If you follow this blog long enough (please, please, please) you will realize we are big fans of Thomas Friedman. The guy just gets it, and not only that, he is listened to by important people. While he hasn't won a Nobel prize, he may be more deserving than Al Gore because he actual presents REAL solutions.
His latest article from the NY Times highlights how this economic downturn may be more than just a failure of the mortgage industry and wall street. It may be a sign that we've been too greedy at the expense of sustainable practices. The quote below sums it up nicely:
“Just as a few lonely economists warned us we were living beyond our financial means and overdrawing our financial assets, scientists are warning us that we’re living beyond our ecological means and overdrawing our natural assets,” argues Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. But, he cautioned, as environmentalists have pointed out: “Mother Nature doesn’t do bailouts.”
I love what Mr. Prickett says so much I will repeat it with more excitement: Mother Nature doesn't do bailouts! We can't continue to take, take, take and give nothing back.
In the article, he quotes Joe Romm, founder of the blog climateprogress.org (which I like because he has a public policy AND scientific background) as saying:
“You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate ...’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”
Apparently, Americans are currently unable to tell the difference between real, sustainable wealth, and the kind of wealth you get by trading bad mortgages, racking up too much credit card debt, and doing what is cheap and easy at the expense of the environment.
He quotes Paul Gilding as calling this moment "the great disruption". When Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once. Friedman quote Gilding further:
“We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.”
This is what this blog is all about, staying within the laws of physics and biology to produce a SUSTAINABLE system; whether that system is your school, your home, or you business. Look at habits you currently have that will make it harder for your children to live happily (debt, pollution, lack of clean water), and stop doing them! I don't know how much clearer these three quotes from the Friedman article can make it.