After several years of observations, with a little funding from the Rhode Island Rivers Council I began a video project to record wildlife in Providence’s North Burial Ground, with an emphasis on the tadpoles in a little drainage swale near the maintenance building. The Misadventures of an Urban Naturalist tells some of that story. There is also a larger and permanent pond in the burial ground, and it may be the best wildlife watching place in all of Providence The Bullfrogs of the larger pond were always of interest, but in some ways I used them as a back up, something else to focus on in case the drainage swale went dry and produced no tadpoles. As I noted above, the larger pond has an abundance of wildlife, 3 types of heron, ducks, geese, cormorants, kingfishers, and swifts, as well as songbirds in profusion, muskrats, occasional otters, a growing population (from 6 to 14 over the last few years) of painted turtles, several varieties of fish, and bullfrogs.
What is your vision for a new approach to economic development in Rhode Island?
Originally written as a letter to the editor December 18, 2013 Greg Gerritt
On December 18, 2013 in a remarkable juxtaposition the Providence Journal had an article “Analysts say income gap impedes growth”, an op-ed by by Steven Frias “Warnings of RI Stagnation go way back”, and an op-ed by John J. Colby “Wage regulation okay for the well to do”. Mr Frias repeats the tired old cliches about the business climate saying that the only way to move the RI economy forward is to cut taxes on the rich and remove regulations that protect the public health and the environment. The problem with Mr Frias’s argument is that there is absolutely no correlation between a good business climate and a healthy economy, and that if Rhode Island obeyed the business climate shysters what we would end up doing is increasing inequality further, which even economists and the pope are starting to realize harms the economy, as well as destroying democracy.
Mr Colby points out just how inequality has harmed our economy, the poor are unable to be the consumers our consumerist economy seems to demand. But considering the state of the Earth, and the likelihood that changes in the climate due to overconsumption are likely to overwhelm the effects of any boost the 1% will get from adopting the greed is good model, a model based on consumerism is unlikely to help our communities. Even the World Bank knows that ecological healing and economic justice are likely to produce better economic results than anything else in marginalized communities. Time for Rhode Island to learn that too.
This is actually the new normal. We are unlikely to ever see economic growth large enough to create lots of jobs as technology will destroy jobs faster than it creates them. American workers are going to see a reduction in per capita income as our national economy shrinks.
The real challenge is not to keep it growing, that is an ecological and social dead end, but to shrink it in a way that grows our Gross National Happiness. The way to do that is ecological healing, shrinking inequality, and focusing on community food security and climate resilience.
Read an article on Endangered Species Act success. Here is what I wrote in response:
Wish the Republicans could remember when they were a party of conservation and how much it benefits communities. The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, The ESA, are some of the most important legislation Congress has ever passed, but every day they are under threat of repeal despite near unanimous support for them from the American public.