Friday, March 10, 2023

#69 / Gentrification By Fire


"Gentrification By Fire" is the headline that appears on an article in the February 10, 2023, edition of The Washington Post. Climate change, The Post says, is raising housing prices, since when existing homes burn down, replacement housing inevitably costs more, and that means that people with average and below average incomes are, increasingly, not able to buy a home. 

Even worse, of course, people with average and below average incomes are, increasingly, not even able to rent a home!

Taking effective steps to stop the release of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere (which really means ending the use of hydrocarbon fuels) will, of course, help deal with this new impetus to gentrification. However, I don't think that there is much chance that we can get out in front of gentrification, including "gentrification by fire," by making aggressive efforts to reduce the activities that are leading to global warming. In fact, "gentrification," if we want to call it that (I'd call it "economic displacement," myself), will continue to progress as long as we maintain that a person's ability to have basic shelter is a completely independent responsibility of each individual, with each person having to provide basic shelter for herself or himself. 

To the contrary, as the "climate crisis" makes pretty clear, I think, we need to take "collective" and "cooperative" steps to make the basic necessities of life available to everyone. The solution to the "climate crisis," and to "gentrification by fire," is the same solution that we must deploy to solve all of our most pressing problems. We need effective ways to implement this basic principle - something I would like to hope we are all coming to recognize: 
We are in this together!
If that's true (and I think it's pretty clear that it is), then that means that we have to address and solve our problems by working together, not by persisting in the idea that every individual person is, truly, a singular and isolated person, who faces the challenges of life alone, and who has to solve all those problems individually.

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