“The Civil War was the first time the 1% coerced the 99% into doing something stupid, based on the fear that they would be worse off if things changed. At least the 99% of poor whites were above the slaves.”
The economic, social, and political divide between our nation’s urban and rural areas is arguably greater than the north/south or east/west, or coastal/heartland divisions. That is certainly true in Georgia, where rural areas and metropolitan Atlanta manifest very different sensibilities. Hard to imagine anyone in the rural South echoing Michael’s perspective on the Civil War.
Laura Cadenhead and Michael Sheehan are urban Southerners. Laura’s lived in Atlanta her entire life; Mike grew up in Houston and lived other places before settling here. Mike’s an architect who left the boom and bust profession in the 2008 recession and is now a property claims adjuster. Laura was a special ed teacher. For the past four years, she’s ‘taught’ from home in Georgia’s burgeoning online public school system. Yet Mike’s passion is promoting biochar, an agricultural catalyst that reinvigorates soil chemistry and improves agricultural yields; a carbon negative material that actually absorbs CO2; while Laura dreams of creating a cooperative housing and workshop space on Atlanta’s Belt Line, a pedestrian / bike route that is linking inner city areas that were long divided by rail lines.
Laura taught me a new word: narcotizing;’ a term she uses to describe the mind-numbing effect of our screen-based lives, especially over exposure to television. Television provides escape while simultaneously reinforcing the sense that we have no control over our lives and conflating opinion with truth. “Humans have great capacity to find truth in what we believe.”
How will we live tomorrow?
“That seems so straightforward to me. I have many thoughts about it, and I assume many people are thinking about it. To me, it’s an ongoing conversation about how aging and living will be with my friends. There’s some creative ideas, some settling for less, some adjustments. I see people living together, more communally.” – Laura
“A developer I work with wants to build eight duplex units for cohousing near the Belt Line. The Millenials will have less opportunity than we had. They will live by a different model. But he cannot get any financing.” – Mike
“I envision is what I call Cash-in (a hybrid of our last names). Cash-in is a place on the Belt Line for bicycle tourism near the West End, where there will be a direct connection to the airport. I see upstairs as a communal living space and downstairs as a workshop with gardens beyond. I have an image of a house shaped like a horseshoe.” – Laura
“If we are going to live into many tomorrows, we are going to have to live differently. Live in smaller spaces, get over the petroleum trip, and focus out seven generations.” – Mike
“We will live more innovatively, more creatively. We are narcotizing ourselves with the TV, the iPad the cell phone, anything that takes over our attention. We have lost our way like the bees who collapse the hive. We’ve lost our navigational skills.” – Laura