(Originally published by The Tucson Weekly, January 20, 2009)
End of empire, Beginning of struggle
by Bob Cook, Core Team member of Sustainable Tucson
The era of American empire has collapsed with the exiting of President George W. Bush, and the age of struggle for sustainability has begun with the “clean” presidential election of Barack Obama.
Bush presided over the biggest economy bubble collapse (not just housing) in our country’s history. Non-productive risk-taking and gambling on financial outcomes has led to the unprecedented revaluing downward of the entire economy. Ignoring ecological and earth science has led us Americans to being responsible for the largest contribution to destabilizing the global climate and depletion of the earth’s finite resources. Bush’s war in Iraq has made us more energy insecure rather than more secure. Foreign investors, corporations, and nations willing to back trillions in new dollar creation, now determine the future health of America’s bankrupt economy.
Not only will Obama be challenged to mediate the forces bent on economic recovery, but by historical convergence, his administration will face the priority challenge of transitioning the whole economy toward sustainability. Replacement of fossil fuels with renewable energy and rebalancing our overly-consumptive culture are necessary if we are to successfully adapt to global environmental change.
During this current transition, we in Tucson are as vulnerable as any other region highly dependent on growth. The need for people and organizations to begin a real community conversation on a sustainable future has never been more critical than now.