For those of you depressed that the two weeks in Copenhagen have not come up with a solution to climate change, then take heart – it’s just history repeating itself.
At the start of the 20th century, 200,000 horses lived in New York City and produced 5 million pounds of horse manure each day. It was an environmental and health catastrophe that affected every major city in the world.
In 1898, New York hosted the first international urban planning conference. Horse manure dominated the agenda. After 3 days (instead of the intended 10), the delegates gave up. They could see no solution to the problem and consequently believed that the great cities of the world were doomed.
The solution that saved the 20th century is one that appears to threaten the 21st century – the internal combustion engine.
When the solution to a given problem is not obvious, it is easy to assume that no solution exists. But history has shown us time and time again that such assumptions are totally wrong.