Author Says New York’s Greener than Vermont, Despite Appearances


Time interviews David Owen, author of Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability, who says New York is greener than Vermont. Though most of us can’t walk out of our apartments easily find some random cow to milk, as they do in the Green Mountain State, Owen says we “leave a significantly smaller carbon footprint” than they do there or anywhere else in America, because of mass transit and because we have our organic peaches delivered to greenmarkets and fetch them home on bicycles instead of driving a “minivan 25 miles to a local farm to buy a few days’ worth of produce” as some lady in Portland did. Also, “New Yorkers don’t drive, because it’s extraordinarily frustrating to have a car in Manhattan.” (The first assertion will surprise many, many outer borough drivers, though we think the latter will be universally endorsed)…

Owen means this as a message to the rest of America, but though we appreciate his counterintuitive point (and will use it chauvinistically at parties with our outland friends to brag on New York), we wonder at the use of the phrase “greener” to describe the city, even with all its environmental efficiencies, Audubon-Society-certified “green” hotels and the like. Do Vermonters, capricious energy users as they may be, have a less green life than we? Their air seems sweeter than ours and we see more meadows and pastures when we’re there than we do while schlepping the boroughs. Maybe we only get to the touristy parts, and Vermont’s dark satanic mills are hidden from our view.

Well, just wait till Bloomberg gets all the roofs painted white. Then maybe the grass will start to grow. Image (cc) putneypics.