An Agenda for a New America (part 1 of a few posts)

An Agenda for a New America

The first of several posts on a proposal for an agenda for a New America

With the inauguration of Barack H. Obama as the 44th President of the United States, there is, after almost half a century, the potential for a pragmatic progressive agenda to be formulated and implemented is tantalizing. President Obama consistently said during the campaign that it was time for bold leadership and real change. This proposal for an Agenda for a new America takes a pragmatic look at how we can foster a positive transformation of our culture and our country. It is my hope that some of these thoughts will help to begin the process of government reform and change the disastrous status quo.

For the first time in a very long time there is a genuine opportunity to work together despite significant obstacles to make a difference – to galvanize the will of the people, and involve the engaged and informed public in an implementable undertaking to create new jobs in sustainable industries, energy independence, an improved quality of life, and a preserved and restored environment.

This proposal for an Agenda for a New America is built on three “pillars, (or more aptly three legs of a stool)” – durable economic prosperity, social justice, and human and ecological health – the highest possible quality of life in the best possible environment. An Agenda that will advance programs and policies, will respond effectively to the real limits of ecological systems while fostering the unprecedented opportunities of democracy in which all people are able to develop to their fullest potential. Sustainable (or durable) development, for the purposes of this proposal, is a process of continuous improvement by design of natural, built, economic and social systems. This means nurturing variety and productivity in natural systems; Increasing efficiency, using renewable resources and eliminating all waste in built systems; using social and environmental goals to create market opportunities in economic systems; helping all citizens understand whole systems and act on that knowledge in social systems.

Some of the following ideas should be implemented by government. Many will be successful only when partnerships are formed with open minded and engaged people from the entire gamut of the political spectrum; with elected officials from both sides of the aisle in congress; and with the States, municipalities, businesses, and NGO’s. Each of the “pillars” will contribute to the protection of our Country’s people, and its land, air, water, communities, and natural resources, and make us once again a beacon of democracy and hope.

The suggestions for initiatives, goals, and objectives contained in these blog posts are designed for thoughtful consideration and debate and will entail even greater communication and cooperation between the government and those that it serves. Although some of these goals and objectives deal with suggestions that may not be immediately implementable, we must start now to make sure they will be in the near future. These agenda items and suggestions can be used to foster authentic debate and to highlight both the difficulties and promises of implementation. Some of these Agenda items can be the basis of legislation, and others can be the foundation of a national dialogue about where we want to go as a country and a people.

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About fishandships

Andrew Willner has been a city planner, furniture designer, sculptor, boat builder, environmentalist, story teller, and photographer. He was Executive Director and Baykeeper at NY/NJ Baykeeper www.nynjbaykeeper.org for nineteen years and retired in April 2008. He has started a consulting firm, Andrew J. Willner, Inc., is exhibiting and published a book of his photographs, in 2008-9 was a visiting public scholar at Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute www.monmouth.edu/urban_coast_institute. He is a founding member and continues to serve on the international Waterkeeper Alliance Board of Directors www.waterkeeper.org, and has travelled nationally and internationally to speak on behalf of the Waterkeeper model of water and habitat protection. Mr. Willner is a sought after speaker on a wide variety of subjects including environmental advocacy, habitat restoration, and sustainability. He is also called on to read from fiction and non-fiction works in progress, often supported by exhibitions of his photographs
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