Building back the same way in Houston will doom us repeat history.
Congress and state legislatures disburse emergency funds, which are then offset in budgets with cuts to social services and public spending. We are seemingly in a permanently reactive mode, with money often going to rebuild “back to normal” as though this is proof of bravery in the face of tremendous uncertainty. Recovery from previous disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, has had regressive effects, heightening the disparities between rich and poor and perpetuating systemic racism.
We should plan recovery and rebuilding projects that address local poverty and exclusion, rather than line the pockets of developers. We should commit expenditures to the kinds of projects that mitigate climate change, like clean energy and public transportation. And we should strengthen our safety nets so that when the next storm’s victims are picking up the pieces, they are not also worried about job insecurity, rising health care costs and precarious retirements.
In Hurricane Harvey’s Wake, We Need a Green ‘New Deal’ https://nyti.ms/2eI4OIG
Are we caught in a can’t win situation between the climate and the economy?
If demand grows and we consume more goods and resources the climate suffers. If demand increases through population growth the climate suffers. If demand decreases the economy suffers.
Can we develop a world that’s not dependent on continuous growth for economic stability? Can we have an equitable world that’s not dependent on ever greater numbers of consumers?
It’s time to think about how we can live better not bigger.
Economic growth in advanced nations has been weaker for longer than it has been in the lifetime of most people on earth.
This slow growth is not some new phenomenon, but rather the way it has been for 15 years and counting. In the United States, per-person gross domestic product rose by an average of 2.2 percent a year from 1947 through 2000 — but starting in 2001 has averaged only 0.9 percent. The economies of Western Europe and Japan have done worse than that.
We’re in a Low-Growth World. How Did We Get Here? http://nyti.ms/2aIWeW5
When it comes to the environment, population growth, and many of our social problems, the quotes below apply more aptly to our entire planet, not just Israel. These are things we don’t talk about but should.
we’re addressing only symptoms, not causes.
environmental problems are largely a function of a rapid increase in population. The country will never be able to control greenhouse gases, maintain even minimal levels in our rivers and streams or protect our fragile habitats if this demographic growth continues at such an astonishing rate.
Housing shortages and soaring prices are a national affliction, all fueled by ever-growing demand.
Rapid increases in population are driving our environmental problems.
The part of the article about poverty applies more so to our whole world than to Israel alone.
We need to see population as the driving force behind many of our worst problems.
Poverty, too, will never be reduced until the country checks the relentless expansion of its population. More than a quarter of Israeli children live below the poverty line; a majority of those live in families with five or more children. Israeli children growing up in families with two siblings or fewer, regardless of ethnic identity or religious affiliation, generally enjoy better opportunities.
Israel’s Looming Demographic Crisis http://nyti.ms/2anLb7E
Environmental sustainability is possible, but we need political will to adjust the markets to favor it.
For this to happen, countries will need to adopt policies that reduce the price of low-carbon investments to make them more attractive for private investors. These policies include environmental regulations to stimulate clean, sustainable development; incentives and subsidies for clean energy investments; and the pricing of carbon emissions, which can be done in a variety of ways, including emissions trading and taxes. We also need to eliminate subsidies that encourage the use and extraction of carbon-based energy like coal and oil. Such policies will take strong political will, especially as economic growth is slowing.
How to Raise Trillions for Green Investments http://nyti.ms/2d4p1WF
Fighting development and population growth with zoning laws is like building a sand castle to keep out the tide.
The world is over populating itself, our country included. Saying we won’t build more homes to preserve desire able neighborhoods ignores the demographic reality. The US will have a third more people by 2050, another 100 million people. Where should we put them?
Cities can either plan for the growth a benefit or pretend you can keep the hordes at bay and suffer the consequences. NIMBYism doesn’t work and this study shows it exacerbates inequality too.
A growing body of economic literature suggests that anti-growth sentiment, when multiplied across countless unheralded local development battles, is a major factor in creating a stagnant and less equal American economy.
“We don’t need one more job in Boulder,” Mr. Pomerance said. “We don’t need to grow anymore. Go somewhere else where they need you.”
How Anti-Growth Sentiment, Reflected in Zoning Laws, Thwarts Equality http://nyti.ms/29rPY6w
Nothing but supply side growth is going to solve the country’s housing concerns. Restricting development to curb gentrification is futile.
Housing, zoning, energy and transportation decisions should be pulled back to regional levels. Population density is increasing and NIMBYism doesn’t solve the problem, it just shifts the problem to a neighboring location. Letting cities make decisions without consodering regional needs makes things worse. Just look at what happened in San Francisco. In the 70s they decided to downsize land use and zoning.
But then the whole world changed and cities started growing again. The problem is that we have locked in place the rules and culture from these early ’70s preservation movements that today make it really difficult to add housing.
Time to seriously look at the problems in our water systems. The problems that show up in the press like Flint, or the Cali drought are only the tip of the iceberg. Systemic improvements and infrastructure upgrades are needed.
Like fossil fuels, water is another case where we are not paying the true price of the resource we’re consuming. We need to price continual improvements and upgrades into the cost to users.
These problems are compounded by an antiquated system of regulations, dysfunctional water markets, policies that encourage overpumping, and contracts that discourage conservation by requiring customers to pay for water they don’t use. These approaches depress investment and inhibit innovation.
Regulations can ensure that the first few gallons per person per day are cheap or free, with escalating costs beyond that. Water for necessities such as drinking, cooking and hygiene should be affordable. Beyond that, water for lawns, filling swimming pools, washing cars and other uses should be more expensive.
The water industry’s risk-averse culture has resisted innovation. Higher prices and government-backed research and development could help prompt a wave of innovation and investment. This is what happened with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, two technologies advanced through government research that kicked off the shale boom.
The water problem is daunting. But putting a sensible price on water to invite investment and encourage conservation, increasing the availability of information and doubling down on innovation can go a long way toward solving it.
Our Water System: What a Waste http://nyti.ms/22Bnqv3