The Internet has made some phenomenal breakthroughs that are still only poorly understood in terms of changing people's ideas of us and them. If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
What makes creative people tingle are interesting problems, the chance to impress their friends, and caffeine.
In tough times, some of us see protecting the climate as a luxury, but that's an outdated 20th-century worldview from a time when we thought industrialization was the end goal, waste was growth, and wealth meant a thick haze of air pollution.
For carbon-neutral cities, there are things worth talking about in how our consumption patterns can change - sharing goods, etc. - but those are a fraction of the impacts of transportation and building energy use. If we need to choose priority actions, the most important things are to densify, provide transit, and green the buildings.
I think there's a gigantic generation gap in terms of how people understand the Internet and how much they think technology is an important factor in social change.
We don't need a War on Carbon. We need a new prosperity that can be shared by all while still respecting a multitude of real ecological limits - not just atmospheric gas concentrations, but topsoil depth, water supplies, toxic chemical concentrations, and the health of ecosystems, including the diversity of life they depend upon.
It is very possible to have lives that are just as prosperous, and nicer, that use 5 percent of the fossil fuels and virgin materials we do now. But if we're living anything like the average McMansion-ite, SUV-driving suburbanites, there's simply no way that can be powered in a climate-friendly way.
Cities are responsible for the vast majority of the creation of the economy. They're also places into which we pour the vast majority of resources, the vast majority of energy and the places where a huge percentage of the decisions about how systems are built and how products designed, etc., happen.