Shepstone Management Company, Inc.
Blue collar workers are getting it done during our health crisis, supplying critical goods and services that demonstrate what is true sustainability.
Sustainability is one of the misused words in our current lexicon. It has been employed by planners like myself over the years in the most negative way possible as an excuse to limit, rather than a foundation for doing. It has pushed people together on the theory this is what we must do to preserve open space. It has favored types of development that are unnatural to preserve the natural. It has rewarded green schemes and punished blue collar industries such as oil and gas. It has made saints out of “keepers” and sinners out of “doers,” but now we are seeing the truth. It is blue collar workers who are sustaining every part of our life that is essential.
The photo above is from the website of my friends at Pipeliners Local 798. I spoke to them last year about this time in Tulsa, Oklahoma and came away with a profound sense of debt to the people who deliver our gas by building pipelines. But, it’s not just them. It’s the people working the rigs, the truckers who provide the water and the supplies and the folks who maintain the whole system.
Today, in the midst of a health crisis, we see the full extent of the blue collar contributions to our way of life. Where would be without our truckers? Our janitors? Our store clerks? Our food manufacturing employees? Our farmers? And, the list goes on and on and on to encompass the heart of America. They’re all professionals as it turns out; essential people delivering true sustainability. Blue collar is blue ribbon. We could not survive without these workers and and the industries they represent.
We could survive quite easily, though, without the largely negative contributions of those who constantly degrade these blue collar industries as part of this or that campaign for green nirvana. Nearly all of us are green today today to one degree or another, but some are so consumed with it as to have missed the point; sustainability id about the welfare of human beings who need things. They paint themselves with green virtue because they don’t need as many things. They typically come from wealth and can afford to donate money to trendy green causes, invest in green businesses that depend upon government rent and spend their mostly free time protesting those who do real stuff.
But, now we know, don’t we? We don’t get food or heat from a “keeper,” a trust-funder, a commentator, a planner like me, a politician or an activist lawyer. We get it from farmers, truckers, oil and gas workers, welders and other blue collar workers. God Bless every one of them!