I live in a stable neighborhood. It has single family homes, one multiple family home and two homes for two families as far as I know. Many of the homes date to the 1800’s.

One neighbor loaned his second family space to a financially poor mother and her child who had fled an abusive man in anther town, the child’s father, who had physically harmed the mother and had sexually abused his child. I met them both when I was trying to obtain more Girl Scouts for my troop.

We also have many other kindly neighbors. One helped me when I was locked out of my house. Two families offered to pick up my daughter and tend her if she were sick and I was not home. I didn’t know them one iota when I made the request of them after newly arriving in the neighborhood and asking the St. Mary church priest, a local man, about whom should serve as backup. They were wonderful people and totally trustworthy!

In my neighborhood exist some woods, a huge playing field, garden area and a small old library. Yet I want to see a transition town here. We could manage such an arrangement. It could work out and bode well for the future.

I have many favorite moments here in my section of town. Here are two of them:

Snow was late to arrive during the winter when my daughter was five years old. She pined to ride on her disk down a slope. I then found a small incline covered in moist leaves and pushed her again and again down it in her disk. We both had a great time!

The library and the park are a block and a half from my home. My child and I used to walk there to climb trees together and jump down from fairly high branches while yelling “Superman” just as I did as a kid. We pretended that we were flying.

Afterwards she would go to study in the library. The librarians always were helpful and pleasant as my daughter looked up information and completed her homework assignments, and researched other topics of personal interest to her.

I always let her walk home alone, even in the dark, from the library. Thus it was only until later that I petitioned the police department for a mace license for her. That was after two children were abducted from her school and I did buy her mace from a gun-shop in a nearby town.

Then I taught her the way to use it and use her body to stop assaults. Unfortunately that training has to be given in many places.

Likewise unfortunately several acres of woods are being torn down in my neighborhood to build a large housing complex. Simultaneously an apple farm is being destroyed, including old heritage apple trees, to make way for another housing complex. … Well, there goes the neighborhood.

In the end, there is nothing like evermore money to cause some people to destroy the natural world and an old apple farm. Obviously greed is paramount for some people. How obnoxious, vexing, sad and ultimately ruinous!

Excerpted from an article by Asher Miller, executive director of Post Carbon Institute:

Trust me, I get it. Given the long odds — exacerbated by the human propensity to optimism and discounting the future in favor of the present, the power and reach of entrenched interests, and the sheer inertia behind the consumer- and growth-dependent economy — it’s hard to believe in solutions.

I’m going to give it to you straight: there are no solutions, at least not ones that will allow our society to continue on its “business as usual” trajectory. (No, not even with a massive deployment of renewable energy.)

Sally Dugman lives in MA, USA.


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