There are many millions of people thinking and working towards a sustainable future. This initiative is intended to bring us all together. We are “all of us together under the same sun.”
My colleagues and I have been studying ecological systems and working on environmentally based, sustainable economics for nearly twenty years. Currently our efforts are focused on drafting amendments for a sustainable USA –The critical element of this set of Constitutional Amendments would be a mandate (like a balanced budget amendment) to ensure an available, quality water supply for the entire nation. In perpetuity.
In establishing this as a goal, this set of amendments could help direct the nation in all facets of energy efficiency and water efficiency. This would reduce our dependence on petroleum and result in significant job creation. The jobs would rise from the details: high and low-tech water and energy conservation techniques (creating and implementing new plumbing codes for grey water use (water recycling)), centrally located organic farming, and All effective forms of alternative energy (wind, passive and active solar, exercise bike generators, etc…)
In 1994, Ontario passed their own environmental bill of rights Ministry Home. What we are discussing is more proactive, but there is a precedent. Furthermore, many authors such as David Orr, and Amory Lovins (of the Rocky Mountain Institute), as well as Japan for Sustainability have outlined most of the engineering details involved in converting residences and businesses to water and energy efficient designs. At today’s fuel prices, it is now cost-effective in the short-term to make these conversions.
Now is a good time.
Every day there is a not-insignificant quantum shift in the lower levels of the food chain. Microorganisms are being selected for extinction and mutation, leaving higher life forms (like humans) more and more vulnerable to disease and infection (i.e.: Avian Flu, West Nile Virus, SARS, - these are only the beginning.) Every study I have seen on ecological carrying capacity has the sustainable human capacity level around 2 billion. We’ve just screeched past 6.5 billion and are still climbing. The horizontal asymptote, the maximum capacity for Homo sapiens, is the wall that we’re headed for. Ecologically speaking, “The Day After Tomorrow” was yesterday.
We no longer have the luxury of pondering whether global warming is happening or not. Or if the heat production of the industrialized nations, combined with deforestation of the rain forests, are affecting climate change and global oxygen levels. The fact is we cannot be absolutely certain of any of these things without a second earth to sacrifice in the name of scientific research, conservatism, or “good old-fashioned cynicism”.
We do know that what we do matters.
On the national economic front we lose a few more jobs each day to outsourcing, attrition, market brokering (greed), etc.
We all know that it will take some time to shift over to different economic machinery, but if we do not start soon, it will not matter. It is Time for some kind of Intelligent Revolution. If not, our present course will have us at war with many other nations, peoples, neighbors, friends, rush-hour drivers, etc. I do not know what you feel from your daily life, your social spheres, and your life history to this point; but in my regular interactions with the working poor, teenagers, addicts, and the comfortable middle class, I feel the hate and distrust rising. Without a substantial course correction, the gun-toting territorialism and looting witnessed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina will just seep into the daily life of many Americans.
The two greatest challenges of our time are those of Sustainable Economics (using plant and animal resources no faster than they can regenerate) and Global Human Population levels. It is time for the United States to lead the world again. We must first show that we can move towards an ecologically based, sustainable economy. If we care about our kids and grandkids, the future, this country, and each other we can and we will do it.
The Amendments for a Sustainable USA, the foundation for a water-based economy: I believe, the people of this country would vote for it, if it were a referendum.