For those who prefer history chopped up into neat slices, John McCain’s modest concession speech on the lawn of the Arizona Biltmore on November 5, 2008, seemed like a clean cut of the knife. With the economy in a nosedive, it was not just the end of a presidential campaign. The neoliberal era seemed to be over–its reigning troika of deregulation, marketization, and privatization cast into disgrace, along with its most recent fiscal vehicles such as debt leveraging and speculation in finance and land. Nowhere was the devastation more visible than in McCain’s hometown. Phoenix had flown highest in the race to profit from the housing bubble, and it had fallen the furthest. Footage of the metro region’s outer-ring subdivisions reclaimed by sage grass, tumbleweed, and geckos was as evocative of the bubble’s savage aftermath as photographs of the Dust Bowl’s windblown soil had been of the Great Depression.
I confess: I drive “a Prius, eat organic and support wilderness preservation.” I am under no illusion, however, that doing these things makes my lifestyle sustainable. There is much more to achieving sustainability goals personally and, more significantly, sustainability … Continue reading “A City like the Desert”