‘Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet’

So says former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now an activist on climate change and environmental sustainability.

As New York City’s mayor from 2002 to 2013, Michael Bloomberg pushed sustainability. Now 75, the businessman and philanthropist has co-authored a book, Climate of Hope, in which he says that “cities, businesses, and citizens can save the planet.” Although I was an editor at Bloomberg News for several years, I hadn’t talked in depth with its outspoken founder until we sat down for this interview.

Susan Goldberg: Roughly two-thirds of people will live in cities by 2050. There are 31 cities now that are considered megacities, with 10 million people or more; by 2030 there’ll be 41 cities of that size. Why are people flocking to cities?

Michael Bloomberg: The marketplace is clearly saying this is where we want to be. Big cities provide culture; they can be much more cosmopolitan and give you a faster pace of life. It’s not for everybody; some people want a different pace, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had the governor of Montana sitting right here yesterday—the whole population of the state is about a million people. I mean, that’s smaller than the Bronx! The beauty of the world is diversity. The beauty of America is basically we get along. There’s lots of places in the world where diversity is not exactly tolerated.

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