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Mount Pleasant Resident Says the Key to Sustainability Means Local Solutions

Rees Roberts wants trust and accountability with elected leaders, and that means rebuilding the core sense of community.

State Representatives Cory Mason and Robert Turner held a listening session at Gateway Technical College in Racine, WI last evening, April 11, about the State Budget. I presented a message with the vision a bigger perspective was needed when considering a budget.

Here is that message:

My name is Rees Roberts, a lifelong resident of Wisconsin. Here is the bigger picture as I see it. 

Our current deep-seated,  growth entrenched economy is fundamentally based on fossil fuel energy. However, elected officials appear to be unaware that fossil fuel energy production has peaked. It’s called Peak Oil. 

The key elements of industrial society - transportation, manufacturing, food production, medical equipment, prescription drugs, home heating and construction - are all reliant on oil. Peak Oil represents the naturally constant but terminal decline of petroleum and it needs our complete attention because it relates profoundly to every aspect of our economy.  It is the real reason gasoline prices are increasing and will continue rising going forward. We should be encouraging investments in alternative energy. Scott Walker’s policies only continue dependence on fossil fuels, which will be anything but sustainable. 

So, is this budget war the discussion we should be having? Or is this hearing both here and around the State merely an unintended diversion masking a much bigger issue?

Consider this:

Food travels, on average, 1,500 miles from where it is grown to our plates and 70 percent of our consumption of oil is for transportation. With local access to only two percent of our food, what happens if our national transportation systems were to suddenly fail due to an unexpected fuel crisis?

Our grocery systems, based on just in time delivery, would not be able to sustain typical demand during those conditions. Shouldn’t we plan for sustainability? What is more important than planning for food availability during fuel outages? Politicians only blow their fuses over ill-conceived issues and blame each other for economic and other woes. We are not being genuinely served. We need to return to values of trust and compromise with leaders who compel us into a sense of community.

I suggest if we do not return to local values, to local economies, to local solutions to our issues, we will not be able to acquire meaningful levels of sustainability. The days of the global economy will soon be over and perpetual economic growth in a finite world of fossil fuel energy is impossible. By changing our reliance from Global Resources to Local community resources, we will become self-sustaining and resilient during future economic and energy emergencies. Remember, it is always better to plan than be taken by surprise. Let’s plan for sustainability by becoming more community oriented.

Thank you for your time.

Rees Roberts
Mt. Pleasant, WI

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