Change, Peak Oil
And Nuclear War
By Bill Henderson
24 February, 2007
had one life threatening sword hanging by a thread over his head. We
The awakening public now
know that climate change is real and human caused but still grossly
underestimate the seriousness of the danger, the increasing probability
of extinction, and how close and insidious this danger is - runaway
climate change, the threshold of which, with carbon cycle time lags,
we are close to if not upon.
A steep spike in the price
of oil, precipitated perhaps by an attack on Iran or Middle East instability
spreading the insurgency to Saudi Arabia, could lead to an economic
dislocation paralyzing the global economy. Such a shock coming at the
end of cheap oil but before major development of alternative energy
economies could mean the end of civilization as we know it.
And there is a building new
cold war with still potent nuclear power Russia and China reacting to
a belligerent, unilateralist America on record that it will use military
power to secure vital resources and to not allow any other country to
threaten it's world dominance. The world is closer to a final, nuclear,
world war than at any time since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 with
a beginning arms race and tactical confrontation over weapons in space
and even serious talk of pre-emptive nuclear attack.
These three immediate threats
to humanity, to each of us now but also to future generations, are inter-related,
interact upon each other, and complicate any possible approach to individual
solution. The fossil fuel energy path has taken us to a way of life
that is killing us and may lead to extinction for humanity and much
of what we now recognize as nature.
There is one possible way
this Gordian Knot can be cut open so that we can unblock and begin solving
each of these life threatening problems hanging over our collective
heads - massive change in the United States of America. It is possible
to conceive of an America renouncing unilateralism and militarism and
above all renouncing imperial consumption; an America leading in turning
the military industrial complex into a new Manhattan project style creation
of a new, clean, green, local and much smaller footprint economy; an
America rich enough to develop a sustainable 21st century way of living
and enlightened enough to share a common future on this small blue planet.
What would it take to cut
Impeachment and criminal
proceedings against those in the Bush Administration who cynically attacked
Iraq to create a client state as part of a neocon dream to rebuild a
business friendly Middle East.
A commitment to radically
reduce military spending and America's military footprint and leadership
in developing a new round of disarmament and proliferation treaties
and a commitment to strengthening multilateral institutions and the
international rule of law so that co-operation and diplomacy and not
warfare will settle future resource or other dispute.
New governance innovation
so that the best and brightest are electable and not just the rich,
psychopathic, or the corporation owned and branded. America has the
wisest, smartest, most skilled, expert innovators in almost every field
- Wilson, Costanza, Lubchenko, Holling, Pimental, Dailey and many others
for just the biological sciences example. We need this level of competence
and complex problem solving ability in a government empowered and unfettered
for change and dedicated to the possibility of continuing opportunity
in the future.
In less than a decade America
must morph from a fat, info-tainment addled, spoiled brat in combat
fatigues to healthy, productive, responsible, ethical citizens again.
From Syriana style monsters in mindless sprawl wastelands to exemplars
of quality lifestyles, free of the draining virus of affluenza and reinvigorated
by the promise of new frontiers of human endeavor and maturity. From
purpose bred consumers that create 20 tons of CO2 annually as part of
their highest in the world average 25 acre footprints to much more aware
and alive people getting close to the sustainable global average of
around 2 tons of carbon emissions annually in a 4 acre footprint.
Only a change of this massive
scale in America will allow for solution to these building life and
death global-scale problems. If America doesn't lead and make their
example work we're toast. But few in America can afford even to think
about this possible hopeful future. Cannot afford to think about their
place in an alternative economy, in alternative lifestyles, in a much
different America. Americans today are hopeless addicts.
Massive change for a new
America is never debated in the major media No legislator or business
or social leader can afford to initiate such a debate. But without American
leadership, now, in acknowledging that massive change is needed, without
American leadership, now, in finding a path to make this needed change,
one if not all of those swords are going to fall.
The Bush Admin appears to
want to play double or nothing with war in Iran to try again at enforcing
their neocon vision for the Middle East. Valuable time is wasting as
we drift along down to energy shortage and, at the same time, increasing
greenhouse gas emissions.
Is there someone who recognizes
the danger and can cut the knot?