No, Virginia, the economy will not recover.

When will the economy recover? When will things get back to normal? When will there be enough jobs to provide full employment? These are the questions that everyone is asking?

What if the answer is “never?” What if the present way of living cannot be sustained? What if we have reached the end of the industrial era? What comes next?

My friend and sustainability associate, Dave Ewoldt, has what I think are some pretty good answers. Dave is entering the political arena by running as an Independent candidate for State Senate in Arizona. He is trying to bring the state political agenda into alignment with realistic strategies for making the transition to a sustainable society through relocalization. Here are some excerpts from his recent message.

A global growth economy based on cheap and abundant fossil fuels to both grow and transport our food thousands of miles, and to supply the raw materials for the cheap plastic throwaway goods we’ve come to rely on, is quickly drawing to a close. We are not going to see an economic recovery, because we are not in a recession. We are at the end of an historic period in human civilization. This period is drawing to a close as the logical consequence of abusing and misusing our planet as both an endless supply of resources and a bottomless pit for waste.

…..

Relocalizing means building community networks of mutual support. It means more family farms (many, many more) and making sure they’re not forced to sell out to developers. It means living wage jobs in clean, zero-waste industries that use renewable energy; that focus on rebuilding our local economic base, recapturing the skills and craftsmanship we’re lost to overseas off-shoring, outsourcing and the model of industrial efficiency that puts quantity above quality. As an added bonus, living wage jobs also directly address the issues of affordable housing and poverty.

Relocalization means making our cities human friendly and less reliant on cars. Less asphalt and more trees means less urban heat island effect and more natural carbon uptake. Plus, rebuilding, renovating, and remodeling for low-impact, energy efficient homes, businesses and infrastructure will keep local construction industries plenty busy for decades to come.

Rather than trying to be competitive in a global economy that’s heading south–in more ways than one–we have the opportunity to become global leaders in sustainable, steady-state local living economies.

If we work together to build a sustainable model here in Southern Arizona and the Sonora Desert, and demonstrate the many ways this improves quality of life, further economic prosperity will come from teaching other communities how to be sustainable.

If we don’t have a vision for where we want to go, we will end up somewhere else. Plus we’re going to discover the truth in the phrase, “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”


The Transition to Relocalization

In addition to supporting the strategy of relocalization, Dave Ewoldt will help the Transition Movement support and inspire community led responses around the relocalization strategy. A Transition Initiative is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction. There are thousands of initiatives around the world including Transition towns, cities, villages, universities, churches and more.

Read the complete article here.

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