Greening the Rust Belt, and more

Alex Steffen of WorldChanging talked with Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing about what kind of heroes we need to deal with the changing times, with climate change and peak oil.

Many people will be losing their jobs. Some won’t get new ones in a green economy. What happens to them and to the communities they live in?

That’s where the heroes come in.

Abandoned people and places are sometimes the ones who most need radical innovation; that, these days, new tools and models are practically scattered all over the ground, just waiting for people to pick them up; but that those who most need them are those who least know how to find them.

It’s also really important to listen to them because they will know things you have no clue about.

What would it be like, we wondered, if folks who knew tools and innovation left the comfy bright green cities and traveled to the dead mall suburban slums, rustbelt browntowns and climate-smacked farm communities and started helping the locals get the tools they needed. We imagined that it would need an almost missionary fervor, something like the Inquisition (which largely destroyed knowledge) in reverse, a crusade of open sharing, or as Cory promptly dubbed it, the Outquisition.

Bad name, great idea. Take the ideas and spread them. Be optimistic. Help others. Work together. Listen. Got a rust belt city? Transform it. Yes, it can be done. But only by people willing to try.

This would not be lone stragglers wandering through a post-apocalyptic landscape. As we’ve said again and again, worldending is a fool’s game, and what comes after will not be an adventure. Nor would it be the fantasy of a localist retreat to 19th Century farming communities that folks like Jim Kunstler hold so dear (I mean, for Christsakes, no one really wants that life — our ancestors all had that life and they fled it as soon as they could in great teeming masses)

Thank you. That’s precisely the problem with Jim Kunstler and his fellow doomsters. They want to retreat to rural farm life, make things by hand, like that would be any solution at all.

BTW, The Greening of the Rust Belt is already happening.