Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wisdom from the Woods XI

Wisdom from the Woods is an occasional column that outlines complex issues.

What the hell is President Obama going to do about employment issues this country is facing? Today I am bringing my class to a favorite spot in the woods to discuss recreation and the problems associated with maintaining public lands. You see; governments are not providing the human resources required to maintain the millions of acres in the conservation system. My favorite spot is a great place to demonstrate the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) from the 1930s.

In today's world nobody seems to want to get their hands dirty. Nobody wants to foul up the keyboards of their computers. We do need to have people working in our woodlands as the CCC infrastructure that is still providing services to this day is now starting to fail. Our public lands are in deplorable shape and Governor Nothing (Carcieri) could care less. So we have a problem maintaining our conservation lands and we have a severe unemployment problem. Can't we put the 2 things together again.

I'm not suggesting that we recreate the CCC; but I do believe that there is a ready resource of talented people that could lend a hand to conservation agencies across this country. I think people can be put to work without spending much money. Today's unemployment benefits are continually extended as they should be. I contend that the first 6 months of benefits should remain as it is. After 6 months, why not utilize that unemployed work force to improve conservation infrastructure and to assist natural resource agencies collect data for critical monitoring programs. In other words, keep providing unemployment benefits but require individuals to work 3 days a week for those benefits. The remaining 2 days a week could still be used for employment search. There are many other areas of government that could use a helping hand.

Some will say that searching for work is a full time job. In a normal economy I would argue; yes. Today we do not have a normal economy and let's be realistic, many unemployed folks don't want to find that job until the benefits run out. In my former role I could have put dozens of people to work and I did during the downturn through the Carter years. The Emergency Job Unemployment Act(EJUA) as well as the CETA program provided multiple opportunities to get conservation work done. If the unemployed are getting paid anyway, let's find a way to utilize their talents.


1 comment:

  1. I am more immediately concerned with the urbanization of our population. In a time when factory farming is becoming increasingly dysfunctional and unsustainable, access to water depends on an infrastructure which relies on a tax base. Ditto sanitation. Medicine : good luck with that. Single Payer isn't even on the table.
    And the natural botanicals which formed the basis for modern pharmacology are increasingly inaccessible. Monsanto et al have legislation in place which will effectively do the same thing to seed stocks : and in India and Africa their ascent has been coincidental with mass farmer suicides.

    I don't live in the U.S. : but the same forces are at work north of the 49th.
    Not to disregard your point : Waste Not, Want Not is never a poor outlook. Sabotage of our infrastructure is, however, an extraordinary threat : even if it is accomplished merely by neglect.
    I have a number of posts on water and agriculture up by now at opitslinkfest.blogspot.com. The index, however, is still at my.opera.com/oldephartte/links/
    Reposting thoughts by activist farmers and the water news crowd has been unsettling, to say the least.