Hard Times, Impending Bummers, and Resilient Communities

As I was leaving Trader Joe’s parking lot today, I glanced at the homeless guy as he raised his cardboard sign.  I only caught the first word on his sign “hardtimes….”. For several blocks I mulled over going back and giving him some money.  I was also thinking of my friend, a metal worker, who was angry about a couple of recent bills for emergency doctor’s office visits; “Ten minutes, $250 and $325! And I have medical insurance!” he exclaimed several times, outraged. Turns out February is a slow month, and the go-go days of the construction industry seem long gone. He has a wife and two kids and pays $780 a month in health insurance ( up $45 as “he had a birthday” said the insurance company recently).Homeless

The recent unprecedented cold weather froze lots of pipes around town, and as a general contractor,  I got a month of good work putting a couple of condos back together.

All of these thoughts came together, precipitated by the homeless guy’s” hardtimes”, and reminded me of all the possible bummers we face;  Peak oil and rising gasoline demand worldwide, honey bee’s dying off en mass, fracking water contamination,… this year’s predicted 1.5 million new residential foreclosures, the $1.2 trillion commercial leases coming due in the next couple of years that are currently underwater, the forecast droughts coming to the Southwest, California, and thinning snow packs everywhere; And then there’s inflation, massive weather events, climate change, and the several $ trillion state pension funds are short. And rising sea levels, melting permafrost, thawing methane in the seas, demise of the bluefin tuna, antibiotic resistant viruses and bacteria, super weeds, etc, etc, etc. .  1/2 of the Boomers have no retirement!

Any one of these are  ”big enough whys”, compelling reasons to prepare ourselves by redeveloping our lives sustainably, que no?? Wouldn’t it be fabulous if we had such an affordable lifestyle that with our freed up money we could afford locally grown food? I mean serious numbers, say 50% of the groceries were produced within 500 miles??!!

What if we didn’t all need to own a car, because car shares and mass transit were so convenient, and many services and destinations were within walking on pedestrian friendly streets?  What if the neighborhood had a district heating system powered by renewable energy?

The homeless guy could be part of a farm coop, my friend the metal worker would have all kinds of work, fabricating solar dohickies and renewable thingamajigs, and I’ll be assisting neighborhoods in going sustainable! Put your request in!

See all the catagories on this website? I’m proposing we bring innovation to each one, and then bring all the innovations together as we redevelop neighborhoods. Let’s get resilient, let’s learn to share stuff, collaborate. Let’s transform hard times and head off impending bummers. Let’s make sustainable real.

Image courtesy of Thomasrye.com

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