Archive for 2010

Get Out of Debt – to BE Free

Trapped In Debt? Break Free!Wish I could offer you a Get-Out-of-Debt-Free card, like the Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card in Monopoly. But how about this: How about getting out of debt in order to be free?

Saturday, I attended a screening of “The End of Suburbia.” Saturday morning, washing senior-housing windows with a friend and mentioning needing to finish in time to get to the film, she said she had it on her calender, too, and asked me to remind her why: “What’s the name of the film?”

I said, “The end of something…the end of sustainability? something like that.”

Funnily enough, once upon a time, we did think suburbia was sustainable. It was the alternative to the big bad city with crime and crowding and crumpets. On the other hand, as soon as “everyone” moved to the “country” (the suburbs, just outside the city’s density), there wasn’t near as much open space as developers promised.

Did you ever wonder why a new development would be called “Pine Wood Estates” and there were no pines in sight? The film suggested whatever’s in the name – Crane Lake, Wolverine Hills, Serene Ridge, etc. – is what was destroyed in order to ‘create’ the escape space that becomes its own kind of prison.

The suburbs may not have density, but they also do not have proximity to work (income). They may be less crowded, because it could require considerable talent to spit out the window onto the neighbor’s house, unlike cities, wherein taking your trash can to the back yard, you can scuff it on your neighbor’s bricks, and that is, if you have a backyard.

However, in these presumably spacious suburbs, you must now either drive back to town to shop, or lengthen your day by attaching acquisition to labor. What about schools? Where do your children go to learn how to be the automatons you have, by your lifestyle, suggested is desirable? Building schools in suburbia…well, you know who pays for those!

The main point of the film is we’ve built an entire culture based upon transportation using ‘cheap’ fossil fuels. Unfortunately, no more dinosaurs are dying to create those fossil fuels. While our supply is not depleted, the easily accessible oil is gone. What remains is more expensive to get. And that affects almost every part of our lives, from the manufacture of clothing to the delivery of groceries.

It is entirely possible the housing crash has not yet hit bottom. Governments are not going to bail out individual citizens (us). We need to take care of ourselves. Step one is getting out of debt!