There is a price to pay for cheap energy and gas for our cars that goes beyond dollars, as we saw this year with the 29 dead miners in West Virginia and the 11 on the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf. American labor used to make things and fix things, and used to be proud to do it, for a decent wage.
But somehow over the last 50 years, America's business became one of building houses, cars and roads to get to the houses, digging up coal to make electricity to cool the houses, buying oil around the world to run the cars, and filling big box stores with cheap imported crap to fill the houses, all on borrowed money and subsidized by cheap gas. That cycle is over.
Greenpoint Farm, Brooklyn
But there are alternative models. We can celebrate the people who are bringing food back to the city with urban and rooftop farms.
We can celebrate the people who are making things from local, sustainably harvested materials, building markets for craftsmanship and longevity.
We can celebrate the people who fix things and keep us moving, like our bike mechanics.
That isn't a lot of people, and it won't soak up the 10% of the population that is out of work. But if we are going to fix our leaky buildings, our food system and create local jobs, a lot of us are going to have to have to learn to work with our hands again, we are going to have to learn to respect and celebrate the work of people that do, and we are going to have to be willing to pay a fair price for it.
Labor Day in TreeHugger:
Labor Day: Time to Think about Fair Trade
Happy Labour Day (And That Is How You Should Spell It)