Enough with the problem recitations, please. Article after article, in all sources both print and electronic, all we get is descriptions of problems, admonitions to face the reality (whatever it is at the moment), and the advice that we should do something.
But hardly anyone offers concrete steps to be taken or solutions we should implement to solve our problems.
Typical of the proliferation of such articles is this one: “Are we prepared for a climate crisis in the middle of a pandemic?” by Olivia Aguilar. According to Dr. Aguilar, we are not. So what should we do about it? Form committees. In about 1100 words that is the only concrete step she recommends.
Articles of little merit or value are generated by the score every day in colleges and universities that pressure their faculty members to publish something, anything, whether they have anything to say or not.
So-called think tanks are also prolific factories of shrieking calls to do something without even a scintilla of solutions offered. I’ve read article after article, watched countless mind-numbing Youtube videos, and listened to a few podcasts, all about how we need to prepare for this or that problem: global warming, swarms of climate refugees, the Coronavirus epidemic, food shortages, overpopulation, and on and on. The list of problems facing or about to consume us is endless. The list of solutions is, well, pretty much blank.
What follows are a few of the problems that need solutions, at least in rough format, that come to my mind without a lot of thought (which is my preferred mode). They could be fleshed out with a little research and high-powered thinking on the part of these people who have sinecures in academia and think tanks. With more of a project-orientation—solution centered as they like to say—they could actually earn their money by giving us some steps to follow.
- Lawn to gardens. For at least eight years there has been a push in some quarters to convert our ridiculous lawns into gardens, especially vegetable gardens. Food supply is going to undergo serious threat so we need more how-to instruction on things like:
— Getting municipal codes changed to accommodate gardens in place of lawns.
— Psychological methods for breaking homeowners away from their grass fetish.
— Protection methods against natural pillagers and human thieves.
— And while we’re at it, canning procedures to store the produce from those gardens.
- Golf courses to affordable housing. Golf courses are going to rapidly become a thing of the past. The areas they occupy could be converted to affordable housing. Focus on:
— How to bring about forced change of ownership from private golf course owners. Municipalization?
— Political action to achieve conversion of municipally owned courses.
— How to incorporate the renting of small garden plats for individuals on former golf courses.
- Farmland conversion. The dominance of beef and corn production are extremely problematic aspects of agriculture that must be radically changed.
— Alternative crops appropriate to particular areas and circumstances.
— Debt amelioration for farmers heavily invested in equipment and land.
- Wind and solar acceptance. Over 70 percent of the American public supports alternative energy sources. But when it comes to actually implementing them the public wants them anywhere but in their own vicinity.
— What influence techniques or methods would bring better acceptance of local installations?
— What financial incentives or other benefits could be generated, and what would their sources be, to gain acceptance?
- Propaganda remediation. Talk radio, social media, and Fox News have been seriously and in some cases almost entirely subverted to propaganda machines for contemporary populists and other rabble.
— How can these media be effectively neutralized without censorship?
— What methods could be employed to undo years of biased influence in people who have willingly subjected themselves to the relentless barrage of right wing misinformation and anti-social ideas?
- Education rejuvenation. Starting in the late 1950s the far right-wing segment of the Republican party began to advance a policy of influence over the educational system to bring it into alignment with their warped values and focus on personal, financial wealth. Their strategy included gaining control of school boards, state departments of education, and educational legislation. They have in large measure been successful.
— What kinds of political strategies will be necessary, and effective, in returning school board representation to the broader swath of the public?
— What will be required to bring about truly free education from preschool through college?
— State legislatures need to step up and fund higher education. How can that be achieved?
— How can organizations like parent teacher organizations be more empowered to help bring about substantive, positive changes in public education?
- Enlightenment values. The United States was once the proud embodiment in the world of higher enlightenment values. That is no longer the case with our incessant, never-ending wars and interference with foreign governments everywhere. What would it take to get back to a positive moral stature?
- Freedom. It would be difficult to enumerate all the losses of freedom and liberty that have occurred just in my lifetime. This must perforce be the broadest and most difficult topic on this list. In brief, how do we regain our liberty?
This is a list I conjured up in just a few minutes. Certainly they are among those topics I think about frequently, and they are really only a small subset of the possible topics people could be studying, researching, and writing about.
And of course some are doing exactly that. Do an Internet search of any of the terms of this list and many sources will come up. But they are often, as is this one, isolated and relatively obscure websites. What we really need is for those with the biggest megaphones to stop dithering with resume or CV padding crap and produce something meaningful and useful.