Tag Archives: environemt

Kentuckians Getting it Right About Food and Coal

The Herald-Leader had two great pieces today about Kentuckians who are accepting and adapting. All quotes from the Herald-Leader.

The Sustainable Berea folks are trying to get the local government to understand that feeding ourselves is pretty important.

“It would be one little, tiny way that we would be a little more self-sufficient,” Katie Startzman said. She began a “Berea Chicken Brigade” Web site and used social-networking Web sites Facebook and Twitter to enlist support for the cause.

Of course that runs square against defenders of suburbia, where dependence is key. For if there was no dependence, how would “developers” and “corporations” make any money. “Would you buy a house next door to a bunch of chickens?” Berea developer Mary Eipert asked. “I think we have a right to expect to not live next to farm animals when you buy property in the city.”

Yeah, cause food don’t come from cities – it comes from grease pits and warehouses out on the strip! I’m a dumbass.

Council member Ronnie Terrill said he is beginning to get calls about chickens, and those calls tend to be “on the negative side.” Yeah, cause no one wants to be forced to confront reality in their own neighborhoods.

Berea resident Nancie Trimm (perhaps a Tea Party member during the day who otherwise hates the govment?) wondered who would enforce an ordinance. “Who is going to police this? That’s my question,” Trimm said. “I mean, that’s why you live in the city, so you don’t have to put up with stuff like that.” Yeah, like people trying to figure out how to keep someone like her fed.

Good for Sustainable Berea. Within just a few years a debate like this will seem stupid, as we all seek to keep ourselves feed. Read it here: http://www.kentucky.com/latest_news/story/1140814.html

The other piece is a commentary by Henry Riekert,a shepherd, former Herald-Leader contributing columnist and a former chairperson of Kentuckians For The Commonwealth.

Henry points out the benefits of going to renewable energy as opposed to our current strategy of wars and pollution.

Of course, that runs square against the defenders of the status quo. Henry clearly explains the coal industry’s strategy is to “dehumanize the opposition in a deliberate attempt to incite violence against opponents. Activists are now ‘jihadists’ and science is the jihadists’ ‘religion.”

In opposition to this, Henry’s humanity spills out: “Wow, and I thought we were simply citizens participating in a democracy. Science took us to the moon, cures the sick child and gives us a glimpse at tomorrow. “

He writes: “Ironically, it used to be coal miners who were dehumanized, beaten and shot by the coal bosses. Union members were communists, puppets of Stalin. Now, advocates of a clean, lasting technology — one that won’t threaten extinction but will create millions of new jobs — are brothers with Osama bin Laden.”

His concluding question is dead on:  “Who do you think is telling the truth?”

His words are powerful. Read them here: http://www.kentucky.com/589/story/1140145.html


Filed under Economy, Environment

A Real Regional Agenda

A new world is upon us.  Are we really ready to deal with it?   There is a lot of work being done by our regional leaders to help us with “recovery.”

Yet far too much time is being wasted these days on forging regional “relationships” for the purpose of increasing economic development.   In essence what is happening is that regional leaders are simply trying to keep doing what worked for communities from the 1950s to the 1980s – smokestack chasing.  In reality, that kind of economic development is dead, and has been for at least two decades.

Sure, the mantra is a little different now:  we need the “creative class” to be our economic driver.  We need clever people, mostly young, to come here and start companies that will provide lots of jobs and an expanding revenue stream.   However, this is still smokestack chasing.  It is still the belief that something from the outside will save us from our present predicaments and return us to our dream world.

Here’s the reality: we aren’t going back to that world. Yes, there will be some world-class individuals in this region who will thrive in the global economy.  But what about the rest of us?  We need to be preparing for the real future we face.

That future can be clearly laid out.  The tipping point has been reached on climate change:  the world is growing hotter faster than anyone had thought possible.  This is resulting in new, weirder, and more destructive weather patterns.  Peaking energy supplies combined with the desire to limit more carbon caused climate change will mean that distance, basic needs, and convenience will all be far more expensive than today. The global economy is now at the mercy of that peak in energy, as the costs to transcend distance becomes higher thus negating advantages of cheaper labor.  And that labor isn’t as cheap as it once was anyway.  Bottom line: goods from far away won’t be nearly so cheap anymore.   Further, globalization has pushed down our wages, and the reset caused by this economic crisis will eliminate millions of jobs permanently. Lower wages and higher prices are looming for a society so completely addicted and dependent on cheap goods.

Our region’s leaders should be focused on a real regional agenda that will help us address these challenges.   We need to be preparing for a regional future that is resilient and independent.     To help us, I’ve created some thoughts about what we need to be doing.  Continue reading

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Filed under Economy, Environment, New World Planning, Peak Oil