Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our Common Future

by Kurt Seitz
February 18, 2009

As General Motors and other automotive companies seek many billions of federal dollars to stave off bankruptcy, it is way past time to envision a different future, one without unlimited supplies of petroleum, one without corporate welfare, one without classes, and one based on sustainable practices --- environmentally, economically, and societally.

We have likely reached the peak output level of the world's oil supplies --- there can be no more expansion of the petroleum industry as the world grows. Meanwhile, environmental calamity is knocking on our door, largely due to our hunger for fossil fuels --- coal and natural gas can not replace oil without catastrophic consequences.

Denis Hayes, who has decades of environmental research and wisdom on his side, says that the United States must immediately move to a non-fossil source of energy in a very big way --- or else. There are many "doomsday" scenarios being developed and not enough solutions. Hayes outlines one possible solution, but our nation seems unwilling to heed the call. I'm reminded of biblical disasters following times of popular disdain for a higher authority --- and Mother Earth is far more powerful than us measly humans.

Ironically, the opportunity for progressive change to solve our crises has arrived in the form of new democratic leadership and the need for massive public expenditures, but Nero metaphorically fiddled as Rome burned. While it is true that the Obama administration is far better than any other in recent memory, American politicians do not seem to be up to the task of doing more than is necessary to get the majority of votes during the next election.

So it comes down to the American people to rise up and save American society from itself. It will require new ways of thinking and acting. It will require old ways of living in harmony with nature instead of apart. It will require local economies, an end to warfare, an end to corporate citizenship, an end to racism, sexism, and many other -isms that seek to divide us instead of bring us together. Most of all, it will require the will to change --- without change, we will not survive as a society.

I think we're on our way, but will we collectively be up to the task before it's too late? Our common future is approaching... ready?

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