Sustainability is defined as the ability to survive, to sustain life.
Prior to 2020, most individuals were content to plod through the daily grind, eeking out a living on a leash that failed to accommodate any improvement. Most individuals dreamed of “spare time” to fix what was wrong with their lives – later. Then, COVID happened. The continuum disrupted. Jobs evaporated. Childcare options disappeared. Families got reacquainted. Income shriveled up despite the governmental assistance. Families survived on less, bought less. Regardless of a return to some kind of normal, the world is still upside down.
Businesses failed – or survived. Individuals went back to work – or didn’t. All too many, pushed to overload, simply quit: quit working, quit accomplishing, quit trying, quit caring. The effects of LONG TERM COVID complicated lives. When you are up against a wall, you tend to become “introspective”, looking for a way “out”. People became “pushy”, combative, self-centered.
The result: Many discovered benefits in “time off”. Many remembered the scheduling advantages inherent in having only one job. Some individuals retired. Settling for less income and less spending power, some cut back work hours for time with family or hobbies. Some hobbies became entrepreneurships, expecting controllable hours. However, those in managerial positions are working more hours because many people are not returning to the workforce. Now, many businesses are finding they must close early to curtail the hours to a workable schedule, because they lack the employees to stay open. In an effort to attract more employees, wages have risen which increases inflation to unexpected levels, which decreases the ability to avoid work. As inflation rises more individuals will return to the workforce, which, hopefully, will result in the capability of defining the desired balance of work and life beyond the workplace.
And yet we hear of people who cannot find work. Even amid rising expenses, people must be able to maintain housing, food, medical, and transportation to access these necessities. While there are disagreements about how to resolve the issues, most individuals, even most politicians, agree that economic disaster occurs when the populace cannot attain these 4 ingredients. All too often, the lack of these 4 necessities drives an individual over the brink, to robbery, to drugs, to alcohol, to the omnipresent “acting out” that takes down innocent bystanders.
Therefore, we must provide a way that every parent can earn a living for their family; every individual can earn one for themselves. This is the only way to build a sustainable community. Part of the solution may be providing for those who are out of work – but that is not long-term sustainability. Provision by government requires a tax base to support it. Provision by the business community drives inflation upwards at an alarming rate. Provision by charity also has its limitations. Provision in dedicated tent colonies might be a road back to survival. Denver’s Safe Outdoor Space program is a step in this direction and it has been established that the SOS communities lower the local crime rate. Education may be another part of the solution. Education usually increases income, and often makes the job more rewarding. Whatever the pieces to resolution, we must instill in every man, woman, and child the motivation to succeed and the confidence in their capability to do so. This is what makes a community economically sustainable.
Agree? Disagree? Comments. RRRcyc@signsandwishes.com