West Coast people can be really precious. The Resilience Project has benefited immensely from the experience of many Californians and Oregonians–especially those involved with Oregon Tilth and CalCAN. They have escaped the incestuous, self-referential cliques which have captured so many well meaning people on both coasts and even Minnesota and a few university towns in the Midwest.
Lately, this learned urban elite lambast Trump and his minions for their willfully ignorant approach to ecosystems. These insular people do not realize that many rural people who voted for Trump have exactly the skills and values needed to create resilient communities. And they have done so. These country people bit their lips and voted for hope and change, though they detested the messenger.
“Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees include Wall Street plutocrats, fossil fuel moguls and far-right ideologues. They plan to gut environmental regulations, reverse efforts to minimize climate change and accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels, ostensibly to revive the economy.
“Their efforts, however, actually would cause immense economic harm. In response, local communities must build widespread levels of human resilience and reorient economic activity to restore the environment.
“Trump and his moguls epitomize what Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, a founder of ecological economics, called the “businessman’s view of economic life.” He meant that many business executives believe their sole job is to generate profits by continually expanding the production and consumption of products at the lowest cost to them, ignoring all but the most obvious environmental and social impacts.
“This mindset has resulted in today’s ‘take it, make it, waste it’ economic system. Massive amounts of materials, including fossil fuels, are endlessly extracted, leaving behind degraded ecological systems and depleted biodiversity. These materials are made into products frequently filled with toxic substances that are often discarded after brief usage. Throughout the value chain, gigantic amounts of toxic waste, including greenhouse gasses, are released back into the environment.
“A report last August by the United Nations Environment Program found that global material extraction has tripled over the past four decades, from 22 billion tons in 1970 to 70 billion tons in 2010. The greatest impact is climate disruption, followed closely by ocean acidification. Other effects include high levels of eutrophication of soils and water bodies, large-scale soil erosion, the rapid alteration of the Earth’s nitrogen cycle due to fertilizer use in industrial agriculture, and species extinction at 1,000 times the natural rate.
“These accelerating ecological changes have led many scientists to declare that human activities are dramatically remaking the way our entire planet functions, putting civilization as we know it — including all economic activity — at grave risk.
“Few people are prepared to deal with these profound changes. The impacts are consequently aggravating the toxic stresses people already struggle with. They are also generating countless new traumas for millions worldwide, resulting from more extreme weather events, water and food shortages, new illnesses and diseases, the forced migration of large populations, and more.”
Many who are called upon to travel to Africa and Asia (or have to live in any city) echo these sentiments. We see the destruction everywhere we turn in such places. But a few of us get to return to the vast stretches of the US and Canada which are returning to the wild.
The places where Trump voters live are mainly those areas where our present system has worked well to conserve ecosystems and is now reviving and enhancing them. My neighbors and friends in these areas have the local resilience skills which enable them to survive and thrive in the countryside. We require very little from the cities and often wish they would go away.
They have learned from past disturbances and hardships to better understand themselves and the world and increase their personal and collective well-being. They have never lost their love of wildlife, natural ecosystems and community life. Sustainability and resilience are terms describing what they have always done.
Unfortunately, the city people don’t use full life-cycle accounting to see the consequences of their operations on our rural areas and pollution in China and other Asian countries. These folks pollute their own lands while flooding our markets with cheap toys. The city businessmen ignore all that in their greed.
The “cradle-to-cradle” restorative production systems they should be using are the ones many rural Trump supporters already use and always have. Companies that use this approach typically thrive, and innovate to create new businesses and jobs.
Trump has never been outside the big city bubble. Bill Clinton grew up in what is now Trump country, but was sucked into the big city values promulgated by an elite out of touch with rural life. He was the first President in a long unending line who lacked any grounding in the solid, conservative and conservationist values of rural America.
The Resilience Project at Meadowcreek would like to reverse the brainwashing of the urban elites. If you would like to escape this brainwashing and learn the basic skills and values which create resilience, come and see us. Or find any stable rural community. You’ll find those skills and values.
Quotes taken from: http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/35183843-78/ecological-economics-begin-at-the-local-level.html.csp