A global growth economy based on cheap and abundant fossil fuels to both grow and transport our food thousands of miles, and to supply the raw materials for the cheap plastic throwaway goods we've come to rely on, is quickly drawing to a close. We are not going to see an economic recovery, because we are not in a recession. We are approaching the end of an historic period in human civilization. This period is drawing to a close asthe logicalconsequence of abusing and misusing our planet as both an endless supply of resources and a bottomless pit for waste.
Our future now depends on becoming locally self-reliant for our basic necessities to the greatest extent possible. Fossil fuels are no longer cheap, they're becoming less abundant, and they are the major contributor to human aggravated global warming. Plus, we now have the Gusher in the Gulf and what it may do to the foundation of the ocean's food web to add to our growing list of concerns.
Relocalizing means building community networks of mutual support. It means more family farms (many, many more) and making sure they're not forced to sell out to developers. It means living wage jobs in clean, zero-waste industries that use renewable energy; that focus on rebuilding our local economic base, recapturing the skills and craftsmanship we're lost to overseas off-shoring, outsourcing and the model of industrial efficiency that puts quantity above quality. As an added bonus, living wage jobs also directly address the issues of affordable housing and poverty.
Relocalization means making our cities human friendly and less reliant on cars. Less asphalt and more trees means less urban heat island effect and more natural carbon uptake. Plus, rebuilding, renovating, and remodeling for low-impact, energy efficient homes, businesses and infrastructure will keep local construction industries plenty busy for decades to come.
Rather than trying to be competitive in a global economy that's heading south—figuratively and literally—we have the opportunity to become global leaders in sustainable, steady-state local living economies.
Any community that takes the initial steps of creating the necessary coalitions to build a sustainable model, and demonstrates the many ways this improves quality of life, will further benefit from the economic prosperity that will come from teaching other communities how to be sustainable.
If we don't have a vision for where we want to go, we will end up somewhere else. Plus we're going to discover the truth in the phrase, "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."