Positive Signs

Summer                                                             Most Heat Moon

Some positive signs. News about climate change has gone from whether to when, how much and what do we do. Though this is a fight that will require joint effort beyond anything I’ve seen short of a war, the U.S. can lead if it finds the will. A change in the public opinion atmosphere, in this case, may lead to a change in the less gaseous atmosphere.

Another. News reports have begun to notice inner city America. Again. Urban poverty became prevalent long before climate change arose. Roman and Chinese cities in ancient times already grappled with its problems. Over the course of my life urban issues have had their cycles, reaching a zenith during the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson and his Great Cities programs.

Today’s Star-Tribune has an article that grazes the issue written by Chicago Tribune conservative Steve Chapman who quotes Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic.  This link to the Atlantic collects several of Coates’ fine essays on urban America, particularly urban black America with a focus on Chicago. He’s making a case for reparations, that is, some form of restitution for all those effected by chattel slavery. Well worth reading.

Cities and their issues were the focus of my professional and political life. It’s heartening to me to see these matters beginning to take up space in various media. The amount of human heartache and the egregious loss of raw talent occasioned through urban poverty is stupefying.

May both climate change and urban poverty see more of our combined attention over the next few decades. They both need it. (Another bit on the intractability of urban poverty later.)

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