Cloud Cuckoo Land

It’s difficult to read some of the proposals for the future development of Hong Kong without concluding that the gap between the intemperate dreams of the developers and the actual state of affairs in the real world is so great that it constitutes a form of psychosis.    The government has recently identified 25 sites in HK’s waters which could be reclaimed and built upon. We already have the harbour undergoing more infilling for the sake of increasing multi-laned highways into the Central area, which is supposed to ease the congestion problem, whilst completely ignoring the evidence that extra roads and road-widening schemes simply increase the amount of traffic on the roads and increase the congestion. We also have the proposed new runway at the airport – something I’ve written about in an earlier post – which will require more land reclamation right in the heart of the pink dolphin territory, and now we have 25 more sites – supposedly to be reduced to 10 – which will see more concrete dumped onto the seas for the sake of…well, what? It couldn’t be to enable the developers to cream off some of the massive amounts of money in the government’s reserves, could it?

If not, and we really are so short of land that more housing needs to be built on reclaimed land to cater for the growth in population which the government estimates will rise by 2 million by 2039, why is the government not using the 200,000 flats which it admits are standing empty? What about using the old airport site which has been standing unused for years, or the 5000 hectares of land that is up for rezoning? Why is it that HK’s top demographer Paul Yip doesn’t accept the projected increase in population (“I don’t believe it”) probably because HK has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world – 1.04%? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/27/hong-kong-islands-threat-wildlife

Meanwhile we have Ling Wai-ming, the director of the so-called ‘think tank’ SD Advocates, telling us that his long-time dream of turning north-west HK into a new metropolis is closer to being turned into a reality, as three new extensions to the railway system are planned in the area. Just imagine, all of that ridiculous Ramsar wetland site with its endangered black-faced spoonbills and huge numbers of other meaningless birdlife, could all be covered in concrete and dozens of attractive monolithic housing estates like those in Tung Chung, perhaps, could soar into the sky and make huge profits for the developers whilst making life utterly miserable for the wretched tenants within. The surrounding farmland, where many organic farms are springing up to help supply the growing demand for healthy food instead of the toxic trash we buy from the mainland, could also be smoothed over with a coat of concrete, all in the service of making the new metropolis a ‘launch pad for HK’s sustainable growth’. The only thing that would be sustained by this cock-eyed scheme would be the massive, ill-gained profits of the developers.

These people show no understanding of global warming and the catastrophic future we are building for ourselves with this mad obsession with growth and development. They clearly have never heard of peak oil, and the idea of China running into economic problems as the world economy grinds to a halt is not something that would ever have crossed their minds. They are living in cloud cuckoo land. The even more disturbing fact is that so are most of the rest of the population. I wonder how long it will be before we hear something approaching common sense issuing from the mouths of these highly educated idiots.

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About transitionsl

I've been an English teacher for the best part of 30 years, teaching in England, Tanzania, Brunei, Australia and Hong Kong. I've always been interested in nature and environmental issues, but it was the discovery of Peak Oil about five years ago that galvanised me into trying to help my local community to prepare for what will be a dramatically different world to the one many of us have been used to. I've been helping to run a transition group, following the guidelines created by Rob Hopkins's Transition Movement in the UK. This blog is an attempt to engage in discussion with a wider group of people in Hong Kong on the ways to transition from our current oil dependency to a state of fossil-free local resilience.
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