The use of the term “sustainable cities” forces us to ask the question “what are we trying to sustain?”. These days “sustainability” has become a buzzword for some hazy notion of “ecologically friendly”. But “sustainable” merely means “lasting”. Not everything that we sustain is a good thing, and in many cities, for example, crime has become self-perpetuating and hence “sustainable”. Are cities making people happy so that they will stay and contribute?
Over the past two springs, on a Blackstone Ranch Foundation/National Geographic Innovation Challenge Grant to the Khumbu and Hinku Valleys of the alpine Himalayas, Dr. Thomas Culhane worked with Dr. Alton Byers, Chris Rainier and the Mountain Institute's Anrita Sherpa to assess the potential for replacing endangered juniper shrub, forest timber resources and kerosene and bottled gas with renewable, net-carbon-free and inflation resistant technologies.