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Obama Sounds the Sustainable Development Horn
December 2008

Terry Mock
Executive Director

During the tension-filled press conference to announce key members of his economic team on November 24th, U.S. President-Elect Obama laid out the broad strokes of his plan to revitalize the U.S. economy by focusing on massive investment in development infrastructure designed to boost the economy short-term, and better position the country for long-term prosperity:

“Beyond any immediate actions we may take, we need a recovery plan for both Wall Street and Main Street, a plan that stabilizes our financial system and gets credit flowing again, while at the same time addressing our growing foreclosure crisis, helping our struggling auto industry and creating and saving 2.5 million jobs – jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, modernizing our schools and creating the clean energy infrastructure of the 21st century.”

In concluding, Obama described his plans by specifically injecting the word “sustain(able)” five times:

“Not only do I want the stimulus package to deal with the immediate crisis. I want it also to lay the groundwork for long-term sustained economic growth. We've got to make sure that the investments are made to sustain economic growth over the long term…And then what we also have to do as part of this package, and this is going to be one of the major charges to my economic team, is that we reform how business is done in Washington and how the budgeting process works, how projects are done, so that we have a path towards a sustainable and responsible budget scenario down the line…So the way to think about it is, short term we've got to focus on boosting the economy and creating 2.5 million jobs, but part and parcel of that is a plan for a sustainable fiscal situation long term, and that's going to require some reforms in Washington. Any additional money that we put into the auto industry, any help that we provide, is designed to assure a long-term, sustainable auto industry and not just kicking the can down the road.”

Obama’s blueprint for economic stimulus has received approval from many quarters, both domestically and abroad, including the People’s Daily which reported, “The brilliant part of this plan is that, not only is Obama viewing the current catastrophe as a crisis, but as a historical opportunity.” According to this line of thought, the plan is to combine the financial cushion of the bailout, with the social benefits of education investment and medical insurance, together with energy independence and environmental protection. This holistic triple-bottom-line approach reportedly “will lay a “solid foundation for the long-term sustainable development of the US economy.”

Follow the Money

We will be watching closely to see if the new US President has the ability and political will to follow through when members of Congress push back as established coffers are inevitably threatened as a result of these proposed changes.

On the other hand, there continues to be increasingly powerful demand for change such as that being proposed. According to a post-election note entitled “Achieving a Sustainable Global Economy” from Ceres, an investor network controlling $7 trillion with the mission of integrating sustainability into capital markets, “The stumbling financial markets show the consequences of unfettered pursuit of profits in a system that has no debits on the ledger for environmental degradation and no credits for a social conscience. We must accept the offer made last night by the president-elect to “join in the work of remaking the nation.” And we must hold our new leaders to their promise to reform the instruments of our society to assure a future that is livable, safe and just for everyone.”

Regardless of political affiliation, we all must accept the offer to remake our nation, and collectively hold our leaders’ “feet to the fire” to deliver. SLDI, a developer-led and cooperatively-owned technology and information resource company, is now fully positioned to transform the industry that creates the very infrastructure of our civilization. Sustainable development starts with our global infrastructure. If it is unsustainable, ultimately nothing else can be.

Your participation and comments are welcome.

Terry Mock
Executive Director
Sustainable Land Development International

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      (November/December 2008) Dos Lagos - “We believe that sustainability is not only good for the community and the environment, but it is also a profitable proposition for our development industry and community,”
      Source: Sustainable Land Development Today
    • International Co-operative Alliance
      (October 22, 2008) Representing 219 member organizations from 87 countries and more than 800 million individuals worldwide, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) issued an open letter to the governments of the G-8 reminding them that co-operative financial institutions are an alternative secure, stable and sustainable model of business owned and controlled by people.
      Source: ICA news release


    • Houston Sees Record-low Days of Dangerous Smog
      (December 1, 2008) The former smog capital of the U.S. is steadily getting cleaner.
      Source: Associated Press
    • Obama's Agenda Refreshes Key Climate Talks
      (November 27, 2008) The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, will in some ways mark the end of an era. The U.S.' long-standing opposition to climate regulation is vanishing, offering new opportunities for cooperation with its allies in Europe and beyond.
    • Carbon Dioxide Turns Useful
      (November 27, 2008) A new breed of start-ups are finding ways to convert CO2 into high value materials, simultaneously cutting carbon emissions and providing manufacturers with green raw materials.
    • Going Carbon Negative
      (November/December 2008) Forget wind and solar. A process called pyrolysis could produce energy more efficiently than either one.
      Source: Mother Jones
    • Coalition Pushes Environmental Transition Plan
      (November 25, 2008) Twenty-nine of the country's biggest green groups today rolled out a comprehensive list of actions and policies they'd like President-elect Barack Obama to adopt after he takes office Jan. 20.
    • Sacramento Could Get Boost from Green Economy
      (November 30, 2008) For Sacramento, the light at the end of the economic tunnel may be green. The largest solar-panel factory on the continent is taking shape in McClellan Park.
      Source: Sacramento Bee (California)
    • Trees to Fight Warming? Insurers Ponder Risks
      (November 27, 2008) Paying landowners to let forests grow is promoted by the United Nations as a viable way to fight global warming, but experts first have to puzzle out how to insure trees against going up in smoke.
      Source: Reuters
    • Eco-friendly Move
      (December 1, 2008) The new house on Ferry Street, though nondescript on the outside, is not your typical residence.
      Source: Detroit News
    • Amityville Shrinks its Eco Footprint
      (December 1, 2008) The roof on the newly constructed Amityville Village Hall looks like slate -- only it's made from recycled rubber.
      Source: New York Newsday
    • San Francisco Wants Green Christmas Trees
      (December 1, 2008) Residents of San Francisco can give their city a Christmas present — a tree.
      Source: Morning Edition, NPR
    • A Spirit Moves on the Land: Locally Grown Produce
      (November 28, 2008) In a suburban county where the number of farms has gone from 900 in the 1920s to 406 in 1950 to about a half dozen now, it’s a little hard at first to imagine why anyone would have seen much point in forming the Rockland Farm Alliance last year.
      Source: New York Times. [Registration Required]
    • Thames Estuary Wetlands to be Returned to 'Charles Dickens' Wilderness'
      (November 28, 2008) Wetlands in the Thames Estuary will be returned to the wilderness immortalised by Charles Dickens in plans to create a new national park in the area.
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    • Cleaning Up One of the World's Most Polluted Places
      (November 27, 2008) In the 1980s, Shanxi became the nation's energy powerhouse - driving China's phenomenal growth but polluting the region's air, water, and soil and poisoning the lungs of miners and residents. Now the government is trying to get it off the country's environmental blacklist.
      Source: Living On Earth
    • Churches Heading Down Green Path
      (November 24, 2008) First Congregational, is only one of several Central Massachusetts churches — of all denominations — that have become increasingly involved in educating their members to become more conscious of the environment.
      Source: Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts)

    Editor's Note: SLDI News Service may feature press releases submitted directly by organizations in SLDI's network. This content is not specifically endorsed or supported by SLDI and is not subject to SLDI's editorial process.


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