One of the defining aspects of our current civilization and one of the most worrying trends of modernity is our urbanization as a species. When we take the long view of human history, it becomes obvious that for 99% of our history, we have been a rural people, the majority of us making our living off the land and in small, agrarian communities.
Though history (especially the last 2,000 years or so) has been written by the pens of the powerful. Concentrated in urban centers, our collective dependence on rural areas and the people who lived and farmed there was a stalwart of our survival.
According to recent studies, we have recently crossed the threshold of becoming a majority urban-dwelling species. Over half of our more than 8 billion people live in urban centers around the world and that number is only expected to increase in years to come. What does this mean for our collective survival? Is our urban-ness sustainable and desirable? How can we forge a healthy, ecological civilizational paradigm that is built around billions of people living away from the land where the most basic necessities of our survival are found and cultivated?
To begin with, we want to recognize and affirm that it is imperative for us as humans to reverse the trend of increasing urbanization. According to UN Habitat, every WEEK, close to three million people migrate from rural areas into urban areas. If this trend continues, the crises that come with urbanization will only propagate and magnify.
While we can construct sustainable urban spaces with the amount of people currently living in cities, we simply cannot continue to depopulate rural areas where the natural resources for our survival are found.
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