Conclusion

In all these cases (here just considered for the amalgamated core City of Toronto), behavioural changes, material re-regulation and changes to the political economy (e.g. public or private; outsourced or unionized) are being fought over by political actors of all sectors. To each major proposed change to the socio-ecological relationships—both material and discursive—in the urban region, there are two sometimes converging but often oppositional subtexts of expertization, technologization, and marketization/commodification on one hand, and of what Andrew Light (2003) calls "civic environmentalism", on the other hand. It needs to be seen to what degree, for example, the growing expertization, which has brought ecoplogical activists directly into the local state, has increased or decreased democratic involvement in these processes as it has meant de-legitimization of more grassroots forms of environmental knowledge production (Fischer 2000). It also remains to be seen whether expertization and the march of the environmentalists through the institutions of the local state leads to the effective disappearance of opposition and the cooptation of all potential critique. It needs to be asked, as well, whether the new governance of water, air and waste has led to new air, waste and water actor networks and ultimately a new urban political ecology of air, waste and water in Toronto.

The obstacles to creating a cleaner urban region remain formidable. On the one hand, it remains undeniable that Toronto remains an automobile region. As Sahely, Dudding and Kennedy note: "It is apparent that the parameters of greatest concern are the increasing inputs of gasoline and diesel and the associated output of CO2" (2003:478479). Indeed, the Ontario auto industry, of which Toronto is the geographical centre, is reported to have produced about 2.7 million cars in 2004, more than automobile powerhouse Michigan (Hakim 2004). The region is also home to the world's largest car parts manufacturer, Magna Corporation. In the face of such overwhelming industrial power, any municipal metabolic politics must be kept in perspective. Toronto remains, as Lefebvre would have had it, a "society of controlled consumption" (2003) fired by a Fordist core that seems immune to any greening. The gap between the "cleaning" of the city and the continued automobile dependency is obvious and cannot easily be closed.

The mode of regulation of metabolic metropolitics remains contested. A rather surprising editorial in the influential Toronto Star of 21 November 2004 argued vehemently against the spread of recycling at the expense of "regular" garbage pick-up (and was met with equal vehemence by letter writers in the general public, many of whom criticized the Star for its lack of sensitivity to Toronto's ecological necessities). This intervention reminded Torontonians of the divisive politics around garbage, which the urban region experienced in the early 1990s, when the then NDP provincial government created a much criticized Interim Waste Authority to deal with the allegedly looming landfill crisis in the region; similarly, there still existed memories of the more recent struggle to prevent garbage from being shipped to the Adams Mine site in Northern Ontario (Perks, personal interview, 3 December 2003; Grier, personal interview, 2 December 2004).

Lastly, the environmentalists themselves are keeping up the pressure. As the ever-active TEA has pointed out repeatedly, despite the improvements in many areas, much needs to be done as air pollution, ground and water contamination and other systemic problems persist (see, for example, TEA 2005). And a recent study by a group called Pollution Watch found that pollution in Canada on the whole actually got dramatically worse in the past decade, with the Greater Toronto Area standing out as being relatively more polluted than other parts of the country (Pollution Watch 2004).

So, while not all is well in Miller's world of roll-out environmentalism, the principle of the City turning its attention to environmental issues has made inroads in the everyday life of the urban bureaucracy and is beginning to make a difference in people's homes and public spaces. Metabolic metropolitanism is here to stay. It will be difficult—at least in the area of collective consumption and individual households—to return to the days of linear metabolism and supply side thinking. Whether there is real attention paid to the civic activism that has brought ecological issues into the core of the governance system will have to be seen. In Toronto after neoliberalism, a tender peace has been struck between ecological modernizers, radical environmentalists and other interested groups (including the various industries). The new "sustainability fix" which has been proposed for the region by way of this compromise entails an incipient rethinking of the metabolic streams on which the city is built. It has now become the challenge for all involved to reconnect the focus on material streams with concerns about democracy, participation and social justice.

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