Tag Archives: Wal-Mart becomes Library

The People Make Lemonade

A story like this one puts into practice everything that’s great about the Commons. If you’ve driven around America – especially middle America – you’ve likely seen an empty Wal-Mart building. It’s the follow through that is missing in capitalism. In capitalism today, you are rewarded if you use something up and leave as an eyesore on the landscape. If the citizens are lucky, the eyesore isn’t leaching toxicity into their land and water.

This quote from McAllen, Texas native (from LATimes article):

“In a city like McAllen, with cartel violence across the river (less than 10 miles away from the library), I think it’s amazing that the city is devoting resources to a) not only saving a large and conspicuous piece of property from decline and vandalism, but b) diverting those resources into youth and the public trust,” Ramirez writes. “It’s easy to fall into drugs, drinking, and violence when you live on the border. It’s not really easy to find a place to hang out when you’re 14 that’s not the mall, the movies, or Mexico. And a giant library — a cool-looking open space devoted to entertaining the imagination? Well, I think that’s the best counter-move against violence imaginable. And you don’t even have to wait for a computer now.”

The new McAllen Public Library opened in December 2011; after it had been open for just a month, new user registration increased by 23%.
Part of the loop of sustainability and stewardship needs to be a plan – that must be part of the business model – that considers the waste stream a product generates, no matter whose hands it ends up in, regardless if it is a syrofoam noodle or an empty Wal-Mart shell. We know Wal-Mart leaves these monstrosities in the path to small town consumer domination, why can’t they be assessed the bill for putting the land back to its original natural state, or helping out with a few more libraries. If Wal-Mart is the culture of choice as a people, then we need to keep the pressure on Wal-Mart.
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