Bernie Sanders is the Devil

Bernie Sanders is the Devil.

I had a conversation this afternoon with a loved one of mine who reads the New York Times, and Bernie Sanders is the Devil.

I’ve just had it with these Bernie Bros. And Bernie Sanders is the Devil.

Bernie Sanders may have been endorsed by AOC. And Pramila Jayapal. And Sean King. (Among many, many others.) He may have drawn a crowd, with AOC, of 26,000 in Queens. But his only supporters are the White Bernie Bros (who cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 election), and Bernie Sanders is the Devil.

Hillary Clinton may have supported destroying Libya and, de facto, handing it over to warlords. The War in Iraq. The 1994 Crime Bill. She may have failed to campaign in Michigan during the general election (and there may have been outright Jim Crow tactics employed to suppress the Black vote in Detroit); run a terrible campaign; and only secured the Democratic nomination through a highly-corrupt (one might almost say rigged) Democratic primary process, but Bernie Sanders is responsible for her loss (and the President it gave our great nation), and for that reason, among others, he is the Devil.

Bernie Sanders is the Devil. That is why he can be hands down the most popular politician in the United States and still barely get covered in the corporate media, until, in desperation, with Sanders leading the polls in the lead-up to the Iowa Caucus, that media at last turns on him in the open, because he is the Devil.

Bernie Sanders might barely pass for a moderate social democrat in the Scandinavian countries at which US Americans so love to marvel, but he is, nonetheless, the Devil.

The Democratic Party may be imploding (have already imploded?) as the Democratic Establishment seeks frantically, in a McCarthyite frenzy, to pin responsibility for its abject failure (in 2016; all across the country; in the Courts; morally) on anything (Russia! Please Russia!) or anyone (primarily Bernie) other than itselves. Not on its utter abandonment of the working class. Or on its wholesale neoliberalization. Or on its promulgation of false solutions to economic distress; inequality; racial injustice; the climate crisis.

Bernie Sanders is the Devil. In truth, I never really liked him personally. But I never met him personally either.

Bernie Sanders is the Devil, and he’s also very old. Even older than the other leading candidates, who are all old (in our gerontocracy, Amy Klobuchar, at 59, seems downright youthful!). In our white supremacy, he doesn’t look any whiter than our other leading candidates, who are all white. (Andrew Yang can’t even get a mention these days.) He doesn’t look less white than Joe Biden, who, um, “come[s] out of the Black community.”

Bernie Sanders is the Devil, which is why, devil that he is, he tempted Elizabeth Warren in private with his outrageous claims (claims which stand in clear contradiction to his own public statements, his past actions, and, in fact, his whole record) that courageous CNN was left to heroically publicize, sans evidence, only coincidentally, the night before the final (and CNN-broadcasted) Democratic debate.

But I think you get the point. Bernie Sanders may (still) be the most popular politician in the United Staes. He may stand the best chance of defeating the omnicidal buffoon in the White House. He may have, by far, the most consistent record of principled commitment to social justice of any of the remaining Democratic candidates; and the most compelling vision for confronting the climate crisis; and the clearest position in support of, among other things, Medicare for All. He may be the best available answer to all that ails a Democratic Party that has abandoned everything it once stood for in an unwinnable race to the bottom with a Republican Party increasingly intent on the destruction of the human species.

He may be all that (and a bag of chips, to use an expression not half as dated as every other sentence that comes out of the current Democratic “frontrunners” mouth), but he’s a socialist, and so the Devil, and for that reason, must be stopped. The New York Times told me so.

So just remember, about Bernie Sanders (aka, the Devil): “Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done.” I look forward to the CNN interview when, challenged with this assertion, Bernie Sanders defends his record, only to have the interviewer turn to Hillary Clinton (waiting in the wings) to ask, “And when Bernie was getting nothing done… ?”

But this isn’t about Hillary Clinton and getting the War in Iraq, and the PATRIOT Act, and regime change in Libya done. This isn’t about Elizabeth Warren, who, among the current candidates, is the person I would second most like to see become our next president, and who will have my full support should she win the Democratic nomination. This is about Bernie Sanders, the socialist Jew from Brooklyn who for 40 years has been a voice of relative sanity in the wilderness of our toxic politics.

Bernie Sanders. The Devil. That’s who.

Postscript: No matter that the 2016 Sanders campaign sparked nationwide movements that number among the few authentically hopeful signs in our national politics. Devil!

No matter that Sanders actually vigorously campaigned on behalf of Clinton after losing the 2016 Democratic primary. Devil!

No matter that even Sanders is a creature of the military-industrial war machine, and has his own crimes in Iraq for which to account. Devil…

The Year of the Bus?

Which a-way? Bus-a-way

I started 2019 by calling for it to be The Year of the Train. Reflecting back, perhaps it was the year of the bus instead. As we look to the future, and confront deepening uncertainty and accelerating effects of the global climate crisis, we will be forced to make tough decisions and heartbreaking trade-offs. Retreat was one of Grist’s “words that defined our planet in 2019” – I hadn’t planned to start this year by calling for prevention of war with Iran, and as I cover in my first planned post of 2020, the 2020s must be the decade during which global action on the climate crisis finally becomes commensurate with the scale of the problem.

Still, perhaps it will prove untenable to defend our much-maligned subway system, with its immense underground (and hence flood-menaced) network of tunnels. I love the New York City Subway, and certainly hope not to see it be among the things from which we are forced to retreat, but in celebrating the victory on 14th Street and the model of the 14th Street Busway, we should be looking to a future free of personal automobiles in which buses, bikes, pedestrians, scooters, one-wheelers, and all the rest move freely, safely, (and ideally, respectfully!) through public space.

Contemporary New Yorkers inherit 150 years of automobile-centric infrastructure, and from the Brooklyn Bridge to the region’s vast network of roads, highways, and expressways, we should be looking to reimagine, repurpose, and dismantle as needed in service to a vision of a just and sustainable New York.

Postscript: For the sake of thoroughness, I think it’s worth noting that “Subways had best on-time performance in six years during 2019” while “NYC bus ridership fell for sixth straight year in 2019, hit lowest level in decades“, so calling 2019 The Year of the Bus would probably be a little optimistic. We should be working to turn the limited victories on 14th Street and elsewhere into a more coherent city-wide program of Bus Rapid Transit, protected bus lanes (entirely separated from traffic and/or camera-enforced), etc., etc.

The 2020s

Beauty can be a great motivator of action

The 2020s must be the most transformative decade in human history (in a good way), or we’ll confront the near-inevitability that the decades of the 2030s, ’40s and beyond will each, in turn, outstrip the previous as the most transformative in a bad. When even BlackRock and McKinsey are signaling that the climate crisis will be the defining issue of coming decade, there can be little doubt about the extent to which our world has changed. Great recent reporting from The Intercept on plastics / the petrochemical industry, the current US Administration’s deregulatory agenda (The War on the War on Cancer), pesticides, and how US companies are undermining progress in “healing” the ozone layer point to the complexity of the interlocking nexus of interests / challenges we face as we work to move rapidly towards climate / ecological sanity and justice.


I’ve previously outlined (in The Time for Climate Action is Now) a “spectrum of actions – ranging from the strictly personal to the more broadly institutional and political” which people committed to climate action might take. Foundational to almost any climate action though is simply being informed, so as you consider what your role will be in this defining struggle of our age, I urge you to make getting, being, and staying informed about climate issues a priority: The Intercept, Democracy Now!, The Guardian, and InsideClimate News are all great starting points.

For my part, I’ve resolved to make climate work my central focus in the coming years, and will be devoting the next nine months to figuring out exactly what that means. To that end, I imagine / hope that the way in which I’m using this blog / newsletter will evolve.

Destruction, another

After all, we’ve been given a small gift. Generally, when asked to count to 10, a person starts with one, but although the online debates about whether a new decade has or hasn’t started have now mostly died down, the fact remains that there are roughly 11 years from now until the end of 2030. In the end, the atmosphere, the ocean, and the soil obey their own laws, and thresholds breached and tipping points passed can’t be argued back into equilibrium by appealing to IPCC reports, but to the extent that we’ve set an arbitrary goal of “by 2030” (and I’m giving us until the end of 2030), we have one year to gather ourselves and ten to act.

Destruction of beauty, perhaps the greatest of all, so in honoring the legacy and immense courage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., here’s to flowers in winter (when they’re meant to be; prunus mume, I think), hope in the dark, and a new world growing to replace the old


We Have to Prevent a War with Iran

Those of us who lived through the attacks of September 11th, 2001 should remember the lies and manufactured hysteria that were used to justify the disastrous invasions (and ongoing occupations) of Afghanistan and Iraq. We should be wise enough to recognize when history threatens to repeat itself.

Imagine: Someone punches you in the face; you slap the hand that punched you; and then that person who punched you threatens to cut your head off.

Imagine: A US Secretary of Defense openly flies to Canada on a commercial flight to meet with the Canadian Prime Minister and, upon leaving the Toronto International Airport, is assassinated by a missile the launch of which was ordered from Tehran. (In the aftermath, Iran criticizes American aggression throughout the North American region.)

Imagine: That in 1953, the US toppled the democratically-elected government of Iran; that, thereafter, until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the US propped up a brutal dictator in Iran; that, heroically, as Ben Affleck has shown us, the US opposed the Iranian Revolution in Iran; that having failed to reverse it, the US underwrote Saddam Hussein’s nearly decade-long war on Iran during which Iraq extensively employed chemical weapons and more than a million Iranians died; that shortly before the end of the Iran-Iraq War, the US shot down a civilian Iranian airliner, killing all 290 people onboard; that the US has worked for decades, employing a strategy of hybrid war – including covert operations and devastating sanctions – to undermine the Iranian government and destroy the Iranian state; that after the remarkable breakthrough embodied in the JCPOA (or Iran Nuclear Deal), the US withdrew from the Deal in barely more than two years’ time in spite of the fact that Iran had been, and continued to be, in compliance with the Deal’s terms; that the US continues to subject Iran to some of the harshest peace-time financial sanctions in modern history; and that after all that, the media in this country still has the audacity to characterize the recently-assassinated General Soleimani as a “bad guy,” as if that somehow served as a justification for extrajudicial killing via drone bombing of a senior official of a major world power.

Imagine. Then act: We have to prevent a war with Iran.

The stakes – for the Iranian people, the people of the United States, the rest of the world, and for desperately needed global climate action – could not be clearer, so I’ll simply urge you to remain critical in the face of the US corporate media’s drumbeat for war. Iran did not so much strike bases “where US troops were stationed” as target bases that were understood to be connected with the US drone war across West Asia while warning in advance that they intended to do so. There have been no casualties, and there need not be any further escalation. This is not a defense of the Iranian government, but a plea for rejection of further escalation and business-as-usual US militarism at a moment of profound global historical urgency.

We should be ashamed what has been done in our names. We should take courage from the people’s movements challenging corrupt and unjust regimes all around the world. We should reject false narrative and bald-faced lies being propagated in the media.

We have to prevent a war with Iran.

Work Hard. Have Fun. Make Dystopia…

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Beneath the scaffolding in front of a now-shuttered Duane Reade, an impromptu Amazon logistics hub

It’s the holiday season in the United States which means, among other things, even more frenzied hyperconsumption than usual, and no single company is more synonymous today with this country’s unique brand of consumerism than Amazon.

Amazon, which paid no federal income tax on more than $11 billion of corporate profit in 2018.

Amazon, which is named for the vast rainforest now under thread of destruction and which, at least on my browser, knocks the rainforest entirely off the first page of Google search queries.

Amazon, the CEO of which is, even after his divorce, the richest person in the world.

That Amazon. The one, it seems, that almost everyone in the US uses these days. The sprawling paragon of surveillance capitalism. The defense contractor extraordinaire (the CEO of which recently proclaimed, of his company’s relationship with the Department of Defense, “We are the good guys.”) The cloud platform that hosts/dominates much of the contemporary Internet. The online retail behemoth that has clogged US streets with its deliveries and US landfills with those deliveries’ detritus.

Amazon: Isn’t it about time you stopped using it?

Bezos is not your friend and the company’s business model is driving us towards panoptic dystopia and global climate crisis.

But as LeVar Burton used to say: Don’t take my word for it.

Here’s Reveal’s piece, Behind the Smiles, on how “Amazon’s internal injury records expose the true toll of its relentless drive for speed”.

Here’s Jeremy Scahill’s interview (jump to the 50 minute mark), from his podcast Intercepted, with journalist Emily Guendelsberger on her new book “On the Clock, What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane”.

Here’s a segment from Democracy Now! and some Rutgers investigative journalism students entitled “As Amazon Hits $1 Trillion in Value, Its Warehouse Workers Denounce “Slavery” Conditions”.

And here’s a Vox video short, “The environmental cost of free 2-day shipping” – it’s short, but pairs nicely with the slightly longer, “The Story of Stuff”, from The Story of Stuff Project.

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For the Bird: Love the USPS, but can Amazon has public space for free whenever Amazon likes?

As for the purchases, you don’t need all that crap, at least not most of it, and neither do your friends and loved ones (and acquaintances and colleagues). Here in New York, we’re lucky to still have locally-owned businesses, and if we don’t want to see them destroyed, we ought to patronize them. Slight differences in convenience and price should easily be offset by the value of human relationships and functioning communities.

Oh, and if you’re salving your conscience about your overconsumption by religiously recycling – keep doing it; it’s important and worthwhile – but sadly, much of that stuff is still ending up in landfills and incinerators at best, and oceans and rivers at worst, and the whole push to personalize the problem of mass waste is being underwritten by the plastics industry. Sorry.

The consumption is the problem. Amazon is built on fueling it. Let’s give that name back to the trees.

Good sticker. Wishing you a happy, restful, and Amazon-the-company-free holiday season!

Water Is Life

I can also recommend the excellent The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks as a good jumping off point for new students of New York’s old water system

It’s Thanksgiving in New York. Approaching five hundred years ago, the first historically-documented European passed through the waters of what is now known as New York Bay and encountered the region’s Lenape inhabitants. Approaching four hundred years ago, the first permanent European settlement was established in what is today New York City. New York was among the earliest significant outposts of the European settler-colonial project in North America, and yet our American History textbooks are largely silent on the early history of New York City (perhaps owing to its Dutch roots) and the genocidal roots it has in common with the colonies at Jamestown and Plymouth. Only in studying the start of the Revolution War do most schoolchildren in the US first begin to read about the City that for more than two centuries has been at the heart of US power and imperialism, and for approaching one century has been the/a center of the global order which is now trembling.

Three years ago, in confronting a manifestation of that order – the Dakota Access Pipelinewater protectors at Standing Rock injected the phrase that gives this post its title into global consciousness. Water has been central to the history of New York City: its preternaturally excellent natural harbor and strategic location at the heart of the colonial Atlantic Seaboard positioned New York to emerge as first a mercantile and commercial and then financial hub; the vision (and perhaps greed) of its elites in the early 19th century allowed New York to capitalize upon (and drive) the westward thrust of US imperialism through the construction of the Erie Canal and the cementing – by capture of Great Lakes trade on top of that of much of New England – of New York’s premier position among North American cities; even the consolidation of its five boroughs, in 1898, into one vast megacity had to do with water (as well as the growth of rapidly burgeoning Chicago), though in that case, with its bridging and tis lack, for, although New York is blessed in many ways – and before the devastation of colonization and industrialization, was evidently blessed much more with a natural wealth that was, to the first European visitors, truly staggering – as the City expanded, polluted, and despoiled, it ran up consistently against limitations in the availability of potable water.

Beset again and again by outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases (no coincidence that the purview of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encompasses both Drinking Water and Wastewater), only in 1842, with the opening of the first Croton Aqueduct, did the City, at last, secure a steady source of clean drinking water; commentators at the time believed it would be generations before the City required a greater supply, and yet such was New York’s greed for (and profligacy with) water that within a few decades, the City was once again pushing up against the limits of its water supply.

Fast forward to today, and the vast majority of New Yorkers give basically no thought to the source, security, or infrastructure underlying the availability of their water, and yet New York’s water system is one of City’s most remarkable infrastructural accomplishments (and perhaps one of the world’s). To quote from the NYC DEP‘s own New York City 2018 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report:

The New York City Water Supply System provides approximately one billion gallons of safe drinking water daily to more than 8.6 million residents of New York City, and to the millions of tourists and commuters who visit the City throughout the year. The water supply system also provides about 105 million gallons a day to approximately one million people living in the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Ulster. In all, the New York City Water Supply System provides nearly half the population of New York State with high-quality drinking water.

New York City gets its drinking water from 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes spread across a nearly 2,000-square-mile watershed. The watershed is not located in New York City, but rather upstate, in portions of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains that are as far as 125 miles north of the City. The New York City Water Supply System… consists of three individual water supplies called the Catskill/Delaware supply… the Croton supply… and a groundwater supply in southeastern Queens… [from which water] has not been delivered to customers in many years.

In 2018, New York City received a blend of drinking water from the Catskill/Delaware and Croton supplies. The Catskill/Delaware supply provided approximately 94 percent of the water, and approximately six percent was supplied by Croton.

The Report, which I encourage New Yorkers to read in its entirety, includes basic information (for example, about treatment of New York City’s water supply; see image below for more details) and remarkable facts (for example, that the 85-mile-long Delaware Aqueduct – currently undergoing repairs which themselves reflect the technical sophistication and capacity of the system and those maintaining it – is the longest continuous tunnel in the world). Readers who are interested in system maintenance, water quality testing, watershed preservation, and water conservation efforts will find the report an accessible and concise summary, and those in New York and looking to learn more might also enjoy paying a visit to the Queens Museum which has a fascinating, if dated, topographic map showing the extent of the City’s water supply (along with the famous Panorama of the City of New York, which offers – in view of rising sea levels and climate crisis-driven extreme weather – a sobering perspective on New York’s future relationship with the bodies of water which have defined it).

Again, Miss Frizzle covers all of this in the above-mentioned primer

Given that my own time has been limited this fall, I’ll leave it at that – more of an invitation to those who might be interested to dig deeper than an attempt at (or pretense of) offering anything more comprehensive. For readers looking to go deeper, Ted Steinberg’s Gotham Unbound and the incomparable Gotham (by Edwin Burrows and Mike Wallace) and Greater Gotham (by Wallace alone) offer treasure troves of historical perspective on their common theme (that is, Gotham, the origin of which name may have something to do with goats), while Nick Estes recent Our History is the Future offers both further insights regarding the ongoing struggle at Standing Rock and a necessary corrective to (even excellent) histories which fail to center indigenous experiences in making sense of how we came to be where we are.

Shit in the Water

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Although 1 WTC and the ruined pilings of a once-great pier may seem, at first, the most salient features of the image, a keen observer, noting the disturbance of the water beneath the cantilevered stretch of the esplanade, might be led to ask: “I know what sharks do when there’s blood in the water, but what do they do when there’s shit?”

It’s raining today in New York, and so felt fitting to finally write about sewage. According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), “heavy rainfall” can lead to “combined sewer overflows” (or CSOs) owing to the fact that New York, like many City’s with aging 19th century infrastructure, has an, in large part, combined sewer system in which the same pipes carry both stormwater runoff and sewage. The nonprofit Riverkeeper offers some further statistics on CSO events in NYC (“[more] than 27 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater discharge out of 460 combined [CSOs]… each year”); the content of those CSOs (“raw sewage from homes, businesses and industries, as well as stormwater runoff and all the debris and chemicals that wash off the street or are poured in storm drains”); and some potential solutions to the CSO problem (green streets, street trees, green roofs, and rain barrels). Readers who are interested in keeping abreast of when and where CSO events occur in NYC should consider signing up for Notify NYC alerts.

Still, thankfully, the vast majority of New York City’s sewage flows to the City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants which, together, treat more than 1 billion gallons of wastewater each day. Readers who live in New York, I encourage you to look over the list of treatment plants to see with how many of them you are familiar. Most of us know the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant with its rudely nicknamed anaerobic digester eggs which, alone, process just shy of 20% of all of the City’s wastewater. I can say that, personally, of the plants, I can place the Hunt’s Point, North River (atop which sits Riverbank State Park), Owl’s Head (the smell from which wafts towards the increasingly hip Brooklyn Army Terminal at times), Rockaway (which we pass on our way from the ferry terminal to the beach), and Ward’s Island (which sits not so far from Robert Moses old headquarters), which is to say, I’m not personally aware of the locations of more than half of New York City’s wastewater treatment facilities beyond just having glanced at those locations on Google Maps.

That should give you an idea of my expertise. If you’re longing for a true deep dive on the historical development of New York’s remarkable sewer system – how the City went from dumping increasingly staggering volumes of untreated sewage directly into its surrounding water bodies (through stories of oysters grown fat on human feces, the accompanying spread of oyster-born typhoid, and the final closure of New York Harbor’s legendary oyster beds) to dumping now, still staggering volumes of untreated sewage into those water bodies, but alongside far more staggering volumes of treated wastewater – I can recommend Ted Steinberg’s Gotham Unbound and the work and tours of Steve Duncan as a few helpful jumping off points.

For readers interested in the technical aspects of New York’s wastewater treatment process, I can do no better than the DEP itself; this description shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to read and offers an accessible description of the steps that lead from untreated “influent” to treated “effluent” and “sludge cakes,” which are “managed by outside contractors who take it to landfills for disposal or further process it to recover its value as a nutrient-rich soil amendment.”

I imagine many readers will be heartened to learn that:

“As part of the mayor’s plan for OneNYC, we have a goal of zero-landfilling of biosolids by 2030. This means we will develop a program to reuse all biosolids beneficially. Some of the further processing technologies that can be used to qualify biosolids for reuse include composting, drying, and gasification or pyrolysis. New York City produces about 1,400 tons/day of biosolids or about 60 truckloads! Such a large quantity spread out over our 6 dewatering facilities means that our beneficial use program will need to be diverse and include multiple types of further treatment.”

Readers may also appreciate that as part of NYC’s Open Data initiative, a data set containing the names of all the establishments which were “in significant noncompliance with applicable pretreatment standards and other requirements” is available on the DEP website.

Given that my time is somewhat limited at the moment, and too much typing makes my body ache, I’ll briefly narrow the focus: Every one of New York’s 14 wastewater treatment plants lies in the floodplain. Each one of them sits right next to a water body. Couple that fact with the unfortunate reality that our largely combined sewer system means that rising sea levels will threaten to eventually swamp the outflow points, and – post-Sandy – the stage is set for potentially grim scenarios in which combined sewage outflows become combined sewage inflows, and untreated wastewater mixed with rainwater begins to flood city streets at the same time that wastewater treatment facilities themselves are inundated by storm surge events.

The Modern Infrastructure section of the current iteration of OneNYC points to a number of piecemeal projects and solutions being undertaken and implemented across the five boroughs, but the larger fact remains unchanged, that our political leadership, like most of the population, remains in deep, passive denial about the fundamentally-shifted realities of the world in which we are now living.

What do we do if rising seas and more frequent and extreme storms begin to eat away at the fundamental systems and infrastructures upon which we all rely? Managed retreat remains a dirty term for now, and based on the East Side Coastal Resiliency debacle currently unfolding on the Lower East Side, sea walls are likely, increasingly, to be the call of the day, at least in Lower Manhattan, but setting aside both retreat and fortification (flight or fight), no real progress can be made until our political conversation radically shifts in the direction of biogeophysical fact. The water will almost certainly rise significantly by century’s end – probably sooner – and owing to rising tides and the myriad other disruptions already unfolding, our water, sewer, electrical, food, and solid waste infrastructures will all be menaced. Piecemeal solutions will fail, as will (idiotic) mega-projects like the massive barrier the Army Corps is considering building across the mouth of Lower New York Harbor from Breezy Point to Sandy Hook.

Solutions which will not fail are harder to conjure, but a first step towards imagining them is coming to climate acceptance and a second is embracing the urgent need for climate action, about both of which topics I’ll be writing more in the coming months.

Note: As with waste transfer station siting, the siting of wastewater treatment facilities is an environmental, racial, and social justice issue. Likewise, the massive ecological destruction wrought by our biological and chemical effluents merits far more attention than I was able to give it above. As Alon Levy points out, regarding transit, in his piece The Future Is Not Retro, evolving away from 20th century norms does not mean moving back towards those of the 19th; while it is instructive to look back to the closed-loop character of waste management in the early days of the settler-colonial project in New York (when carts laden with human and animal feces delivered this valuable fertilizer to surrounding farmlands), we cannot expect the future – even allowing for buzzword-y circular economics – to look much like that past.