As it turns out, I was correct with a solution-packed book I wrote more than a decade ago. Killing the Natives: Has the American Dream Become a Nightmare? was replete with dire descriptions of the myriad challenges facing our species, and equally replete with solutions. The book is heavy on hope and techno-optimism.
My 2005 book is wuite dreadful, though. It’s not well-written and it calls upon the populace to change behavior. Fortunately, thanks to the latest episode of Nature Bats Last on the radio, all our problems are solved. We need only read Dr. Helen Caldicott’s books and follow her sage advice. Whew, was that ever a close call.
I’m not surprised somebody from the only country with a per-capita higher consumption of oil than the U.S. is looking to America for leadership. And Australia’s Prime Minister has a great plan to smash the Great Barrier Reef to efficiently export coal. What could possibly go wrong?
Dr. Caldicott echoes many progressive voices in pointing out that we need only (1) elect Bernie Sanders president of the United States, (2) decommission nuclear power plants, and (3) switch to an all-renewable energy system at the global level. I’ll briefly address each of these items below.
Electing Bernie Sanders looks easy to me. He’s articulate, angry, and he claims to be working on behalf the citizenry. And he’s a socialist! What’s not to love? I foresee complete implosion of Ms. Clinton’s campaign as Democratic voters realize she’s a wealthy war-monger. And Bernie vs. Trump in the general election is clearly rigged for the older, wiser, paler man.
As Dr. Caldicott pointed out during the interview, only 50 years are required to decommission a nuclear power plant. There are only about 450 of them around the world, and we have plenty of time. And, apparently Fukushima doesn’t even pose an extinction-level threat to humans. There’s currently no financial incentive to decommission nuclear power facilities, but we know money is a minor issue in the industrialized world. I’m convinced the people will rise up this week, or next week at the latest, and demand we replace money with reason on the nuclear problem. Once America shows the way on this issue, those silly nuclear plants will be decommissioned as smoothly as unicorns take flight.
Finally, there’s the renewable alternative. Here again, we have technology and we will employ it to maximum effect. Soon, we’ll be using solar-powered factories to create wind turbines and solar panels. All our energy will be as clean as Hillary Clinton’s email account. We’ll address the issue of global dimming by selective infusion of aerosols into the atmosphere. And we’ll simply agree to stop destroying habitat for non-human species, in part with a global agreement to cease human-population growth.
There are other problems I’ve not mentioned here. But our collective will is sufficient to overcome any niggling difficulties we may face along our path to a bright, sustainable future. We need only imagine our common, dream-like future and then use a little old-fashioned elbow grease to create it. After all, if the people lead, the leaders will follow.