Taking care of our already existing infrastructure affects the economy, crime, the environment, our health, and sustainability to a point that would benefit all of the above even more than the statistics that already exist supporting this philosophy. Can we create a culture that embraces preservation, sustainability, and a future full of joy and hope?
We have been attempting to “hide” the old parts of our cities and towns since the 1950s, creating a system failing the citizens who needed us most. Yet, the previous school of thought – give the poor their basic needs through welfare, hide them behind an interstate and they won’t even exist – has created a culture of loss of pride and joy of life itself. It has brought crime beyond anything we could ever imagine, leaving many of our cities to create clean-up crews instead of preventive law enforcement. Giving major tax incentives to large corporate retail, food service, manufacturing, and service providers has pushed the Mom & Pop style of the American Dream to its current place of existence on the endangered business list. Those once strong stabilizers of our city cores are almost entirely gone, and in their place…nothing. Instead, the most traveled highways and byways are filled with every national brand for ease of stopping and ease of the pocket book – their vast spaces filled with products built with a shameful disregard to human rights.
There is a mentality created when there are no options in life. One of hopelessness that evolves into a culture that sees no future for itself, therefore crime and lack of ambition have more place than dreams and personal betterment. This disease has permeated the entire country.
Until we behave as responsible keepers of a Nation, this will only get worse. If you bought your child a toy and he/she left it in the rain leaving it unusable, would you teach your child to take better care of his/her toys or would you just replace the toy every time it was ruined?
Instead of giving incentives to the corporate world to keep taking up more quickly disappearing useful land in this country, what if we took that money and created incentives for those who need it most to discover that they too have dreams and the ability to obtain those dreams? Instead of our city governments padding their pockets with developer funds to take away land through eminent domain to build more and more and more, why don’t we make our cities beautiful from the inside out, creating a place that even visually fosters hope?
Instead of destroying what little examples of physical history we have left for the sake of “redevelopment” or so moronically accepted by brainwashing propaganda under the guise of “progress,” let us protect our history. If we destroy it we have no point of reference to prevent even more mistakes in the future.
A friend of mine once explained that we have become a nation of consumers instead of citizens. Beyond sensible legislation, what can we do? We can stop supporting the industries that support this continuing situation. We can consume less, and what we need to consume we can purchase with thoughtfulness. We can support local businesses. We can attend city council meetings and planning meetings. We can become educated as to how the money we spend affects the world we live in. We can become conscious of the entirety of the communities we live in. We can…become citizens.
Photo used with permission from:
Photographer George Grumbos
Audrey L Elder
Blogger, Writer, Sustainability Research, Activist and Citizen- Living Outside the Box