Doom & Gloom - What to do
by Larry Lagarde
News stories this week have been painting an increasingly more scary view of the world. Sharply higher costs for fuel and food as well as the current financial crisis have just about everyone worried. More of the world's impoverished are starving, leading to riots and greater political instability. Yet, pundits are claiming that there is little that America can do. I disagree.
America: Forget The Pundits.
The days of burning oil, coal or food for fuel are numbered. While some aspects of the world food crisis (for example) boil down to factors beyond our short term control (such as Australian wheat production being quashed by a drought), there are a variety of steps we can take to improve the situation, as a country and as individuals.
Press The Politicians
We, the citizens of the USA, must advance the pace of developing cheap energy production from non polluting sources (like solar, wind and geothermal). Contact your political representatives at the state and federal levels and demand a Manhattan Project or Moon Project type program that will provide cheap, renewable energy within 10 years. Demand recycling projects. Demand funding for alternative transportation like mass transit and bikeways. Demand that corn, rice and wheat be relegated to food consumption and that an adequate supply be set aside for emergencies.
Although less than 5% of the world's population live in the USA, we consume more of the world's resources than ANY other country. Not only does consuming at this rate send the wrong message to the world; it's not helping us individually. Truly, are we any happier because we have more stuff in mini storage units than anyone else? (Image right: Wikipedia 2007 world population map - click to enlarge)
When individuals step up to help one another everyone wins. Look at Katrina. Volunteers from across the USA came to New Orleans on their own dime to help people they didn't even know. In the process, they helped themselves because reaching out satisfies the soul. We need to stop focusing so much on ourselves and reach out more. (Image right: 2006 earthtrends.wri.org world poverty map - click to enlarge)
History is riddled with mistakes that were repeated. By improving education, we can learn from the past and better prepare for the future.
Lead By Example
If we, the people of the United States, embrace the above suggestions, the world will notice and the planet will be better for everyone.