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