Better than Cost-Effective
We clearly need these cost effective solutions, but we also need to think about solutions that are better than cost effective - solutions that are a matter of not doing things that are environmentally destructive and that make our lives less satisfying. Two prime examples are:
- Walkable neighborhoods: We can reduce emissions and make our cities more livable by building walkable neighborhoods (including streetcar suburbs) rather than auto-dependent neighborhoods, as many New Urbanists say. Auto-dependent sprawl suburbs are not only environmentally destructive; they also make our lives harder, more expensive, and less satisfying.
- Choice of work hours: We can reduce emissions and improve our work-life balance by offering employees choice of work hours, as they do in Germany and the Netherlands. Because shorter hours are voluntary, people only choose them if they think their lives will be more satisfying if the work and consume less and instead have more free time. Our standard 40-hour work week is not only environmentally destructive; it also makes our lives harder and less satisfying.