Power from the People
At the same time, the majority o the world’s people now live in cities. Andthough cities cover only 2 percent o Earth’s surace, they already consume 75percent o the planet’s natural resources. As more people continue crowding into cities, that gure will climb even higher, which means urban areas have become the main driver in the ecological crisis. Many cities are sinkholeso human suering, especially or a marginalized population o low-incomeearners and people o color. And in the United States, the word
has becomesynonymous with the word
. Many urban neighborhoods are plagued by economic desperation, violence, pollution, and crumbling inrastructure.Climate change and the economic and equity crises o our communitiesmay appear to have little in common, but they share a key determining actor—namely, our near-complete dependence on coal, oil, and natural gas.The carbon dioxide produced by driving our vehicles, heating (and cooling)our homes, and lighting our cities with ossil uels is the main culprit behindclimate change. Meanwhile, that same dependence on ossil uels sucks billions o dollars every year out o communities across America, with thepoorest households oten hit hardest.But what i we ound ways to power our homes, businesses, actories, andvehicles that
warm the planet, that kept local dollars circulating inlocal economies, and that even created local jobs? What i we spread thoseclimate-riendly, local-economy-boosting, job-creating ideas to every city andtown across the country?
Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
It is too late or us to avert all o the negative consequences o 150 yearso ecological olly and resource wasteulness. Our challenge is to beginimplementing real changes, rapidly and rom the bottom up. Certain billsare coming due, and certain chickens are coming home to roost, no matterwhat we do. But there are steps we can take to cushion the blow.We must prepare ourselves (and our communities) or the worst possibleoutcomes. In considering the most pessimistic scenarios, we must talk lessabout economic growth and more about economic resilience; less aboutabundance and more about suciency; less about sustainability and more