A Ukrainian caught a goldfish and was promised to get anything he wanted – but with the condition that his neighbor gets twice as much.
“So if I’ll get a house, my neighbor gets two?” he asks.
“And if I ask for a cow, my neighbor gets two cows then?”
“You are right.”
“Then I want to lose one eye,” he finally wished.
- Buy and live local and encourage others to do the same – for example, one New Orleans neighborhood away from the French Quarter is cool because it includes Magazine Street, a shopping district that goes on for several miles and has some very nice, locally owned shops. After Katrina, a Whole Foods relocated to that area. It relocated because of Magazine Street, not the other way around. If everyone picked out 3 LOCAL businesses and spent $50 a month there, we could create destinations for bike rides and walking.
- Put some there, there – New Orleans is a unique, European-style city that happens to be in Louisiana. Every community needs to strive to create a sense of place. Mobile has some very unique features (Mobile Bay, many historic districts, the third largest river delta) that we have not made an effort to make user friendly. Rather than hide our assets from visitors as well as our own citizens, we need to put money into infrastructure development.
- Embrace diversity – What New Orleans has is that it is an international city, not really a part of Louisiana. The world is a big place and European-Americans are becoming more and more of a minority. Europeans all live near and visit other countries with regularity. Even if we do not do so, we can’t afford to be seen as intolerant and parochial in our understanding of the world. Support public education in the broadest sense, not just to teach the 3 R’s but to force us all to look at the world through other peoples’ eyes.
- Embrace environmentally friendly living – New Orleans is fortunate (not done intentionally) that the French Quarter (really dating back from Spanish times) was spared urban renewal. This is a unique built environment that was designed pre-car and people actually live there (I did when in medical school). Americans tend to be car focused. In a recent article, long commutes were linked to poor physical and mental health. Being able to walk or bike to work allows exercise to occur without special effort or gym memberships and provides for additional time for additional physical activity. Seek out opportunities to reduce your energy footprint and better health will follow, not only for you but for your family and neighbors as well.