Houston, We Have a Problem

The image for this post is Houston, Texas, early this morning (4/19/2016). We here in Johnson County know this pain and fear all too well. Scenes like this are why I talk about making ours a resilient community. But what's even better is to also make us a regenerative, sustainable and inclusive community. This means fighting global warming locally. This means large expansions of renewable power and sensible soil and water conservation. And perhaps most importantly, this means gathering everyone (and I mean everyone) around the table. 

They'll always give you the caveat: "You cannot blame one isolated weather event on global warming."  And logically, that's true.  Climate and weather are different things.  More and more often, though, it is becoming plain that our weather patterns are being adversely affected, right here and now, not in some distant future.

Many people are addressing the single greatest challenge in human history by protesting oil companies, blaming big agriculture, blaming industrial colonialism and more.  All that blame is deserved and changes have to happen at those levels,  But the way to effect change globally is, as the bumper sticker says, to act locally.

We do this by working toward a regenerative community, one that supports itself, reinvigorates itself, and lives on cycles rather than chains.  Generating our own power, especially through wind and solar; generating our own food through local, organic, urban and rural farms and compost from local sources; generating our own transportation through walkable and bikeable communities and safe, efficient, clean mass-transit.

A sustainable Johnson County is one that can feed itself and power itself, one that can live in harmony with the river and the weather and the soil, rather than fighting it or worsening it or wasting it.

When natural disasters strike, the impact is always the worst for those at "the bottom of the ladder."  An inclusive society puts away the ladder and replaces it with a sphere.  There is no top or bottom, and we're all in it together.  As the late great Senator Paul Wellstone famously said, "We all do better when we all do better."

My campaign is about many issues, but among the most important is putting the brakes on urban sprawl, and stopping pouring concrete on farm land.  Stop tearing down our forests for private McMansions miles from community services.  Focus on far more sustainable in-fill development.  Keep it inside the city limits and put inclusive zoning requirements (consistent county-wide) on it to build an inclusive community.  And when it must be built outside municipal boundaries, keep it immediately adjacent to keep it close to more efficient community services.

A community that is regenerative, resilient, sustainable and inclusive might sound like magical thinking, but it is not.  Magical thinking is when you think that wasting resources and excluding neighbors will make your community stronger.