Thursday, December 10, 2009

A World in Transition

An excerpt from the novel, Pipeline, by Peter Schechter:

“. . .. The Americans are shortsighted; they won’t see that a long-term dependency on Russia is a strategic trap. They can’t get beyond their big cars. Their crazy use of water. Of electricity. Spend, spend. Consume, consume. The United States is incapable of change. It survives on a mountain of overconsumption and debt. They can’t change their culture, so they will jump at any chance to keep things the way they are.”

[Note: Italics are mine]

We Americans are an arrogant lot for the most part. Enamored of our ingenuity and cleverness, our privilege, we blindly stumble toward the future without regard for the consequences of our actions or critical analysis of probable outcomes resulting from the choices we make. Short-term profits override the need for long-term survivability, and critical topics like sustainability, economic stability, species extinction, environmental degradation, climate change, infrastructure repair and replacement, resource depletion, food and water security, energy independence, healthcare reform, fair elections, and myriad others are backburnered because vested interests wish to maintain the status quo.

This short-sighted approach to the future by business and political leaders—they’re virtually one and the same—all but guarantees that the U.S. will continue down the road to third-world status. But that’s probably a good thing. We Americans have been resource hogs and energy spendthrifts for far too long. Getting knocked back a peg or two will do us all some good, and give each of us pause to consider where we, as a nation, are heading, and how we plan to get there.

“In the future, our children’s understanding of what we broadly call “energy” will differ greatly from our own. How we, as citizens, relate to what we use to drive our cars, fuel our factories, heat our homes, and brighten our computer screens will change radically over the next twenty-five years. America’s leaders face choices today that will decide whether tomorrow this transition will be traumatic and impoverishing or deliberate and enriching.” —Peter Schechter

Q >>>