Sustainable cities blog comment

I live in an old industrial city in a place where natural resource industries died even earlier than our industrial base. We were industrial based on water power, which started fading around 1890. We have high unemployment. As does every other place around that is not scarfing up resources faster and faster and polluting faster and faster. North Dakota and its boom towns based on climate destroying fossil fuel extraction comes to mind. The business class keeps telling us low taxes and little regualtion would be good for us, but we know better. Essentially we have to admit that we have reached the evolutionary point of a low growth economy, maybe even a shrinking economy. But that is so unamerican the rich can not comprehend it. So they thrash around, and increase the inequality in the economy while undoing what little environmental protections we have, thereby making our plight worse.


The more I study, the more obvious it becomes that economic devleopment has to be based on ecological healing and economic justice if it is to provide long term sustainability. It has to make sure the poor get the benefits and it has to be based on economic democracy. Developing the economuy for the 1% is what is killing the planet and our communities. And we need to acknowledge that unless we think we live on 4 planets, not just the earth, there is no way to keep growing the economy in the west if the poorer parts of the planet are to have anything.


Greg Gerritt Providence RI

The woodchuck


I saw the woodchuck several times over the course of a week before I was able to get a shot of it.  I think I posted about 10 seconds of muskrat shots last year, but that has been the only other possible mammal shots (except for humans) that I have posted. But with this woodchuck video I now have on Moshassuckcritters videos that focus on each of the major vertebrate classes.  Fish sex, probably due to the name, has been my most popular video so far,   The season has not yet started for tadpoles and frogs, but amphibians, especially the Fowler’s Toads, have been a primary focus.  Today’s woodchuck video is a bit chaotic because I was getting some very good turtle video and I went back to turtles when the woodchuck disappeared and then had to swing around to get more woodchuck pictures.  And I have a variety of bird videos posted.  Not bad for a little pond in the city.

Climate change testimony links

Representative Handy, I will present testimony today but I wanted to provide the commmittee with a few links that I may refer to when I speak today.  They relate to the effect of environmental regulations on the economy.  The track record is clear, strong environmental regulations and healthy ecosystems correlate with healthier economies, and there is no evidence what so ever that weakening environmental regulations in the name of economic growth does one whit of good, maybe increasing its contribution to GDP because of all the money spent fixing the damage but clearly effecting community prosperity.   In an effort to supoport the committees knowledge of climate change and the economy i offer these annotated links.
The seminal paper in the field is from 1991 by the late Dr Stephen Meyer who was at MIT .  Here is the second version of the paper that Meyers wrote.
Here is a quote:
“Perhaps more to the point those who live and work in states that have vigorously pursued environmental quality and are now contemplating rolling back environmental standards as a quick fix to jump-starting their economies out of recession should reconsider. Based on the evidence there is no reason to expect that loosening environmental standards will have any effect on the pace of state economic growth.”
I have searched the literature and there is no actual study that refutes this that I have been able to find over the last 20 years.  We get assertions by Koch Brother funded organizations like the RI Center for Freedom and Prosperity saying this is not true, but no actual studies.  And considering how the Koch brothers regularly deny about climate change, why would we expect the organizations that they fund to be any more honest about the business climate.
Another paper I wish to refer you to is by Kansas Inc.  Kansas Inc., is the state agency in Kansas that does the same sort of work as the RI Commerce Corporation, promote economic development.  Kansas is dominated by conservative politicians and Kansas Inc is far from a liberal stronghold.  I think you will find their analysis of the business climate and regulations on the economy rather telling.
The third paper I commend to the committee is by the Business Curmudgeon and is an analysis of a series of papers  including the Kansas Inc study on the effect of Business Climate on the economy.  Again you will note that there is no evidence that regulation such as proposed for plastic bags in Rhode Island harms the economy.  I actually think we could even get agreement after looking at the numbers that the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act have been a boon for our communities.
I hope the committee reads these papers and ponders them well.  These issues will not only come up as we ponder our efforts to avoid our slow moving disaster via climate change, but the mistaken belief that environmental regulation harms the economy permeates all of Smith Hill and the media.  It would be great if the committee truly informed itself rather than buying into the memes propagated by the wealthy.
I would be happy to discuss this further with any members of the committee separately or together.
Greg Gerritt
Providence RI