Showing posts from June, 2014

Green Monster to the Rescue

The Environmentalist Crusade recruits Godzilla. by Stefano Magni (Translated by L. Pavese) Imagine an early summer afternoon, you go to see Godzilla , with the obvious intention to have fun, to see nice special effects and, most of all, to admire, on the big screen, a story about the great struggle of Man against Nature gone mad. But instead, what do you find? A movie that overflows with environmentalist rhetoric from beginning to end. Now, that Godzilla was a green monster (and as tall as a mountain, in this latest American version) was already known for the last sixty years; but his recruiting by the Environmentalist Crusade is just the last piece of news from an increasingly ideologized Hollywood. A hint to ecology, a criticism of destructive and not always creative science was already present in the original 1954 Gojira (anglicized in Godzilla ), directed by Ishiro Honda. The first Godzilla was, in fact, the monstrous incarnation of the atomic

A Question of Dung

Central Park drive, New York, circa 1870 What if, one hundred years from now, our descendants laughed about our environmental problems? By Giacomo Lev Mannheimer (Translated by L. Pavese) Back in 1898, politicians, local administrators, architects, geographers and engineers from around the world met in New York City for the first international urban planning convention. What prompted people from all over the world to gather around a table to discuss the planning of cities? Surely it was not to discuss land allocation, housing policies, economic development and not even infrastructure upgrading. The basic reason for the meeting, as explained in an interesting paper by Eric Morris (UCLA) , was the problems created by the increase in the number of horses in the cities. The use of horses in urban areas was not certainly a novelty, but, at the end of the 1800’s, it had already had consequences that were unimaginable before: the growth in the number of horses in the citi