Indisputably, 2020 has been a traumatic year globally, with problematic significance here in the U.S.
As many observers have noted, the events of this year have generated widely-shared enlightenment about a number of long-existing, interconnected problems that a majority of Americans are no longer willing to tolerate.
• Healthcare – The U.S. is the only advanced nation without universal healthcare, as medical costs soar.
• Racial injustice – Non-white groups continue suffering unconscionable economic, health, and social deprivations.
• Income disparities – Wealth gets increasingly concentrated, while the majority suffers fading prospects.
• Law enforcement – Anxiety grows over police using excessive force and causing ruthless fatalities.
• Environmental crisis – Scientists warn of the long-neglected, dire impacts of an overheating climate.
Considering the urgency, scale, and importance of these interrelated issues, to overcome their increasingly threatening consequences, fundamental changes are required across an array of public policies. This is no time for small, isolated steps – a broad, well-coordinated, approach is vital.
Indeed, reforms must be ambitious and comprehensive, incorporating essential core principles:
• Equitability – Unbiased, even-handed allocation of, and universal access to, proposed improvements.
• Sustainability – Current activities must not threaten the quality of life for future generations.
• Systemic connectivity– Interconnections among economic activities, social justice, law enforcement, and environmental quality must be pragmatically addressed.
• Adaptive and collaborative – To avoid being stymied by ineffective policies, performance must be rigorously evaluated, revised as needed, and strengthened through resourceful alliances among diverse groups and nations.
Working together, we must surmount these challenges by developing transformative policies that consistently honor core principles.
David Kyler, Center for a Sustainable Coast