 100-city comparison of global warming gases, although it's not clear how much of that standing reflects economic doldrums and an increasingly older mix of residents in a place where the population is not growing. By most measures, including the degree of sprawl and lack of mass transit, metro Detroit hardly seems like a candidate for a city with a lighter carbon footprint than most.

As a matter of fact, dead people exhale smaller amounts of carbon than live ones do. But thats just people.

It is sort of the same thing with cities.

Abandoned factories use less energy than thriving ones. Cities where so many people are out of work don't drive as much. People that struggle to make ends meet keep their thermostats not at 68, but at 65 or below. People hanging on tightly to their money make fewer trips to the store. Fewer things sold at the store translates into fewer truckloads of product hauled to market.

No wonder Detroit's carbon footprint is so small. It is the footprint of a withering shell.

But don't worry, the Freep, atwitter in excitement, has some mighty big ideas that it feels might help to further shrink the size of Detroit's carbon footprint. All of which, of course, will increase the cost of living in southeast Michigan driving out even more residents.

And that is something to aim for!