A New Economy

Joshua Stewart


Before and after images of places like Delhi India, where the skies are now blue and clean because of quarantine should teach us Utahns that the price of an unregulated swelling economy is caustic and nasty.  The governor wants to re-start our economy.  Let’s not re-start our old ruinous one.  Utahns can choose a future that avoids air polluting industries and also reduces truck and vehicle miles traveled.  We can continue to choose to drive less, save time, and retrofit our habits and communities to enable telecommuting, walking, and cycling.   After the quarantine, employers should continue to enable work from home (or library, bakery, book store, etc.)  and build fewer office buildings.  Schools, K thru higher ed should continue more online learning and we should need fewer school buildings.  You might say, wait, that will disrupt our economy and old way of life?  Was your old life really so great?  Like we’ve done with the quarantine, we need to focus on improving our neighbor’s and children’s quality of life as well as our own.  With the quarantine, more people are out walking, cycling, gardening and using sidewalks, trails, parks, and bike lanes.  There is still plenty to build, re-build and do, and community leaders should take note and work to build safer and more enjoyable active transportation routes and let children and adults interact socially in healthier more beautiful places.  UDOT should be able to reduce traffic lanes and focus more on local sidewalks, bike lanes, daylighting our forgotten streams and creeks and retrofitting towards a new blue sky economy.  Ask yourself, did I really need that cubicle and long commute to do my work?  Did my child really need to sit in that same classroom space for 6-7 hours every day? Instead of more parking lots and high rise offices, we might preserve and create more orchards, parks, streams, and gardens?  We’ll all be healthier, wealthier, and happier if we leave the old economy behind.