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A Whole Systems Approach to Sustainability in NEO

 |  12/21/07 @ 12:31pm

We all want to make Cleveland, in particular, and Northeastern Ohio, in general, a more livable, sustainable, healthy, and happy place for future generations to come. Who could be against this? What is needed (and what this and other worthwhile organizations have been working on bringing together) is a wholistic, systematic approach to how we are going to be able to do this. Before we can begin to work on this collaborative effort to making NEO a healthier, more enjoyable and more sustainable place, however, we have to take a realistic look at the challenges that are facing us. Many are predicting, that the world is entering a period of change more drastic than anything that humanity has thus far encountered. The innerconnected and converging threats of climate change, peaking of world oil supply, water scarcity, increasing food prices and shortages, unconstrained population growth, and the general degredation of ecological systems as a whole are coming together in a perfert storm that is sure to bring challenging times to come. Some would say that is a euphimism. Author James Howard Kunstler has called this coming period of time "The Long Emergency."

Fortunately, there are myriad of solutions available--many of which have been discussed on this very website. The four major steps we need to take as a world, I believe, are (1) a rapid program of energy conservation and carbon sequestration, (2) a rapid expansion of renewable energy manufacturing and energy generation, (3) a rapid program to support local, sustainable agriculture, and (4) the "relocalization" of communities and economies and the rebirth of the ideal of loving one's neighbor.

On a local scale, NEO is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the growth of the renewable energy sector (if businesses and policy makers quit with their business-as-usual-token-environmentalism and get serious about the very real threats that are facing us.) In upcoming writings I hope to outline a wholistic program of sustainability for NEO.

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