Tinkering on the margins

The Greens are known to come up with what many perceive as draconian regulations to protect the environment. They even went as far as suggesting a “veggie Friday”, in meat-loving Germany!

Now they have suggested to ban private fireworks, put a small deposit on coffee cups and prohibit gravel pit as a surface cover in cities. They’re flying high on their recent electoral successes and can seriously contemplate becoming the strongest party in Germany if elections were called later this year.

I don’t think anyone has any problem with their ideas and understands their rationale. It’s just the scale and lack of boldness in them that I find striking, coming from a Green party that was once known to be a hotbed of radicalism but has long lost its zeal. My friend Gareth calls them “neoliberals with wind farms”.

You can’t pile dozens of regulations on your population to nudge consumption patterns, while the elephant in the room, the current economic system and its reliance on hydrocarbons, remains untouched. The Greens’ ideas to avert climate change are not going to bring about the rapid change needed to avert climate catastrophe. The “Fridays for the Future” campaign has rightly called them out on it.

Some other climate-related thoughts have come out of reading a few Jacobin stories on top of the one linked above recently, including on “why it’s OK to have children”, “in defense of air conditioning” and on the “green new deal” by Thiti Bhattacharya.

Global Cities: Sub-Saharan Africa

As term is about to start, I wanted to resume posting some lecture summaries of my Global Cities class. Some of the most interesting set of lectures were the ones on sub-Saharan Africa. When we, as a primarily “northern” audience, pick the continent to study slums, it is important and natural to reflect on our inherently problematic viewpoint. Are we, in other words, “slumming it”?

Dharavi, Mumbai

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Global Cities

I started teaching a class at Temple University Japan called Global Cities this term. It is a General Education course that introduces students to contemporary aspects of urbanization around the world. A few thoughts on the class and teaching methods after the jump.

Kampala, Uganda

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Fleshing out the papers

This is a strange time in one’s academic career I suppose. With the PhD just handed in, pending final approval by my university’s committee, I am beginning to think seriously about where and what to publish. Below some initial thoughts that will hopefully guide me in my next steps. Continue reading