Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Jun Wei and Zhi Yong(4 environmental heresies)

One of the four environmental heresies mentioned in the video is about how cities are more green than people living in villages. This is evident through the practices of the people. In the cities, people can cook their food through microwaves, or induction cookers which are environmentally friendly as they do not release harmful gases. However, people in the village can only get energy to cook their food through heat energy. They burn wood for fire, and also burn down forest to clear land. Harmful gases are released into the environment. Births rates in the village are very high, whereas the birth rates in the cities are lower. In villages, the parents use children as their workers, thus the more children they have, the more money they can earn. However, children are regarded as a chore in cities, as parents have to take time to raise them up and spend money on them. Thus, it can be argued that cities are greener than what most people think. Making the idea that cities are "unclean" an environmental heresy.


  1. This is a very interesting point, but i believe that this argument is hollow and does not state enough facts to enforce its point.

    The points made in this argument are easily questioned. While it is true that induction cookers and modern methods of cooking food do not release harmful gas unlike the old way of burning wood, the author has failed to consider the other resources that these modern devices require. Induction cookers and microwaves require a decent amount of electrical energy, and electricity generation requires the burning of fossil fuels. Tribal villagers only require a small fire to cook their food, while electricity generation en masses combustion. Thus, using modern day cookers arguably combust more fuel and pollute the environment more than tribal methods.

    Most villagers also do not burn down forests to clear land. It is a well known fact that most villages live in seclusion and solitude, and lead their tribal and small communism lives. Villages thus do not require much land, and mostly do not burn trees for land. The author has made this point incredibly weak, as it is in one sentence and has no particular source. It also goes against common knowledge.

    I also fail to see how the use of children as workers or for family joy contributes to environmental issues. Although a higher population requires more food and energy to sustain itself, these villages can account for themselves using environmentally friendly lifestyles, like not using electricity, almost negligible pollution, etc. Thus, i believe the point about birth rates is unrelated to the topic at hand.

    Basically, a village does not use electricity or other resources like oil. Its main resources are essentials like water, food and firewood. However, a city's vital resources are many, like oil, electricity, complex materials, metals, advanced foodstuff, minerals, plastic, just to name a few. All these reveal how environmentally consuming a city really is, and is not mentioned at all in this argument. Cities are also massive in size relative to villages, and the consumption rate of all these resources would be high. Thus, in my opinion, cities are not as "clean" and "green" as villages, in fact far from it.

  2. Very interesting points made here. Good summary of the video presentation, Jun Wei and Zhi Yong. The presenter of the TED video is obviously trying to justify the growth of cities by trying to show the down side of living in a village. Ming Yong, you are quite right to raise those questions. Your argument obviously show depth of thinking. Keep it up. I think that it is very difficult to justify that cities are greener than villages. Living in a city requires so much more energy to maintain, eg the lights needed at night so that pedestrians and drivers can see where they are going. We also need energy to power the countless computers and other electronic gadgets. Good comments!