City living to fight climate change (and human nature)

Coaching a Colazione podcast

City living may be the most efficient way to fight climate change. The bigger the city, the bigger the resources shared and the CO2 saved. 

I understand word trends show urbanisation is growing, as unprecedentedly.

Yet, this is not a good enough reason to keep going with it.

If I say city, how many of you think of traffic, confusion, smell, dirt, pollution, inequality, noise, grey, flashlights…trap?

One day I bumped into a great piece by Alex Steffen. He’s a futurologist, better said futurologist of sustainability. He’s eager on sharing his vision of changing the world by changing the way we see the world.

Impressive, I thought. So I joined his mailing list. 

This week Alex is talking about Tesla’s strategy of developing new vehicles targeted to suburban areas. His point is, if you really want to innovate to fight climate change, you gotta innovate in an already climate efficient system, that is a city and not a suburban area. 

Straight thinking.

However, cities might not be that good for us after all. 

Human beings have lived in groups since the beginning of times, look at ancestral and indigenous tribes. Buying into this evidence, they made us believe we are good to live in cities, that we want this. 


The caveat is that cities are not a natural evolution of tribes. 


Villages and small communities are natural evolution of tribes. 

Cities were born as half-assed, unhygienic and unhealthy housing conglomerates to sleep overtired factory workmen during the first industrial revolution. 

Most cities in the world keep these qualities of being half-assed, unhygienic and unmistakably unhealthy, as they cut out the relationship to Nature. They overlook its prominence.  


A huge deal of our good health and longevity comes from living a life IN TOUCH with Nature.


Meaning, being able to move in the wilderness, self-growing or foraging pesticides-free fresh food and respecting the well balanced, wise rhythm of Nature in our bodies and our activities.  


All this, you can’t find in cities. No matter how “sustainable” they are and how much energy they make us save.


They deplete our vital energy with their high level of toxins, stress and packaged foodstuffs. 



Ideally, if cities were perfectly engineered as carbon-negative, self-sufficient and waste-free units they could contribute to reverse global warming and to put local fresh food on our table – ever heard of Netherlands based ReGen?


Ideally, I said. 


There is a noticeable vacuum between what is ideal and what is real, what is imaginable and what is tangible


Tangible is what we can already  do, now. It is taking care of the Earth, Regenerative Agriculture, tapping into the infinite potential of our genetic strength. 


It is taking care of our own selves, rooting, breathing and mastering the balance with Mother Nature. 


The question to ask yourself is, why do we live in cities?

How does our physical (cancer, diabetes), emotional (stress levels) and mental (repetitive thoughts) health benefit from it?

We have all the means we need to get to the next evolutionary stage of our society. 

I understand we have access to information and technology, as unprecedentedly. This is a good enough reason to start taking action on it. 


What good things can we learn from the city way of organising ourselves and bring it forward to our next evolutionary level? 


PS: I used to live in cities, now I don’t anymore. I explain why here. 


Photo credits: Ronald Yang, Pavel Dvorak via