As soon as I posted the last note on “rebuilding”, I knew all that wasn’t done. Not even close. But somebody’s got to do it. Really.
We’re now past the start of April and the traditional April Fool’s Day. I managed to not encounter much of the bullshit that people traditionally perpetrate on April 1st. I’ve never been too amused by that, anyway, and it wears very thin, really fast, in a time when it’s getting more and more like it’s April Fool’s Day every day. Being a clown spending a day fabricating some elaborate falsehood, as their idea of a practical joke, always has struck me as a pretty awful way to mess up a perfectly good early spring day. It starts to become something grotesque when we have a load of people doing this every day, and many of them are in positions where people take them seriously.
I keep peeking at what’s happening in the world of Wall Street, as relayed through people’s television sets by CNBC. The feeling of absurdity and sheer unreality is almost palpable, every time I take a look. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has spent some time still hanging around roughly the 14500 mark (whatever that really means), and that crowd chatters with excitement about that number, as they track it, as meaningless and ephemeral as it is. I look again, “The Dow” (DJIA Magic Number) is over 14800, and I didn’t stop to absorb the chatter about it from the TV characters.
[I can’t see or hear news about the current Dow Jones Industrial Average without thinking about how many of the companies comprising it are not exactly industrial, as in, engaged in the business activity of making useful things. That’s a pretty good indicator about the economy as it is now, about what it is, in the minds in that world.]
The crude oil prices were hanging right around $94/barrel for WTI, and $104/barrel for Brent. Recent prices of those two benchmarks have been staying right in the $90-$100 range for West Texas International, and $100-$110 for Brent.
Combine this with the fact that worldwide daily oil extraction rates have been staying around the range of 72 million to 75 million barrels per day, in a “wobbly plateau” or “bumpy plateau”, averaging out to essentially flat, since around 2004-2005. Take all that, and add in the kinds of scrounging around for any remaining petroleum crude, or even material that isn’t oil at all (bitumen from tar sands) and you have the big-clue signs of us riding the limits of worldwide peak in petroleum extraction rates clubbing us over the head.
In all these daily festivals of babbling chatter and flying flashing stats onscreen, nobody is recognizing that all this adds up to a set of clues that form the exact picture that we were warned about years ago and gathered into the summary descriptive term of “peak oil”.
This is probably a good time to offer once again, for your review, a list of some of the past comments about the housing bubble, including names that might be familiar as being high visibility “expert authority” figures of media and politics. The common ground is that their common insistence, that the real estate bubble building up, and heading for an inevitable shitstorm implosion, was some form or another of “no problem!”. They were saying that, right up until it was a problem, a huge one.
It’s many of the same bunch you can see popping up regularly and often in yapfests on CNBC and in the Wall Street Journal and all the other financial and business media, chatting up whatever bag of goods they’re selling from their wagon, mixed in among all the other noise, such as the babbling bullshit telling Americans that we’re in an “energy boom on the path to energy independence!”.
At some point it’s unavoidable to realize that most or all of these people are either severely delusional, massive liars, or, probably most likely, both. It’s like an endless year-round April Fool’s Day practical joke, and they’re not kidding. Well, wait. I can’t really be sure about that. It’s almost impossible sometimes to be able to tell for sure, in discerning whether some of these people are honestly that deluded, or that profoundly dishonest.
The spectacle of the TV talking heads on the cable business shows, gushing over each other about “the Dow is at another record high!”, shows how detached that world has become from the real economy. In the real economy, of real life, lived in reality, right now, work isn’t getting done, and people aren’t getting paid for doing useful work.
Somehow, we have to find ways of functioning without the grifters and clowns. Iceland had the right idea. Elsewhere in Europe, the bankster games have caused increasing problems, for the European nations still playing the games, as we’ve been seeing in the dramas in Cyprus.
One of their pet riffs is “recovery in housing markets“. I’m starting to see something disturbing in how some of the supposed “housing recovery” is actually shaping up. Basically, you could sum up some of the “recovery” activity in house sales as vultures swooping in to snatch up the deals left by the misfortune of others. That only compounds the problems of people who would like to buy a house as, you know, a place to live. Instead of the “bubble” dissipating and house prices coming back to realistic levels that fit what money people have, these kinds of sales pump prices back up.
There’s much more to this complex and problematic epic. That, obviously, includes the problems going the other way, which is the severe problems of people who paid insanely high inflated “bubble” prices for houses, when people were caught in the madness of thinking prices were just climbing and climbing forever. For those people, the drop in house prices has hammered them with losses. You have to be in a coma or something to not know how this has devastated people’s lives, and caused major grief even for the people who are able to deal with it without it completely wrecking their lives.
Incredibly, there are signs that the problems that eventually imploded in 2008 have not only not gone away, and have gotten worse, but there are people who would like to have more of it, because it suits their grand plans.
The thing is that nearly all the activity and talk and attention about “housing” still largely, absurdly, revolves around the matters of housing in terms of suburban housing developments. What has been called “the psychology of previous investment” or the problem of “sunk investment costs” keeps people bound to these places, when the reality of diminishing returns of petroleum mean that the project of suburban sprawl development is done. Over. The only question remaining is about how many people understand this.
That’s a tough one.
I’m not the first person to look at all this and notice something of a cargo cult phenomenon in this stuff. To borrow from the Wikipedia entry about the concept, metaphorical usage of the term, like in this case, is described like so:
The term “cargo cult” has been used metaphorically to describe an attempt to recreate successful outcomes by replicating circumstances associated with those outcomes, although those circumstances are either unrelated to the causes of outcomes or insufficient to produce them by themselves. In the former case, this is an instance of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.
The past few decades have been a demonstration of a common mode of thinking that basically says “back in the decades of the fifties and sixties, America was in an era of constant, fast, gigantic economic growth, it was an era of prosperity and progress, while we charged full speed ahead outward from our old cities into vast expansive projects of new suburban development construction… so, clearly, to improve our troubled economy, we need more new expanding suburban development!“. This, at this stage, is much worse than being some kind of non-sequitur logic mishap.
People talk about the problems of lack of work of construction trades, but only think in terms of more new outer suburban housing, or commercial buildings. Where we need to turn our attention, and where there’s much needed work to be done, is in readjusting to fit present and future reality.
There are vast areas of the cores of countless America cities where the decades of suburban sprawl development abandoned things to rot. These were once functional and healthy and active neighborhoods, real communities, business districts, integrated together in arrangements that worked without burning vast amounts of petroleum fuel in vehicles hauling people long distances for everything, because they were designed and arranged and built to work that way, because they were made that way when jumping in cars and driving for miles, for virtually every daily activity, was not an option.
How we deal with this is going to be tricky and complicated. It’s probably not going to be very easy, and for a start, one of the more difficult parts is dealing with the fact that so many people seem to have no idea we need to do it. Pretending we don’t need to do it is only making it worse.
One big obvious problem here is that simply writing off places, walking away from a house, and moving and buying another home, is just not a practical option for many people. Just packing up and buying a new place in a more functional area and simply abandoning the old place is not a viable plan for a lot of people who are finding themselves stuck in some outer suburban zone, and newly poor.
There are very bright people who have studied this subject of the arrangement of places, and written a great deal about it. I refer you to them. You might recall one of the links in the last note, Q&A: Ellen Dunham-Jones on retrofitting suburbia. That probably gets right to the point pretty well in basic practical terms about how we’re going to deal with all of this.
At this point, we arrive at a whole large batch of sticking points. It would take a whole book to really examine everything involved, just to sort out what’s what and how we arrived at it, never mind laying out some simple plan of “solutions”. That idea, in itself, is an awkward sticking point of a problem. Name a problematic set of circumstances, and people want some simple neat “solutions” offered that can be laid out in a paragraph, or better yet, a neat one sentence blurb that can fit on a bumper sticker and be used as a slogan. It’s not that fucking simple.
In short form; we really have problems of some kind of national public psychological rut of operating in simplistic cliches.
I’ve already been addressing that kind of thing, at length, repeatedly, in terms of the “energy issues” that are part of the essential problems and tasks we need to deal with here. This is a severe problem and it’s getting worse, even while more sensible people operating in the realm of reality try to clue people in on the actual state of things now and then.
Talking about overhauling places in America, as it’s badly needed, can probably get people flying off down the wrong path mentally. Talking about overhauling cities, to actually function again as cities were meant to function, as they have been all through human civilization up until the arrival of the oil age, probably gets many people veering off into embedded notions in their minds, about all the stuff that came around a few decades ago in the form of various “urban renewal” projects, that were serious, profound, fundamentally dysfunctional mishaps all their own.
That happened more or less in tandem with the phenomenon of American suburban sprawl, of course. Large portions of older parts of American cities were destroyed, instead of doing as, oh, say, Europe has been doing with old existing urban structure for centuries, maintaining and repairing and occasionally refurbishing and updating places and keeping them alive and working. Old functioning neighborhoods and other urban fabric were demolished, and mostly replaced with new dysfunctional trash.
The more you look at it, the more it’s obvious that virtually everything that we’ve done in the United States over the second half of the 20th century in the domain of building and arranging places has been, in one way or another, been based on assumptions that everything will be driven by finite resources of hydrocarbon fuels with the further assumption that they’re limitless and perpetual.
In past notes I’ve mentioned the excellent documentary The End of Suburbia. Over the past year or so, I’ve come across another couple of very good documentary programs on television that explain at length some of the problems I’ve been talking about, and the serious dilemmas we, here in America, have made for ourselves over the last 50 or 60 years. We’ve really and truly boxed ourselves into big problems.
One of them is Sprawling from Grace: The Consequences of Suburbanization, which I saw on CNBC. (Incidentally, looking this up on the web, I found that there is something titled Sprawling From Grace: Driven To Madness, and I’m a bit puzzled about whether or not this is actually a different item. I’ll have to check into this. Somebody please clue me in if you know.)
The other was Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City on PBS.
All of them do a very good job of laying out in pretty direct and straightforward terms what the problems are with the American post-WWII suburban experiment. A primary problem about the whole thing revolves around the subject of petroleum, its finite nature, and the problems of oil gluttony that this system of arrangements has caused, and how those problems, in turn, cause serious functional problems for that very way of arranging places. These documentaries all refer to this, although only The End of Suburbia really does much to explain the characteristics explained in Hubbert’s curve, the problems of reaching the limitations at peak and the turn into diminishing returns decline of depletion.
All them do get that general problem across, and, more than that, get the problems across to viewers about the more broad and general problems of the dysfunction of this way of arranging things, of spreading everything out and compartmentalizing, just in broad terms of what some people would call “quality of life”.
In The End of Suburbia, one of the people interviewed is Peter Calthorpe. Calthorpe is among the crowd under the broad umbrella of the New Urbanists. In one segment, he explains, as illustrations onscreen show the transformations, how areas that were built up as typical outer suburban zones, with all the problems of “single-use” zoning separation, and presumptions of individual car transportation for everything, can be overhauled and turned into functionally integrated places again.
The Blueprint America documentary on Detroit is a bit grim, but this was something that should probably be viewed by everybody in America, and get some long, serious reflection. It’s obviously focused on the status of one particular American city, but it’s not some unique anomaly. In a way, it’s almost a kind of worst case scenario that ought to jolt people awake because it has certain characteristics that might be worse there, but apply to cities across the country.
I think that the story of the situation of Detroit is largely misunderstood, and the Blueprint America program illustrates it well. In the words of one of the Detroit residents interviewed, “we’ve had a fifty year experiment in building cities around cars, and we realize that now that doesn’t work”.
Bring up Detroit, and you can expect all the usual conventional ideas people have about cliches of “the decaying Rust Belt”, and “the decline of the American auto industry”. The fact is, that Detroit’s deterioration was already well underway when the Big Three car companies were thriving. For that matter, despite the well known troubles of GM and Chrysler within very recent history, the Big Three are still a going concern. How much of these car companies are actually in the city of Detroit is another matter. The car companies themselves were abandoning the city of Detroit itself years ago, and more to the point, first enabling, and encouraging, and then speeding up the abandonment and decay of Detroit.
The Blueprint America: Beyond the Motor City program tells the tale of what happened. Detroit led the way in building wide high speed highways, especially the limited-access expressway type we know so well now. It was all about cars, encouraging car use, making everything revolve around cars to get everywhere. The idea seemed to be, distance is now trivial, irrelevant, as long as, of course, you bought yourself some new Detroit iron.
The effects were major, and the programs sums them up quickly, the rest is all showing all the details and repercussions that followed.
First, whole large swaths of neighborhoods and functioning fabric of the city were wiped up, bulldozed away for the highway corridors. What wasn’t literally wiped out was virtually destroyed by being split up and separated by no-man’s-land highway corridors. Compounding that destruction, of communities, and just basic functionality, more and more people, thinking that distances didn’t matter anymore, moved out into the new outer suburban zones, into the world of Happy Motoring. That turned into a negative feedback downward spiral. The more people left, the less appealing the city of Detroit became, and this was aggravated more and more as more and more of the people who were still there were people who were too poor to afford to join the suburban migration.
The general state of things of the city of Detroit is that the decades of efforts to really make it The Motor City have left a very strange landscape. You can do some searching on the web and probably find loads of material about that, with lots of pictorial evidence. Look at The Ruins of Detroit.
When people talk about Detroit, it’s worth making the distinction about the fact that they’re often going to be talking about Detroit as a general metropolitan area rather than the actual city. The Blueprint America program showed quite a bit of how much of Detroit looks now. It’s a place where large expanses of what was medium density urban city is largely abandoned wasteland, with only the occasional scattered houses left, amid grids of city blocks that no longer look like city. It looks like some kind of ghost town, or even like old decaying rural places, looking alone and isolated, in what people would call “inner city”.
It’s a really, truly, incomprehensively strange thing, and with this state of things comes one of the really odd dilemma problems of Detroit. There are areas like that, where neighborhoods that would be usually called urban or inner city are so spread out, that a municipality struggling financially, because the life has been sucked out of it, struggles to fund systems of public mass transit over a large geographical area with very low population density. The twisted irony is that this is a major problem where the normal population density of a city, unlike suburban arrangements, should make that easier and more efficient.
It’s a real mind twister to take in the scenes of all that, and really get your head around what happened there, and understand how it happened. James Howard Kunstler’s book The City in Mind takes looks at a variety of different cities around the world and analyzes them, and Detroit is one of them. He does a good job of painting the scene of what was, and what things are now. It’s tragic.
It’s a side note, but relevant, to notice what I found when I just reviewed a webpage on the Detroit Free Press site. [A side note to the side note is that I was actually reviewing a news story about something I’ve decided to leave out of this, today, about a whole epic of dysfunction in state and local government concerning Detroit. It isn’t that it isn’t important enough. It’s central and vital. It’s just too damned huge and snarled, a whole subject all its own.]
In a side column of the webpage is a little block of rotating real estate sales listings. I sat and watched them roll by for a few minutes, watching dozens of listings go past. Every one of them was a sale listing of some McMansion type house in various satellite suburban sprawl zones surrounding Detroit. Not one of them, not a single house, was actually in the city of Detroit. I’m not kidding. Not a single one.
A main focus in the Blueprint America program was the set of problems of lack of functional public mass transportation. The hollowing out of Detroit created large expanses of wasteland that has effectively turned into extreme low population density semi-rural zones, in what’s supposedly “urban” area. That brings the dilemma that people there are effectively stranded by public transport being cut back more, as the deterioration of the city reduces tax revenues for funding, for transport spread more thin by covering the same areas, but serving fewer people, prompting manager types to want to cut lower efficiency routes.
That essentially means bus service, as is the case in many American cities, as any kind of light rail urban transportation system is nonexistent. That’s one of the themes of the TV program.
Many years ago, there was a plan for a light rail local mass transit system for Detroit. All that was actually built was a small loop around part of downtown they call “the People Mover“, which is probably semi-useful around downtown. It essentially ended up serving as just a kind of novelty item, and a showpiece for what could have been built, if only we were not so foolishly shortsighted in past times, when there was the money to do it. Instead, money and resources left and went into more and more and more suburban sprawl and highways to serve as commuter roads over long distances over all that territory.
There’s the dilemma, not unique to Detroit alone. Back when America was most prosperous, and “economic growth” was becoming regarded as a norm that would never end, we could have been developing fine, functional, well designed mass transportation systems, and developing our cities in design plans that maintained the advantages of cities, of integrating life and work and all the activities of human life in reasonably close proximity and intelligent arrangements. Instead, we poured money and resources into a full speed outward charge into suburban sprawl, and abandoned cities and working urban fabric.
It’s almost as if we were on a reverse Marshall Plan. I’m not the first person to think this, but if we look at the core areas of many American cities, if not most, and take a look at cities in Europe that were in the middle of the mass destruction of World War II, as they are today, it almost seems bizarre, enough to prompt thoughts asking “wait a minute, who won World War II?”. It’s as if, as the United States poured funding into rebuilding European cities that were badly damaged in the second world war via the Marshall Plan, we were pouring loads of money and resources into our own reverse or inverted Marshall Plan to destroy American cities.
That’s an astonishing and just plain bizarre thing. What makes this even more astonishing and bizarre is how few Americans even seem to notice this, and understand what the fuck we’ve done to ourselves, and following generations.
Now, in the circumstances we’re in, having spent decades pissing away the wealth and resources of the nation into places that just don’t work without limitless and cheap petroleum, trying to get people’s minds around what we actually do runs into all kinds of failures of understanding and raw attitude problems. We have a population largely in suburban zones, who think of that as normal. Talk about functional cities in intelligently arrangements of walkable areas and efficient public mass transport, and you’ll find people who instantly equate “urban” with “ghetto“, and regard anything about public mass transport as some kind of communist plot to steal and waste taxpayer’s money.
This is a challenging situation, to be gentle about it.
The specific case of Detroit is just one, as I said, that’s especially extreme, and important to look at closely just because of that severity. At this point, as was addressed in a story on the midday radio show Here and Now, people are doing things like trying to have at least somewhat organized and coherent salvage of old derelict houses.
Incidentally, looking at a photo of an example place in the middle of the city of Detroit, it’s obvious and striking, to say the least. It’s not just the crumbling abandoned house, that was once a perfectly good happy home to families. It’s what’s around the house, or, to be more specific, what’s not. There are endless examples of places like that, where, if the photographer backed up for a wider view, you would see a vast expanse of little or nothing around the place, where there was once a full living neighborhood.
So, there’s that “deconstruction” project. Then what?
People such as Calthorpe and the general New Urbanist bunch have the right ideas. People need to become aware of them, and get past any stupid notions like “oh, that sounds nice in some idealistic way, but that’s not realistic, we can’t do that, we don’t want to do that, that’s just now how things are done”. There isn’t an option here. The way these guys think is the way everybody thought about cities and how to arrange the places we inhabit, before assumptions of endless petroleum fueled Happy Motoring kicked in, and there were, and are, fundamental practical reasons to that thinking. We all have to get our heads around the fact that this is not going to be optional. This is how things are going to go, whether we’ve planned it, and worked it out well, or not.
I came across a great example of people thinking these things through and creating a plan for building places that makes sense. In this case, somebody applied the formal descriptive term of “Microcommunities” (they capitalized the word, not me). It’s just a little unfortunate, a mild annoyance, that this reflects the need some people have to stick some kind of novelty term on something to give it some sort of, what, marketing appeal, or whatever you might call it, rather than just letting it stand on its own, as a thing as it is, just, you know, good design. There has to be some kind of lingo, to make something sound more special, that ought to be just plain normal. (It just occurred to me that some character somewhere will say something about “branding”.
The design plan offered up comes from a bunch called Dwell Development, a project they call Columbia Station. I’ll skip a large pile of chattering I could do in describing the thing, and let you go and look things over for yourself.
Look at it in terms of function. I mean, just like we could get all bogged down in the whole subject of what novel lingo (or “branding”?) people feel necessary to slap on things, aside from the thing itself, its characteristics and value, I thing about how easy it is to go off and look at presentations on some architectural firm’s website and get all wound up in the particular aesthetics of the stuff at hand. Thoughts come to mind about how more than a few people can get derailed when it comes to this kind of thing, treating it like being pointed to an art gallery show opening or something, maybe having an attitude about it something like “hey, I haven’t got time for this shit, I got to deal with the real world and practical stuff”.
The whole point of this particular design project is about the real world practical stuff.
It’s about making places that work, that function, in line with reality, and making places that are worth inhabiting while we’re at it. It isn’t a novelty, it isn’t a new fashion, and it’s not complicated. I hate to belabor the point, but it isn’t even really new.
Again, the impulse of some people to slap some kind of label on things can be unfortunate in more way than one, and I think that’s true in having to stick the terms “New Urbanism“, and “New Urbanists“, on forms of thinking and the people involved, when that stuff is largely about recovering old understanding and knowledge that people already figured out, and applied, long ago.
When considering this movement, and the thinking involved, there are, of course, areas where there can be new thinking, and where there’s a need for new thinking. We’re not talking about some simplistic retro-nostalgia fashion wave here. That might need emphasis, as I see the potential for serious problems in terms of people severely misunderstanding it all, thinking this is some retro movement of people saying “if only we would return to the old traditional ways, life would be grand”. People could seriously miss the point.
That whole movement is about living in the present and moving into the future, with a grasp of practical reality as the basis, with an understanding that much of what we need to change, and do, going forward, we already know how to do. It’s just simply that so much of it was tossed away, as if it was obsolete. That was a royally epic mistake. There’s really no way to overstate the problem there.
Obviously, the main focus of my attention on this stuff relates to our predicaments in the finite nature of underground hydrocarbon deposits we use for fuel, and the problems inherent in this in terms of transportation. My attention on the things that have the attention and thought of the New Urbanist people are less about what we construct in terms of buildings and much more about the point of where we build them.
There’s another element to the subject that’s worth a serious chunk of time and thought. How we’ve changed things in how buildings are designed and constructed gets into another similar territory, in terms of gradually becoming accustomed to the irrational idea that these underground hydrocarbons are limitless. We get to the whole matter of how buildings are kept at comfortable temperature, as well as heating water to provide us with hot running water via the plumbing fixtures. For a while now, here in the United States people have been operating in modes of thinking and common practice of slapping together big sealed boxes, and then doing the above things by pumping in massive inputs of energy, in the form of electrical energy (however that’s generated in the case at hand) or by burning natural gas.
I don’t know about you, but more than once I’ve been in some place and had the same experience. Somebody simply has their HVAC system set to kick on the air conditioning if it’s above 72F, and the heating system kicks in if the temperature drops below 72F, or whatever the threshold temperature is for them. Suggest something like, for example, opening windows for fresh air flow when the temperature gets warm in the warm weather months, and they look at you like you’ve said something bizarre and baffling. Why would I do that? Bonus points for irony if they turn around and shortly afterwards they’re bitching about the bills for the natural gas and electric utilities
There’s an entire area for scrutiny and discussion if we go back to the common notions around in the last few decades about “rust belt” versus “sun belt” regions of the US. The subject of population shifts and economic matters surrounding this is an old one, at this point, but lacking much clear realism. We all know the standard riffs, about people leaving the cold snowy northern latitudes and heading to suburban sprawl zones across the southern latitudes, for “the nicer weather”. What’s seriously lacking in that mindset is a sense of understanding that a lot of places featuring in this saga, like Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, et cetera, would very suddenly and dramatically not seem nearly so nice to a lot of people, if suddenly one day all air conditioning ceased to work. That’s including not only buildings of all kinds, but the cabins of people’s individual motor vehicles as they shuffle around, covering miles and miles between widely scattered places built up in suburban sprawl mode over the second half of the 20th century.
We have quite a lot that needs to be overhauled and reworked fundamentally. How to get this done is going to be a challenge, made more complicated by the problems of money, of the bizarre reality warp that has taken hold over the last few decades in the realm of finance, of capital. It’s even more difficult given the kind of cargo cult fixations that have a hold on people in ideas of new housing construction being a benchmark of economic health, and the general consensus is still that what’s needed is more new buildings farther and farther out from city centers in what might have been good farmland not long ago.
To quote from something by Jeremy Grantham:
The problems of compounding growth in the face of finite resources are not easily understood by optimistic, short-term-oriented, and relatively innumerate humans (especially the political variety).
The fact is that no compound growth is sustainable. If we maintain our desperate focus on growth, we will run out of everything and crash. We must substitute qualitative growth for quantitative growth.
Even if the money problems didn’t exist, it should be obvious that there is no great grand project that’s going to redesign and redevelop and rebuild cities in more functionally compacted and integrated forms by either some massive developer’s project or government works. That isn’t going to work that way, because cities were not built that way to begin with, not even when we found ourselves in a nation that saw itself as just floating in seas of material wealth and cash and general prosperity.
The work that needs to be done does need to be done, by plain necessity, it’s going to have to be done as it can be, little by little, but also as quickly as we can, and there is only one thing that can get it going, or even make it possible.
We all must understand this stuff.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world – indeed it is the only thing that ever has” -Margaret Mead