I'm excited about "Loving Garland Green" and our mission to ensure that Garland has at least 50,000 urban gardens/farms by the end of 2016 because I am convinced that we are all going to be in a lot of trouble if we all don't start growing more of our food locally. Many would argue with substantial evidence that we are already in trouble, even in the USA, when it comes to feeding all the people in our nation. More and more--on Eat Green as well as on other sites--we are reading about the importance of growing more of our food locally. This is the beginning of something better.
We must move from an oil-based economy back to a plant-based economy. An oil-based economy is unsustainable.
First of all it is unsustainable because of the growing scarcity of oil. By 2016 OPEC's spare capacity of oil will be depleted as shown in the graph below from Sustainable America. Although some could argue that OPEC has waning importance in the USA because of the rise in production of shale oil, OPEC still produces about 40% of the world's crude oil and the availability or nonavailability of OPEC oil affects prices on the world market and thus also affects the prices of oil in the USA.
Second of all, an oil-based economy is unsustainable because of the rising price of oil per barrel. Back in 1941 an oil-based economy (one in which oil is the basic building block for running industry and a component for many of the materials for building the products such as plastics)--made economic sense. In 1941 oil sold on the world market at a few cents over one dollar per barrel. The price for a barrel of oil has hovered right at $100 a barrel for the past 15 years or more. For example, today, December 11, 2013 it is selling at $97.44 a barrel. This is not sustainable and it hasn't been for at least the past 15 years.
Why do we persist in propping up an oil-based economy?
The influence of big money from people whose fortunes are tied to the oil market is the best answer to that question.
How do these people prop up the oil-based economy?
- They buy politicians who will assist them in propping up the oil-based economy.
- They ship jobs overseas to take advantage of slave labor. Many folks don't understand the economic connection between oil and loss of jobs here in the USA, but cost is always an important factor in the computations for profit. When the base material, oil, costs $100 a barrel, you have to make up the difference somewhere. The somewhere is labor.
- Through political influence these people continue to do all they can to impede the greening of the USA and have for years. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is verifiable fact.
Is a plant-based economy a viable alternative?
Absolutely! The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborate reports that less than 200 years ago, our economy was a carbohydrate economy. In 1820, Americans used two tons of plant material for every ton of minerals. Plants were the primary raw material in the production of dyes, chemicals, paints, inks, solvents, construction materials, even energy. Cotton and wood pulp provided the world’s first plastics and synthetic textiles. In 1941 Henry Ford built a car made almost entirely of hemp. Watch the video Henry Ford Hemp Car.
The Rise of the City-State
Today, we have only a handful of true city-states: Monaco, Vatican City, and Singapore. Yet there is evidence here in the USA of city governments taking over some of the roles once considered the domain of our federal and state governments. I expect this will continue. For example, over the past year I've noticed several US cities voting to raise minimum wage in their municipalities. For the most part, setting minimum wage has been the responsibility of government at federal and state levels--not local. San Jose is one example I recall. They raised their minimum wage to$10 an hour. It is estimated that raising their minimum wage will result in an additional $70 million stimulus to their local economy in just the first year and even more as time goes on. Local merchants are reporting that, contrary to popular misconception, their businesses have not been hurt by paying their employees more.
As Washington DC and many state governments continue to brawl instead of problem-solve, we can expect local people and local governments to empower themselves to create solutions that do work and that do serve the majority. Among these solutions we see the rise of community gardens and urban farming. The more food grown and consumed locally, the more economically secure and robust the community. This is definitely a lesson that local government leaders and ordinary citizens seem to know.
GROW FOOD. GROW YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY.