Welcome to Feudalism, Inc., serf. Our government is founded on the principles and ideals of democracy, rule by the people through directly elected representatives. However, our representatives have been corrupted, and then incorporated. Corporate lobbies have for a long time, distorted the goals of government and who was actually benefiting, until today, where representatives of major corporations now occupy the most powerful positions in the land, big oil, energy, pharmaceutical, auto, healthcare, agribusiness, chemical, machinery-warfare, tobacco, banks, media, etc. This has become the land of the nothing is free, ruled by the few and dedicated to the few.
So in return we get genetically modified food with unknown effects and an FDA that can be bought off to release a class A carcinogen among the populous because it is zero calories and 200 times sweeter than sugar!!! Mismanaged agriculture has left us with 50-75 years left of topsoil worldwide and maybe that much time remaining of some fossil fuels while clean energy sources are available, under funded, and largely unpracticed.
Many in my field express their distaste for the term sustainability as a mere buzzword without definition. To me, this is its strength, for it is all encompassing, a Weltanschauung or zeitgeist that must take hold. But I feel that not many understand that sustainability is more than a method of design to attain developmental bonuses, tax incentives, and design awards. It is a lifestyle, individually and worldwide. It should pervade economics. It should guide politics.
The reason the world hates us, the reason we were attacked on the 11th of September, 2001, is not because of our freedoms, but rather because of our liberties, those we take from others to support our current lifestyle. It might take fifteen planets to support the requirements of the average American. Vicious civil wars are being fought in Africa over control of diamond mines, corporate paramilitary groups rape and kill villagers in Indonesia and the Philippines in the name of imperialism. Our military uses chemical weapons in the drug wars in Columbia killing the fertile soil and driving honest farmers of all agricultural types off of the land, and polluting the water supply. Despite our claims, we actually subvert and prevent Democracy all over the globe, until we find a leader that can be bribed or is submissive to our corporate interests as low-wage factories open all across the country. I guess it depends upon your definition of Democracy, rule by the people and free elections or third world enforced servitude.
There are two sides we can take, perpetual war on the right, that alienates the international community, unless regime change is imposed in every nation, breeding more terrorism and making our habitats less safe, with success or failure resulting in the failure of the economy as the dollar slides and the euro gains support and circulation or do we reject imperialism, what America has become, a symbol of feudal corporate oligarchy. In no way, does this mean appeasement, we must find, arrest, and convict the surviving perpetrators of terrorist attacks. But we can no longer be ignorant as a people and hypocritical as a government, as the largest purveyor of militarism and conquest in the world. We killed our father, we no longer pay taxes to the British Empire, and then we became him. If we wish to prevent future attacks here and globally, we will begin to understand, not simply utilize, the interconnectedness of the globalized world.
We have been conditioned through advertising into a state of over-consumption, disregarding needs for supposed and instilled desires. As Americans living in our single family house in the suburbs, working a job with no personally accountability or enjoyment, and driving our little cars to and fro, throw in time for sleep and average television watching and that leaves about 30 minutes a day available. Our commutes to work are so long that we have to stop at fast food places to eat. We angrily spend hours a day in traffic, as we try to race ahead of the next guy to get to wherever. Our lifestyle has made us fat, angry, and for the most part, pretty misinformed. The much of the population's entire belief system regarding politics and world events are based on the lies and deceit fed to them.
Because of our advanced culture we don't die from disease, starvation, and civilian casualties of war, although many others do suffer from these, largely because of our culture, but rather the highest cause of deaths here are from our lifestyle: diet, stress, car accidents, medical malpractice, suicide.
Sprawling development and supply-side measures have allowed for suburbs that stretch as far as the eye can see all interconnected through highways. None of which have been designed with natural resources or community in mind, just short-term profits for the developer. This kind of development pattern destroys ecosystems directly by replacing them with sparse population patterns, road construction and widening, and single-family homes, and indirectly through improper, heavy-handed design that forces water run-off into pipes and eventually into streambeds unable to handle what is essentially a man-made flash flood, eroding stream banks and slowly killing ecosystems.
The children who are fortunate enough to go to suburban schools are latchkey kids riding the bus back to the sanctuary of home. Children who bus to and from school watch four times as much television as those who can walk. The insanity of television, and the accompanying mind numbing jolts of advertising, as well as the isolated life-style are now the dominant element in the formative years of our children.
We have destroyed community through fenced off neighborhoods, sparse living conditions, and poorly planned street frameworks. The idea of the house with the white picket fence was little more than a marketing ploy for the Levittowns, and Sears-Roebuck, and other early suburban developments marking the beginning of the flight from cities, left desolate and lifeless, the perfect place for crime. Our cities today suffer from misconceptions that they are dangerous, foreboding places. They are only this way, because all the vitality was sucked into suburbia where it subsequently rotted away. Entropy can be defined as the inevitable and steady deterioration of a system or society. We must begin to reverse this chaotic spiral and focus on creating internal synergies.
Many believe that technological advancements will save us from peril at our own hands, however a study from Cornell University recently revealed that clean energy at its optimum capacity will only accommodate half of our energy needs, justifying the mandate for living more sustainably. The oft recited phrase of reduce, reuse, recycle, preferably in that order is one way to stop the supply-side linear consumption pattern from production to waste. Another way is by moving back to the cities, a trend happening all over the country. Unfortunately, many cities have yet to establish urban growth boundaries. Absorption of land must be controlled and directed towards the cities.
Part 3 manana