Sadly, what has them a-brimming with happiness is not what most would find to be a particularly chipper thing. I mean, people losing their jobs, homes and all hope for the future in general tends to be a bit of a downer for many, and the dreams of most lie with economic recovery and better times in general. But apparently we have some new thinking on this matter.
Two gentleman, one from here in the US and the other from the UK, have discovered that there is much good to be found in economic collapse and the widespread misery it has caused. The first writes of the sustainability benefits should the mortgage interest deduction be taken away from home owners. This in an economic environment where home ownership has become difficult already. The second deep thinker laments the mere thought of an economic recovery because it might be a problem for the environment.
Our initial entry comes from a site called CSRwire. It describes itself as being the "leading source for corporate social responsibility and sustainability." The ruler of this little corner of cheer is Joe Siblia, who is also the author of what we are posting below. And apparently he is very excited by the prospect of people such as yourself being kicked out of your home and shuffled off to the inner city.
Mortgage Interest Deduction Elimination Spurs Sustainability - There is a movement in the US Congress to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction to increase revenue (it's not a new idea but it is gaining some traction.) The mortgage interest deduction has been a part of the American experience since its inception. It's basically the only deduction available for the diminishing middle class. Those opposed to eliminating the deduction will cry foul and say lots the only incentive for home ownership. Eliminating the deduction will slow the already depressed home sales environment. Builders and home furnishing suppliers will be adversely affected. Values of homes will decline further. People 'upside down' on their mortgages will allow the banks to take over their homes and defaults will decrease substantially, further pushing prices lower as inventory increases.
Not a pretty picture so far. But Mr. Siblia is not one to leave us without hope. Here is what he sees as being the upside to this lamentable situation:
On the other hand, new opportunities will be created. Inner cities that have suffered will find resurgence. Young couples and families will move downtown and get rid of their cars. City stores will reopen. Properties that were vacant will come online as new refurbished rentals. Gardening in the cities will gain more popularity. Vacant lots will become urban farms. Central cities will be fun again ... In the suburbs, large "McMansions" will become housing for multi-generational - multi-family groups gathering together. Well-manicured lawns will becoming mini self-sustaining farms. Public transportation will finally reach the suburbs as the connection continues.
Now as far as I can tell, most middle class small city homes are not "McMansions." Though we can see a push for that sort of thing coming from the likes of the so-called Greens on our G4 City Council, along with those whose interests they represent. So I find the use of that term to be a bit of an unfair aspersion as we here in Sierra Madre do resist that sort of thing.
But that said, I think you can see the point Mr. Siblia is making here. Mass impoverishment, pauperization and general economic decline is good for you. No car, no home and a life as a downtown tenant is what he has to offer. And, after all, you will get to grow corn and cabbage on a vacant inner city lot, so what is there to complain about? It's sustainable. Be joyful!
I think this should be included on a Sierra Madre Green Committee agenda real soon. Let's skip the trite ephemera they're covering now and get down to the real hardcore of sustainability thought. And wouldn't that be a nice compliment to the massive bond debt being pushed by the Committee's City Council Liaison?
The other cause for hope comes from James Meikle, who shares some important news in the British paper The Guardian. And in the European Union (EU for the acronymic) report discussed there, it would appear that economic recovery poses a serious threat to, you got it, sustainability. Something that furthers the notion that being green and personal poverty are now somehow linked.
UK economic recovery 'poses threat to environment' ... Any emergence from recession may erode shift towards more sustainable lifestyles, warns EU report - The hoped-for emergence of the UK from its economic crisis might erode a shift towards more sustainable lifestyles, according to an EU report published today. A growing population, coupled with demand for more and larger homes, is threatening the UK's security of water supplies and wildlife, said the European Environment Agency (EEA).
There is also a risk that public concern with green issues declines as more people live in towns and cities and have no "experience of the natural world," said the assessment of the challenges facing the country. And this trend may be greatest among younger generations, it warns.
Now that is an interesting juxtaposition to sustainability thought in the US. Here in America it is assumed that living in the country constitutes "suburban sprawl," and that the only sustainable thing to do is chase everyone back into the inner city to live on a shelf and ride buses. However, according to this Guardian piece, it would seem that city living alienates one from the natural world, which causes many to not care.
Unlike the Looney Views News, The Guardian allows reader commentary on their website. And there is one comment on that site that I found particularly amusing.
greendodo - "The hoped-for emergence of the UK from its economic crisis might erode a shift towards more sustainable lifestyles ..." You mean people might get jobs, leave the house and travel to work and stuff? Instead of sitting at home, eking out their benefit cheques and wingeing about the environment on CIF all day, like good little Guardianistas? Quelle horreur!
Quelle horreur indeed.