Mayor David Mayberry's Blog: 2020 Vision?
1/9/2020 10:13:01 AM
In the 90’s the North Korean government built a large pyramid shaped structure near the center of their capital city, Pyong Yang. In May 2002, when I was there it was both unfinished and unused. While the superstructure had reached its summit (at least 30 -40 storeys) the outside cladding and internal walls were not installed. The builders had discovered that the building would not support itself structurally. For the government, this was one of those no-win situations. If you finished the building there was a good chance it would collapse under its own weight creating more than political fallout. If you just left it there, it publically demonstrated a major mistake daily by the government, something to be avoided in their regime. Probably the best answer was it should have been torn down and possibly rebuilt, but the government chose to avoid the problem by not acknowledging its existence. (Apparently if you don’t talk about it, there is a chance it will disappear magically) I say this not to diminish their government, as most governments do that well enough on their own. Rather I use this as an illustration of governments wanting to avoid difficult situations. When faced with problems, if we just focus on something else, there are those who hope that perhaps the problems will go away. Of course, this isn’t just a government problem but a societal one as well.
As we begin 2020, a new year and a new decade, we have a number of problems facing us. While the need to address climate change, by reducing our use of fossil fuels immediately, is by far the biggest challenge facing the planet, we have a number of other issues such as housing that is affordable, a changing global economy which could impact our standard of living dramatically, the increased societal stresses sometimes expressed as mental health and dependency issues and a host of other problems. These are escalating global problems that require solutions now!
At SWOX, your Council acknowledges these “global” issues and is actively seeking “local” solutions. There is no doubt in any thinking person’s mind that we need to make some serious changes if we want our grandchildren and great grandchildren to survive. The first world’s consumption of energy and natural resources needs to be significantly reduced as there is simply not enough environmental capacity on this planet to support the ever-increasing use (and then discarding) of everything. The good news is that since we are all part of the problem, we can all be part of the solution as well.
I believe that most people want to be part of the solution, but like many faced with difficult situations, we sometimes want to take the avoidance route. We can’t do that anymore if we want to give hope to future generations. For many people and governments, the solutions are neither simple nor readily obvious, but they are there. We need to honestly acknowledge the problems and then become active in implementing the changes required. One of the SWOX Council strategic directions for this term is to help our citizens and communities understand and address climate change. This will be a difficult task, but with a new decade comes new resolve as well. When it comes to empowering our 2020 vision, we all need each other, because we are all on the same side when it comes to protecting our future.
- Mayor David Mayberry