As I was riding home from my studio just now, I was struck by how rapidly the days are shortening toward the winter solstice and how cold the days are becoming. It gave me a strong sense of the finite size of my world. For 15 years now I’ve been riding my bike to work instead of driving a car – partly because it’s good for me, but also because I have a strong desire to lower my CO2 emissions.
I’ve come to realize that although my world is large – very large in some respects – its also not infinite. Which means my actions although small in comparison, have a definite affect and consequences. I just had an ephiphany – my bike riding and desire to lower my emissions, correlates with the start of my interest in the city as my subject. How ironic.
I saw a interesting talk by William Rees about Environmental Economics, on TVO’s Big Ideas, where he talked about the misconception that Cities are sustainable. We believe a city is the pinnacle of productivity, when in fact it is the ultimate in consumption.
This is an issue I’m fundamentally at odds with, yet one I must daily strike a balance with. How do I consume less, while living in the very bowels of one of the most consumptive places on earth – a major city like Toronto. My struggle constantly undermines my desire to find beauty here.
However, as I’ve come to realize and remember through no small amount of introspection, I’m deeply, almost hypnotically affected by motion. And surprise surprise, there is an abundant and accelerated level of motion in a city. Perfect for me, despite being a less than ideal environment.