Terry Fowler

Yearly Archives: 2011

The Parable of Iceland: It’s the Right Size

Still outraged at the bailouts of greedy financial institutions with our tax dollars? Furious that we can’t do anything about it? Icelanders aren’t. Their president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, vetoed a bill passed by Iceland’s parliament to pay Britain and the … Continue reading

Forget National Governments; We Need Local Action on Climate Change

As the talks in Durban lurch towards failure, we should remember that when it comes to effective policies on greenhouse gases and the climate, national governments will never be agents for real change. All they seem to be able to … Continue reading

The Occupiers are Reminding us about Local Places

The authorities are now moving in to evict the Occupy protesters across North America. That is because the encampments themselves express a message that is just too direct and gutsy. Mainstream politicians and commentators keep asking for a program of … Continue reading

Elections Don’t Confer A Mandate

Democracy, as Churchill famously said, is the worst form of government except for all the others. This is a witty and genial excuse for a system that is by now unworkable. Its survival to this point has been supported by … Continue reading

Heidegger in Hamilton

The idea of living sustainably has been around as long as human language has been there to express it.  Unfortunately, having the idea is a far cry from putting it into practice.  For thousands of years, humans have been far … Continue reading

Getting Urban Growth Wrong

Every once in a while someone comes along to tell us that we are at the end of ideology, or of history, or even of scientific discovery. In fact, scientific discovery itself has revealed to us an astounding story of … Continue reading

The Making of Toronto

Is It Accidental or Merely Wild? There are no accidents.  Don’t confuse me with the facts; nothing can sway me from this belief. Things happen when we don’t mean them to happen, and we often call such occurrences accidents.  Or, … Continue reading

Pavement Mentalities

I am a child of the city. Not only have I lived in large cities all my life; I have made them a central focus of my teaching and writing

Cities are fascinating. At their best, they are celebrations of human diversity, ingenuity, and creativity. We can learn much about ourselves by exploring our own built environments and our behaviour in them. Continue reading

Food and the Realities of Choice

We consume food many times throughout each day, even those of us on the verge of starvation. Therefore, our decisions about what to eat, however meagre the meal, have a huge economic and social impact. Normally, most of us aren’t too conscious of our choices, which makes them no choice at all. Michael Pollan invites us to be aware of those choices, and with his skillful coaching the potential impact of such awareness could be both subversive and enormous. Continue reading

It’s a Both/And World

One of the hardest ideas for 21st century humans to understand is that we live in a both/and world. There are lots of popular books and articles that explore the world of “win-win” situations. In fact, though, as modern physics … Continue reading