Weekly Writers Round-Up: Lessons from Wildfires, Fixing the Fashion Industry, and COVID-19 in Cities - America's Future Foundation

September 23, 2020

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Weekly Writers Round-Up: Lessons from Wildfires, Fixing the Fashion Industry, and COVID-19 in Cities

By: AFF Editors

Each week, we’ll be featuring opinion pieces from the alumni and current participants of AFF’s Writing Fellows Program. A few highlights from the past week are below. Do you dream of having bylines like these? Learn more about how the Writing Fellows Program can help boost your writing career!

The Wildfires Show How the Forever Wars Harm Americans at Home by John Dale Grover (Spring 2019) in Newsweek
Although America’s never-ending wars in the Middle East seem far away, they directly impact our ability to deal with domestic crises, from the coronavirus pandemic to wildfires. When disaster strikes, authorities often need the very resources policymakers in Washington are squandering on foreign wars. Take, for example, the National Guard’s large CH-47 Chinook helicopters, which can airlift stranded and wounded Americans to safety or drop water on fires. Although the West Coast is ablaze, six of the Oregon National Guard’s Chinooks are unavailable because they “had been sent to Afghanistan to support military operations,” the local Mail Tribune newspaper reported…

How to Save – and Improve – the Textile Industry by Jen Sidorova (Spring 2019) in RealClearPolicy
With an estimated $2.5 trillion in losses and looming uncertainty, the textile industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. But even before COVID-19 swept the nation, clothing manufacturing was in a tough spot. From the 92 million tons of waste it created per year to the violations of human rights it’s committed, the industry was overdue for a change long before the coronavirus outbreak affected its financials. Economic upheaval from the pandemic is a challenge to be sure, but it also presents a unique opportunity to change an industry in desperate need of reform, providing better products for consumers while improving environmental and social outcomes…

Problem: Overcrowding. Solution: more housing by Nolan Gray (Fall 2015) in City Journal
On March 1, New York State officials confirmed the first case of the coronavirus within their borders. According to the Wall Street Journal, Covid-19’s Empire State debut arrived with a woman from Manhattan, who had previously traveled in Central Asia. Officials swiftly cautioned against panic. Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed the risks, suggesting that “the seasonal flu was a graver worry,” even criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s move to shutter New York City’s public schools. Fast forward to July 1, and an estimated 31,791 state residents have died from the coronavirus, including 22,574 city residents.

A prosaic summary of the pandemic in New York might focus on government mismanagement—including the bizarre state decision to continue sending sick patients to nursing homes⁠—or New York City’s global orientation. But the blame quickly fell on the least subtle fact about the city: its density. Across the country, opinion columns chastised New York for its original sin, followed by an equally forceful opinion-column pro-density counteroffensive. Cuomo waded into the spat, declaring that New York City “must develop an immediate plan to reduce density”…