By Bishop, Special Excentric Trainee (in retirement)
A pessimist burns his bridges before he gets to them.
–Mayor Jim (RIP)
Fresh from gnashing hangovers brought about by learning of the greatest robbery since the James boys robbed the Kansas City Fair in 1872 many citizens no longer regard Wall Street big shots, or their Federal counterparts, as the financial equivalent of the Red Cross.
Sipping on their cheaper and cheaper drugstore wine one day after another they wonder where the sheriffs were, even the law in some form, even the FBI or Marshall Dillon. Why didn’t someone with a brain, if not a heart, call a halt to the plundering of our hard-earned dough? Did investment bankers really spend our money on golden waste paper baskets and shady ladies of the night?
Somewhat more soothingly, let me submit some examples of what didn’t happen in our bioregion as we shift gears to think and act locally if our skin is to be saved, if our goose is not to be cooked.
The Salt River Project has moved into court to stop the City of Prescott from tapping into the Verde Rivers life-giving aquifers in Chino Valley. Quipped Yavapai Supervisor Chip Davis, One thing we seem to be good at in Arizona is killing rivers. But not this time, a special Excentric underground task force closed allied with the Monkey Wrench Gang, now holed up in Bumble Bee is at work round-the-clock.
Two dozen oil and gas leases adjacent to Arches National Park hard by legendary Canyonlands National Park will not happen and Ed Abbeys ghost can rest in peace.
Despite assaults on existing law by politicians waving law and order flags the air around Grand Canyon will not become more radioactive since all efforts to strip mine uranium have been halted.
Unable to deal with good news, some academics are comparing the U.S. to the fourth century A.D. when it was widely believed that their imperial adventure was over. These are the Peak-oilers, The Doomers, and they are growing in number.
Day after day they clamor in elitist journals made of un-recycled paper that the future isn’t what it used be, that America is the buffalo being brought to her knees by hard-hearted men shuffling worthless paper with no thought to tomorrow as they hand one another bulging bonuses made possible by liberal handouts from conservative bureaucrats.
But there is another world beginning, one that can be experienced in small groups gathering all around Sedona, Cottonwood and beyond. People in these groups believe that current economic troubles will not solved by a return to the economic models of yesteryear, such as Big Business riding to the rescue with large manufacturing plants making products people possess in large numbers already.
Time was during WW 11 that American grew 40 % of their food in Victory Gardens. Time was the restaurants served food grown locally. When he smells flowers the pessimist looks around for the funeral. Not so those who believe that optimism is a mans passport to a better tomorrow and Victory gardens might return.
Gardens for Humanity topsider Diane Dearmore believes that baby steps are leading us to an agricultural renaissance. After all, the land fed people here ever since 600 A.D. until agriculture fell out of favor some 50 years ago. They sustained themselves, and so can we.
In small groups people are asking the question: How long can Sedona continue to import its food from 1500 miles away and sometimes beyond? And the answer is that such a situation is unsustainable just as is petroleum where with three percent of the population the U.S. accounts for 32% of daily consumption.
Could it be true that our current economic troubles could turn out to be a gift from the higher powers? Perhaps thousands studying to become hedge fund managers may avoid prison time and become supervisors of cornfields in the Verde Valley? Not a bad idea says author Wendell Berry. If we could think locally, we would take better care of things than we do now.
Indeed and then maybe we won’t have to go to war for food, energy and water after all and the Wrenwood will reopen with Keeber in charge of the adult beverages.