Nobody is going to bail out rural America
Nobody is going to bail out rural America. No matter how bad things get, there is never going to be $700 billion of stop loss or reinvestment or economic stimulus for the countryside. Government is going to be there to look after besotted financiers in $5,000 suits and Gucci loafers a long time before it notices small town folks struggling to feed their families or gas up to get to work.
But that doesn’t mean that the Countryside can’t help us out of this mess. When the credit crisis abates and the debts of all the profligates have been forgiven, the nation will still have some tough choices. Will we rev up the same economic machine, built on the notion of cheap fossil fuel and limitless consumption, or will we shoot for something a little more sustainable? If it is the latter, rural communities have something to offer.
And here's his ideas:
- Localize food systems so we support area farmers more and global transportation less,
- Seek more sustainable alternatives to petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticide production agriculture,
- Open up the power grid so locally scaled and more environmentally sound approaches to power generation can compete for market share ,
- Cap carbon emissions so that we begin to acknowledge the hidden costs of pollution and monetize the value of rural expanses where the sky is still clean,
- Invest in clean, renewable fuels that we can create in the American countryside.
- And rethink the inevitability of endless suburban sprawl built on housing speculation, loosey-goosey credit markets, and the expectation of cheap gasoline.
One thing to give Alice Kryzan credit for is she's talking a lot about Western New York playing a role in a new green economy. That isn't wacky thinking, but I wonder how it can happen without a concerted local effort. This isn't really the kind of thing Kryzan (or Lee) can do for us at the Federal level. It's the kind of thing we must do for ourselves.
(link via The Rural Blog)
(The photo above was taken Friday in LeRoy.)