Saturday, February 28, 2009

At Last, Economy AND Ecology

These are scary times: the stock market tanking, banks collapsing, jobs vanishing, state and city budgets imploding, the housing bubble burst.

As Bill Clinton’s team reminded him frequently in 1992, “it’s the economy, stupid.”

But wait. If you place your finger on the pulse of the planet, you’ll discover that temperatures are rising, glaciers melting, oceans warming, sea levels rising, rainforests burning, coral reefs dying, old-growth forests disappearing, deserts spreading, the world’s population rising, and species vanishing at record rates.

It’s also the ecology, stupid.

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden inaugurated his Middle Class Task Force in Philadelphia, presenting a panel discussion on the emerging green economy. Green collar jobs, everyone noted, is a key path out of our economic wilderness.

As an educator plowing the environmental field for 30 years, this is a hallelujah moment, as at long last there seems to be some recognition that the ecology underpins our economy, that the health of the two have been long connected, and that we have a unique opportunity to restore both, to, as it were feed two birds with the same crumb.

Finally, there is a unique confluence of economy AND ecology, and we no longer have to choose between them.

I hope this moment lasts.

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