Recently if someone looked at America, it would be hard to believe that any country ever looked at us as an example or role model. With an unemployment rate at 7.9%, a corrupt financial system, depleting resources, and no foreseeable plan for the future, America seems to be on its way out as a global super power. A country, defined once as the future based on a dream of something better, increasingly loses hope as our idealism is dulled by the drones of consumerism.
With the election of Obama, came the hope of change but as we soon realized even a change in partisanship was not going to save us from our recession. With the reelection of Obama, it has become clear that in order for his term to be successful he needs to create a clear vision of the future. But what does the American future look like? Before it was based purely on consumerism and sprawl, an inevitably failed concept that has led the U.S. to be consuming 150% of the world’s resources. The fact that our standards of living have become unsustainable is now apparent. But how do we redefine the idealism of a nation?
According to Patrick Doherty, in his Opinion article on CNN, “How U.S. can once again define the future” America’s future lies in sustainability, if we choose to accept it. In his article he outlines the four main challenges met by the country today.
- A Lack of Demand
- Growing Middle Class creating price increase of basic commodities
- Climate Change/ Living beyond our means
- Inefficient infrastructure
All of these challenges revolve about one central theme. America needs to change the way it has been consuming, not only to preserve nature’s precious resources, but also to boost the economy in changing products and infrastructure.
Doherty’s argument in how America’s shift to sustainability could be successful is based on growing demographics and changing public opinion. 56% of the upcoming generation wish to live in areas that are car-independent, while at the same time starting in 2014, there is a projected greatest demand for housing since WWII. A demand for sustainable infrastructure could be just what our country needs to add jobs and to revamp the nation.
In addition to changing our infrastructure, Doherty foresee’s a reform on how the government approaches food production in the US. Instead of subsidizing farmers to overproduce and overwork the land he feels that the government should “pay farmers to convert their operations to modern regenerative systems.”
Finally, he calls for more innovation in the American public. He see’s the best way the government can support innovation is to take a more sustainable view in taxation and to “stop taxing work and start taxing waste.” This method seems like a no-brainer, yet our country continues to ignore the issue of climate change. The Republican party has completely rejected as an issue and the country shows little signs of action toward this pressing issue. This is not acceptable.
The time to stop ignoring climate change is now. Not only will it help the world it will help our nation rebuild itself for a sustainable future and “a new American Dream.” What we need is a leader who can make those decisions. We need Obama to have a clear vision and to take control of our country, to change the way Americans think and to gear us towards the future.