Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Mall That Would Save America

The Mall That Would Save America - New York Times:
"More mind-boggling than the sheer scope of Destiny is its agenda. Congel emphasizes that renewable energy alone will power the mall, with its 1,000 shops and restaurants, 80,000 hotel rooms, 40,000-seat arena and Broadway-style theaters. As a result, Congel says, Destiny will jump-start renewable-energy markets nationwide with its investments in solar, wind, fuel cells and other alternative-energy sources. But if Congel does manage to erect his El Dorado, will it really help cure our country's addiction to scarce and highly polluting fossil fuel? Or will it just be a cleverly marketed boondoggle that may create more environmental problems than it solves?

All by itself, the mall would boost America's solar-electric power capacity by nearly 10 percent. ''On every level, this project astounds,'' Senator Hillary Clinton said in April, claiming that the mall could make the area a hub for clean technologies and deliver a shot of adrenaline to upstate New York's ailing economy. To help foot the bill for Congel's project, Clinton and other politicians successfully persuaded Congress to provide financial incentives for mega-scale green development projects. (Destiny, of course, will face little competition to reap those benefits.)"

Oh right, a green mall...
is that an oxymoron?
The concept of extreme consumerism giving back to the environment through green generation but what of the goods that are being sold?

"An avid Bush supporter who already has 25 shopping malls to his name, Congel himself is not a man you would expect to entertain an eccentric clean-energy vision. It first seized him in 2001, soon after 9/11 -- and after the project was under way -- during a visit to the D-Day beaches in Normandy. ''There I was looking at those pure white graves of tens of thousands of kids that died for freedom,'' Congel reflects, sitting on the veranda of his 6,000-acre farm just outside Syracuse, where he has imported Russian wild boar and other exotic game for hunting. ''Today our kids are dying in a war for oil. Petroleum addiction is destroying our country, our economy, our environment.''

Then what of a mall?

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