SuperGenius writer Tom Friedman has a new book published today:  “Hot, Flat and Crowded” — and it is a fantastic view into the future of the world and he explains how the USA needs to reposition its thinking and priorities in order to maintain a leadership role or risk getting left behind by rising powers like China and India. 

The world is getting hotter due to global warming and industrialized nations polluting the atmosphere, Friedman argues, and the world is getting “flatter” as the differences between countries evens out across the globe, and as more people are born into the same space, and as life expectancies expand, we are running out of global elbow room for each other.

Friedman appeared on “Meet the Press” yesterday to discuss his book, and there were several nerve-shocking arguments he made that, when pondered for only a moment, make immense sense to the common mind.

First, Friedman says the path to a better and stronger America is to get away from foreign oil and create our own wind and solar power and to rely on the oceans of natural gas to power our country.  It will take a long time to give up oil — and breaking that binding should be given the urgency of a national defense matter — so we need to start right now in making that transition and that path must be blazed and mandated by the federal government.

Friedman wishes the USA could be China for just one day — in order to force the “greening” of America.  He was amazed how quickly China was able to clear their air for the Olympics by banning cars and closing factories.  The USA needs that same sort of heavy-handed political brutality — just for a day — to jumpstart our greener economy and brighter future vision.

Tom Friedman reminded us how and why we leapt into a space race to the moon with Russia.  That national effort was good for us and propelled our technology and led to innovation and invention.  He said we need that same sort of national drive to be the greenest country in the world.  By taking the innovative lead in energy tech, we will free the rest of the world by selling them our ideas and proven technology for application in their industrialized and expanding economy.

During the recent Republican National Convention, Friedman was bothered by the chant, “Drill, Drill, Drill!” when it came to drilling for oil in the United States.  He argued drilling for oil is old technology and dangerous thinking and chanting “Drill” today is like chanting “IBM Selectric Typewriter!” during the rise of the Internet.  

We need to change our national values and memes to reflect where we want to go and not where we have been.  “We need to understand the next wave is ET and not IT,” Friedman said.  “We led the world in Internet Technology and now we must do the same for Energy Technology.”

Friedman also wonders how we can ever be safe while we, as a nation, are so wholly indebted to the Middle East for oil. Our well-being solely depends upon their kindness to us and that does not make sense from a national security perspective.  

We need a whole new way of thinking, and that must begin at home, and with the people.  We must rise up and require those who lead us to take us along the path of higher learning and prescience so that we may finally be freed from the shackles of foreign influence and international commodities we do not own or control.  

The beauty of Energy Technology is that it creates sovereignty and freedom at home while healing the earth — and using that tech edge, all nations will finally be able to sustain their own people and pay their own way just by transitioning to renewable resources like sun, wind, water and — with a little help from natural gas as the bridge into a greener future — we can all finally live free and breathe fresh air again.

15 Comments

  1. The man is brilliant and I am looking forward to either borrowing the book from the library or getting it on my Kindle, both of which would be super Green of me. 🙂
    Israel has had it right in a lot of ways for ages – they passed a law requiring solar powered water heaters to save electricity so you’d have hot water without consuming a lot of fossil fuels to do it. When did this forward thinking law pass? IN 1983!! That’s why right now, nearly all homes in Israel have the heaters. (The rest, I suppose, have exemptions due to historic preservation, most likely)

  2. India release date for this book is – 15th. Sept – I am eagerly waiting for this!!!
    Friedman is such a smooth read!
    I envy you guys those who are enjoying it now! 🙁

  3. Gordon!
    Yes, Tom Friedman is a brilliant guy and here are a couple of others articles in which he is celebrated:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/12/08/tapping-out-of-iraq/
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2006/08/28/stakes-not-performance-principles-not-practice/
    I pre-ordered his new book yesterday for my Kindle and the price was like $23! Then, when it was actually delivered it was $9.99. Whew!
    I do find it persuasive that relying on foreign oil is a national security threat to the USA — why are we so beholden to so many that innately hate us? Oil is temporary. Hate is forever. We need to stop thinking we own the world and its natural reserves and just use the simple things around us at home to make us stronger and more independent abroad.
    Bob Woodward has a new book on Bush also published today. On 60 Minutes last night he basically said Bush just wants to kill as many Iraqis as possible to “win” and go home with a victory. I don’t think that sort of attitude helps us when we are beggars for oil.
    Israel definitely has the right idea: Sustain yourself for no one else will or care when it comes down to living and dying.

  4. Katha!
    I wonder if you had a Kindle if you could buy it today? What does Amazon/India say about downloading the Kindle version? Is it available right now or would you have to wait for it until the 15th?
    Friedman begins the book with a look at where things began to go wrong… the devaluing of education under Reagan, how we’ve become only “The United States of Fighting Terrorism” under Bush while the rest of our ideals and values have wasted away and how our entire “gimme more for nothing” sub-prime mentality of buying homes and cars “with nothing down for two years” has rotted our economy from within.
    We’ve “dumbed down” our minds and expectations and how do we get out of it? We get out of it by turning away from now and working for a whole new plan for the future.

  5. To answer the Kindle in India question one need look further than the Help section, and the news is sad for now:

    At this time, we are unable to offer the Amazon Kindle and associated digital content from the Kindle Store to our international customers due to import/export laws and other restrictions. When you place your order for an Amazon Kindle, both the billing address for the payment method and the shipping address for the delivery must be recognized by our systems as valid U.S. addresses. To successfully purchase digital content from the Amazon Kindle Store, the 1-Click payment method listed on the Manage Your Kindle page must be a credit or debit card issued by a U.S. Bank with a U.S. billing address. We value our international customers and hope to make Kindle available internationally in the future.

  6. Hi David,
    looks like an interesting read!
    Countries like Denmark have already started to implement such forward looking energy policies.
    http://tinyurl.com/5wyz27
    http://postcarboncities.net/node/141
    I remember someone mentioning how all the glass and steel buildings that have mushroomed all over urban India and are a symbol of modernity etc. etc. are actually the least energy-efficient buildings especially in climates with extreme temperatures. because of the properties of glass, they cost a lot to heat in winters and a lot to cool during summertime.

  7. Dananjay!
    That’s an interesting fact about India and windows. We’re big on windows here as a greening opportunity because they let in a lot of light and that means you don’t have to buy as many lightbulbs and the sun’s rays can also heat your house. Argon gas is part of the equation as is “triple glazing.”
    http://www.windowinfo.co.uk/upvc-windows.asp
    In NYC the mayor wants to put wind machines on top of buildings — very smart! He even wants to put electric wave generators in the rivers to create a secondary power grid for NYC emergencies. He’s being mocked and laughed at by the conservative media, but he’s also the same guy that forced trans fats off all restaurant menus.

  8. David —
    Apart from double/tripe glazing, sun-block films are also used extensively that block the light and the heat. which means the lights are on throughout the day as well!
    And the mayor of NYC sounds like he’s got a few good ideas!

  9. Right, Dananjay!
    I’ve heard many of those film things we put over windows to block out heat and sunlight have tiny particles of metal in them and that makes entire buildings large Faraday Cages — and that makes it impossible to make a cellular call or receive a text page.
    Mirrored skylight tubes are also very keen — you can funnel natural light from your rooftop to other rooms in your house:
    http://www.skylightguys.com/scripts/skylight_brochure.pdf
    Yes, Mayor Bloomberg is one smart guy! He knows money and he knows how to manage people:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/index.html?Intro=intro3

  10. Katha —
    Well, that’s too bad the Kindle isn’t in India. There are other cellular networks that could be used for Whispernet. Hmmph. I hope one day a Kindle will be in your future! SMILE!
    I’m glad to learn India is in on the greening movement. That’s a wonderful thing!

  11. Hi David,
    I guess people who can think about the idea of using whispernet through other networks are a little skeptical – hi speed internet connection is terribly expensive here and the volume of business one has to generate to survive is huge.
    Moreover, people here are still mesmerized by the feel of a book…
    I hope to have a Kindle too! Someday…somewhere – definitely!