Letters to EcoNews: Divided We Fall

Columnist Jamie Blatter of 350 Humboldt, describes demands for the “older generation” to face “intergenerational justice” as, “…natural responses when bearing witness to apocalyptic occurrences”, (EcoNews, November 2022).

Indeed, whether it’s the multigenerational greed dominating human history, or its victims blaming one another, both are “natural” retreats from the necessary and difficult decisions among the chilling breeze of numerous alternatives to wasteful lifestyles and community complicity in society’s increasingly corrupt, predatory and self-destructive status-quo. 

Since the beginning, humanity has needlessly suffered from allowing individual’s accumulation of wealth to dominate public policy and public treasure, inevitably used to maintain national and local dependence upon their outdated industries and technologies until it’s too late; a process collapsing civilizations for millennia, (Tragedy and Hope by Carroll Quigley), culminating today in oligarchs’ unprecedented centralization of capital undermining alternatives while climates, biodiversity and economies collapse worldwide and regardless of decades-long oil wars advancing to nuclear brinkmanship. 

Like all corrupt systems, institutionalized apocalyptic greed relies entirely upon the cooperation of every hamlet’s public and private bureaucracies, where the real madness resides, resisting common-sense responses that address multiple crises in climate, poverty, housing and transportation. For example, assessing fines per square-foot upon vacant lots, houses, buildings and storefronts, (aka tax write-offs), commensurate with the lost productivity, crime, vandalism, fires and blight they cause, in addition to requiring business licenses for landlords, together generating revenue needed to leverage state and federal funds for building affordable housing downtown. The continued financing of sprawl, destructive projects and predatory businesses could be mitigated through a publicly owned Bank of Humboldt or California.

 Why hasn’t Arcata’s successful moratorium on poverty-wage national retailers been adopted countywide and expanded to include predatory businesses turning working-poor families into the destitute: dollar stores, check cashing, storage units, job scalpers, payday loans, reverse mortgages, pawn shops and rent-to-own? 

Finally, worldwide habitat loss, the collapse of fresh, clean water and the biodiversity dependent upon it can be mitigated locally by requiring professional independent water carrying-capacity certification for all developments in our headwaters. 

These policies expand a fundamental family value to our community, “To each according to their ability, to each according to their need”, condemned and repressed by generations of propaganda and centuries of violence as “communistic”, however, a family value that’s jealously guarded within oligarchs’ closed culture of elite boarding schools and universities where they cull our nation’s top leadership in government, industry, legal teams and lobbying firms. 

Isn’t it time we demand the same emphasis in leadership skills in our public schools: rhetoric, argumentation, public speaking, negotiation and wide access to apprenticeships in local industries and public institutions? 

“If you want to live in paradise, go downtown and change it.” (Thoreau). 

George Clark, Eureka