Recently I was reading Andrew Revkin’s “DOT EARTH BLOG” on the NYT web site dated 18 February 2013 and came across a link to a remarkable lecture by the late Dr. Richard Smalley, physicist, chemist, and winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Smalley’s talk, titled “Our Energy Challenge,” was presented by him at Columbia University in 2003, apparently having been delivered on multiple occasions around that time, as Smalley struggled with the cancer that ended his life in 2005.
His thesis was very interesting. He began by showing a slide on “Humanity’s Top Ten Problems for the next 50 years” and explained that during the Q & A at his previous Lectures, he had asked his audiences to contribute their suggestions for the list and wrote them down.
Click this link to read about the stark new ad with the above title soon to appear.
It is purported to be a “history-making crowdsourced national TV ad [they are] putting on the air across the country.”
They say it’s time to tell the truth about Exxon. The ad is coming from Oil Change International whose web site has more on Exxon here: http://priceofoil.org/
As we enter the end-of-year holiday season and approach the new year, I am very encouraged by a new positive potential for our country, perhaps the beginning of a wee bit of optimism for the world as well.
My optimism stems from the positive outcome of the recent national election, the impetus this seems to be providing on the political front to get some meaningful financial things done in Washington, and the opportunity President Obama has in his second term to make major strides, with help from a newly cooperative Congress. The President is free from the “next-election-blues,” but faces some ingrained failures to understand the direness of the environmental crisis—on the part of most politicians and nearly all major media analysts. His newfound opportunity to lead the Congress and the nation into a modest economic recovery that can assist and to some extent fuel major investments in education, infrastructure improvement, job-training, and a bold new slightly more sustainable energy policy is counter-balanced by a fear that this might be stifled or aborted by political fears of bold new steps.
There is a lot of talk—supported by a real, market-fueled, domestic energy boom—that a new economic boom can get started next year. The discovery of (and new technology for) tapping into huge new discoveries of natural gas and recoverable oil shale deposits in North America offers the tantalizing possibility that in a few years, America can free itself of dependence on foreign oil. Continue reading
“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” — Gregory Bateson, An Ecology of Mind
Spotlight on Selected Posts
- What The Future of Humanity is all About: Humanity in a Nutshell
- Significant Book on how we got here and where we might go: Countdown by Alan Weisman
- Remarkable book on Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy: The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy by Lester Brown
I wrote this essay to offer some essential information about our world and the future of our species, adding my voice to the many cries of alarm over the environmental crisis (lately reaching criticality). My purpose is to present:
– a short history of our planet and the human place on it
– how recent trends toward nearly absolute market-based policy and extreme political polarization have made it all-but-impossible for the national government to effect useful, substantive change at the needed scale
– to offer some suggestions for further study and examination.
Recent political trends make it very difficult for governments to act. Worse still, they can keep knowledgeable, capable, and honest leaders from running for office in democratic governing systems around the world.
The recent national disaster across the northeastern tier of states was predicted last year, but the report offering the prediction went essentially unheeded by the government structures set up to protect us. The threats of global warming, including this specific threat, did not come up in the recent presidential debates. It is as if Hurricane Sandy decided to force the national attention on global warming in a very dramatic way.