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In tough times, some of us see protecting the climate as a luxury, but that's an outdated 20th-century worldview from a time when we thought industrialization was the end goal, waste was growth, and wealth meant a thick haze of air pollution.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.
If mass media, social isolation in the suburbs, alienating workplaces and long car commutes create a bunker mentality, the Internet does the opposite.
We're not going to persuade people in the developing world to go without, but neither can we afford a planet on which everyone lives like an American. Billions more people living in suburbs and driving SUVs to shopping malls is a recipe for planetary suicide. We can't even afford to continue that way of life ourselves.
I think we're going to start to see a new model of civic advocacy where people get together once in a while to protest, but it's more about an ongoing, sustained engagement in issues, networks and communities about which people care.
We get so little news about the developing world that we often forget that there are literally millions of people out there struggling to change things to be fairer, freer, more democratic, less corrupt.
There's no really rosy scenario ahead, where climate change just doesn't happen, but I believe we don't have the ethical right to throw our hands up in the air and say, 'Game over.' Whatever pathway we choose, our descendants will be dealing with that reality for centuries to come.
There are a lot of different ways of building a prosperous society, and some of them use much less energy than others. And it is possible and more practical to talk about rebuilding systems to use much less energy than it is to think about trying to meet greater demands of energy through clean energy alone.
Make no mistake: Tackling climate change is vital. But to see everything through the lens of short-term CO2 reductions, letting our obsession with carbon blind us to the bigger picture, is to court catastrophe.
The planet's biggest problems have to do with sustainability, environmental decline, global poverty, disease, conflict and so forth. Really, they're all interconnected - it's one big problem, which is that the way we're doing things can't go on.