One of my favorite writers is Bryan Finoki, and his blog Subtopia is just superb. Once in a while I shake off the cobbwebs for long enough to point out how how good his work is, and that you should all go read it immediately. So, go read. His latest post, The Green Yonder, takes a speculative look at a dubious proposal to eco-convert some of the foliage around Baghdad’s Green Zone, and the potential feral consequences of eco-conversion run amok.
To a mad scientist’s developer’s breathless assertion that “We can remake Baghdad as a city focused on nature, ecology and the environment, with a new concept of security” – by splicing things like razor wire, dragon’s teeth and the like with friendly ferns and growing bushes – Bryan has this to say:
…sounds to me like just another green-washed marketing tactic to get a big government contract, and sell the notion that anything green automatically equates to better no matter how shallowly “green” may even be defined (is weaved foliage in conjunction with other barriers really more green?); this also strikes me as ignoring the fact that simply greening the barriers doesn’t do anything to work away the need for them in the first place. In fact, it probably only helps cement the opposite: which is to say, masking the barriers will only probably contribute to a greater environmental acceptance of them in the long run and therefore help to sell their permanence, help to sell barriers in a more pleasant form, and thus might play into a more long term swell of Baghdad’s false sense of security, adding to negligence of pressing strategies and efforts required to truly work towards a situation where barriers no longer exist. You could argue greening the barriers might lead to greater danger in the long run, by deferral.
Go read the rest.