The population of the United States is projected to grow by almost 120 million people in the next 45 years. This growth, and change in population composition, will present local governments across the nation with unprecedented challenges. As cities and towns work to provide more services to their residents with fewer and fewer resources, managers and elected officials will be forced to face national issues such as transportation, food and fresh water supply, healthcare provision, and even global warming. Local governments will have to learn to rely less on their state and federal counterparts, and more on local resources. Services provided by local governments, more so than at any other level, are “people-driven,” and the public will look to those officials closest to them for answers.
In Earth is a Nice Little Planet: Who Will Save It? Christina Park and Orville Powell set out to look at some of the consequences of predicted population growth and identify connections to other large scale issues. What they discovered in researching these topics is that it is not really about the answers, but about the questions. The questions that every city and town in America should be asking themselves. How will we accommodate an increasing population? How will we provide for the financial and healthcare needs of the elderly and children? What can we do help combat climate change? The clock is ticking and we can not wait any longer to begin addressing these issues. It is time for local leaders to face these problems and begin the necessary discussions to look for ways to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. Will you help save the planet?