I’m having a rather depressed weekend, a good time to read Bill McKibben’s ‘Eaarth’. This book outlines the folly of making exponential and infinite growth the basis for human civilization. Jeeze, I took math in high school and even I can see that he’s right. It’s all in the numbers.
McKibben paints a very grim picture of the less gentle planet we are already living on, and will hand down to our children as irreversible changes to air and water leave us in a hotter, drier world with fewer resources and more extreme weather.
Ironically, damage to our economy, as much as it causes dire hardship to those who can least afford it, slows the rate of fuel consumption and carbon release. If we could institute some sane and moderate changes perhaps we could save a better portion of the old earth to live on. Or maybe not. The New York Times has an article about a building boom in Las Vegas, mini-mansions going up as acres of new houses stand empty. One reason for this craziness is that speculators are moving in like vultures, buying houses by the hundreds and outbidding people who simply want a house to live in. Another reason is that there are those who would no sooner buy a used house than used underwear…
And many Americans will always believe the latest model of something is their only option, an attitude builders are doing their utmost to reinforce.
In Phoenix, a billboard for Fulton Homes summed up the builders’ marketing approach. “Does your foreclosure have tenants?” it asks, next to a picture of a mammoth cockroach.
Isn’t that lovely? And I’m looking at the photos of the new houses, grand mansions on flat land without a tree anywhere. What will they do without government water and sewage, out there in the desert? What will they do without government highways to commute to work?
As posted below, there’s a trend for young whites to move back into the cities, where you can find a decent cup of coffee and intelligent conversation. But clearly there is also a trend to push out into less and less hospitable places, to stake out that lawn you can call your own.
This doesn’t make sense on Earth, not to mention Eaarth. I don’t even totally blame the consumers. They are often following the course of least resistance in a corrupt financial system that is still looking for the next bubble. Still, that ‘cockroach’ thing is really nasty. Hard not to see it as a class slam against renters. It’s not that I’m prejudice, but when the next crash comes, I hope whoever put up that billboard doesn’t move next door to me.