Nov 182013

Here’s what is going on in the world around us, as we see it. I bet you think the world is pretty darn good for what it is. Maybe a war somewhere overseas. Maybe a disease somewhere, a disease that we here in the “developed world” have beaten. You might have even heard about the fact that we WILL run out of energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas at some point. You may think “well, that war is over there, not here. That disease is over there, not here. We’re going to run out of resources years from now, not now. Well, yes. That is true. Those are some of the big ones that will be in the news. What about poverty, food/water availability, human rights, climate change/pollution, corrupt officials in government office, greed, lack of good education available to everyone, lack of living wage jobs and lack of trust in the government. A lot of those are intertwined with each other as well, and they are also just as much in America as they are overseas. That’s not even nearly all the things that are wrong right now anyway. I bet you can probably think of a bunch more.

What about the “worse case scenario” for any of those, let alone a combination of them. A war here in the US. Maybe a global, all-out nuclear war. Maybe a disease pandemic on the scale of “black death plague”, again here in the US. As for all of them, everybody in poverty, no food or water is available, no rights, irreversible climate change + pollution, all officials corrupt, more greed, no education available and no jobs. Yes, those are each the worst case scenario, and probably won’t happen any time soon. But what if they did? Take last year, with the big storm that took out power for so many people all over Ohio. My own power was out for 9 days and that was a challenge. Because of that, water availability, power availability, fuel (for cars) availability were all greatly reduced. What would happen to you, your family, friends, your school, etc, if that were to happen again, say, for a month. It is certainly possible. Would you stay in good health? Where would you get food? Walmart doesn’t have any. How could they? The trucks bringing the food can’t drive, because there’s no gas for them.

Now, do want to do anything about that. You might now say “I can’t do anything about that”. Well, yes you can. We, as a society, are only as strong in a disaster as we are going into it. If everybody is sickish now, how do you think we’d do if a pandemic were to come our way? That’s what resilience is basically about, being able to make it through any given situation, no matter how big or bad. No, you can’t make everybody healthy, or no, you can’t stock up enough food for everybody around. But you can support a local farmer by buying his food. When you buy from Walmart, the money leaves town. The only good thing it does here is gives somebody a job. Now if you give money to a local farmer, ie buy from him, he is going to use that to grow his farm. Buy more cattle, buy more seeds, hire local help (you) and things like that. If that farm is strong now, in a disaster, he will have food. He does not need to drive hundreds or even thousands of miles to bring the food. He’s right there. You make him stronger, you make you stronger.

That’s only one thing. You can do stuff so little as to recycle a little. Maybe you don’t want to spend money on a recycling service. So, why don’t you collect your metal cans and sell them as scrap. You keep that metal out of a landfill, therefore reducing the amount of metal needed, thereby reducing the amount of greenhouse gases creating by mining for and producing more metal.  Along with those pluses, you get some cash. You help the planet and you help you.

Again, that’s only one more thing you can do. You can compost. You can refill a water bottle instead of throwing it out and getting a new one. You can even simply tell others about all of this. There are so many little things you can do without even trying that help build resilience in our community. Some of those you might already do and you may not know how much of a good (or bad) effect they have. Just do a little research and find out what you are doing by what you are doing. That’s all resilience building is, basically. So why not?

That’s what Athens’ Own does. You might call us an engineering firm building solutions for communities. Not just only for communities, for individuals as well. Solutions for a better, stronger more resilient community or person for the future (and for the present). That’s a simple and effective answer to what we as Athens’ Own do.

  4 Responses to “Message to Fed-Hock students:”

  1. That was an excellent exposition of Athens Own position, but I do think you were a little cavalier with your comment that “all buying from Walmart does is provide jobs” (I paraphrase). Unfortunately a pure agrarian economy will not provide sufficient jobs for the whole of current society, so unless you can provide alternative societally-valuable jobs, then you are being a little simplistic. Your target is admirable, but there are a few obstacles in the way that you have not addressed.

    There again, if future students cannot solve it, we are all doomed. 🙂

    • Alan, you bring up an excellent point, with many challenges. It is a complex road ahead to reestablish the living wage manufacturing of our basic needs, locally and nationally, and the ability to purchase them from locally owned entities; and not just food.
      Miles, any thoughts on this?

  2. Wal Mart does provide jobs but does it really cause job growth in that market? It seems to me that it replaces the jobs that other locally owned businesses provided. Places where the employee may have gained more experience and a greater depth of knowledge.

    • That seems about right. You’re not going to gain any really good lifelong skills via working at Walmart. They do just hire cheap labor. Slightly different topic, my dad brought up (yesterday actually) that he heard and/or read a news story about a Walmart somewhere that held a bake sale or something, the profits of which were to go to their employees who were on food stamps. Walmart has enough money in their system to not have to do that. They should just be able to pay them enough, but no, they want all the money for themselves. True, a small local business might have to do that, but that’s only because they don’t have millions of dollars available, the amount Walmart probably profits each day nationwide. So, back to that topic, yes walmart will probably hire you (or whoever), but they will hire you cheap, and you probably won’t learn anything useful for the future.

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