Preparing for Hendersonville's Future

July 23, 2011
David Weintraub
Blue Ridge Now

Earlier this month, a groundbreaking forum was held in Hendersonville that looked at the issues likely to impact our community’s future. The forum, sponsored by Transition Hendersonville and ECO, the Environmental and Conservation Organization, featured Dr. Laura Lengnick, who discussed resource depletion, Nicole Foss a world-renowned economic analyst who talked about the credit crunch and its local financial implications, and, finally, Jennie Jones Giles, a descendant of the original settlers, who focused on the self-sufficiency of the native mountain folk.

Our community, our nation and the world are approaching a crossroads. We are facing an economic bubble that’s beyond anything seen in history — one that has caused housing prices, stock prices and oil prices to reach historic highs. But the law of gravity cannot be violated and what goes up, comes crashing down and we’re getting a taste of that in the housing market, the job market and at the supermarket.

Dr. Lengnick discussed the limits of our resources, both in WNC and the nation. The East Coast is served by only two pipelines that deliver petroleum and only one delivers natural gas. Why are these causes for concern? The nation and the world are facing peak oil, natural gas, uranium, wheat, rare earth minerals, i.e., we’ve reached the point of resource scarcity for many of the things we’ve counted on to run our life. Coupled with resource scarcity is climate change. Whether one considers climate change “natural” or man-made, the fact is that our weather has gotten more volatile. Climate change’s anticipated affect on the South will likely be sea level rise, forcing more of the population in our direction, increased heat-related stress (drought and severe weather events), and poor availability of insurance. We live in an industrial culture where virtually everything we eat and use comes from across a world dependent upon the global flow of goods. The assumption that this way of life will continue is dependent upon the constant flow of cheap energy and stable weather, both of which are now in doubt.

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Photo: Transition Henderson picnic, via their website.

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