Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vernal Equinox 2014, 3.75 years of solar power harvesting

What Salem's bridges will do when the next Cascadia 9 quake hits

We have tremendous challenges ahead of us, and will need all our wits and resources to maintain Salem's quality of life in the years ahead, as the twin crises of climate disruption and the end of cheap energy make all our choices harder and our conditioned responses even less helpful. 

One of the few things we can say with certainty is that there is a mega quake already in the cards for us (overdue, judging by historical averages) and that all our physical infrastructure planning has to start with that reality, and make the best choices possible about using our all-too-limited resources as wisely as we can.

Good choices would be bolstering our existing bridges to survive a CAT 9 quake.  A terrible choice would be squandering hundreds of millions of dollars ... A billion or more when all is said and done and paid over time ...on a highway bridge to serve no real purpose other than to try to restart the sprawl go-go years in Polk County to make real estate speculators and developers rich.

People have this idea that less developed countries are uniformly poor, which is absolutely not the case. What characterizes those places is a model of economic inequality, where the government really only serves the well off, building big mega projects for the benefit of well-wired friends of the elites and ignoring the needs of the greatest number of folks for the basics: good public health, transit, education, food security.  What's shameful is that Salem increasingly resembles these places -- we build convention centers instead of branch libraries and squander millions on an airport that's the private playpen for the well-heeled, while there is a ragtag, starving transit system, and rampant food insecurity.

"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."