Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Year That Was


Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

(Ancient Indian Proverb)

Wow and gosh almighty! 2008 was quite a year! Talk about doing it up in the national election! John McCain selected himself a wing-woman to guard his back on the treacherous trip to the gates of hell to get Bin Ladin, which gave us a national debate on the subject of experience and qualification required by a person who is a backup in the event the President is unable to act.

Heated were the discussions on television, coffee shops and breakfast tables across the land on a subject that really is pretty unimportant in most presidential elections. It was important this year due to McCain's age (72) and his status as a four time cancer survivor.

The Salt Lake City Tribune summed it up best with the following:

Out of nowhere, and without proper vetting, the impetuous McCain picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. She quickly proved grievously underequipped to step into the presidency should McCain, at 72 and with a history of health problems, die in office. More than any single factor, McCain's bad judgment in choosing the inarticulate, insular and ethically challenged Palin disqualifies him for the presidency. ...

The country desperately needs a new and well-defined road map for the 21st century and leadership that can unite the country behind it.

We believe that Barack Obama can give us both.

Apparently the public saw it the same way. As we all know, Obama won the election, big time.

In the meantime throughout the world, the global economy continued to tank. Not a surprise to anyone who is alive and reading anything in the recent past. A close friend, however, who is a regular reader of this blog, wrote and expressed his concern that we may be losing our central theme of hope for the future. Quite the contrary is the fact. There is a greater necessity for hope today than ever before.

On a personal level, the year 2008 and events in that year lent even more emphasis to hope for the future as we celebrated the arrival of our first grandchild. While the future is dark, hope will prevail as we all pull together in common cause to find a solution to the world's problems. It must be so because a little girl named Madison, who is barely two plus months old, demands it.

The future does require that we be realistic. It is in that sense of realism that we seek to convey a glimpse of the huge problems coming to the fore. The people of the earth are the cause of most of those problems. There you have it. A priori, the cause offers the solution: In this case, the acceptance by our world population of the constraints of the finite nature of the world and its resources. Will that occur?

An answer to this question is close at hand. We and little children around our world see the road of hope as the only avenue. Join us in 2009 as we travel that road. The journey's destination also bears the same name as the road. .



Friday, December 5, 2008


What comes next? This is a question that many are asking today. Energy prices are falling. Isn't this a good thing? Well, it could be a good thing, but it is likely simply another directional signal to the future coming our way or better stated, the way of our descendants. After all consideration is given to the subject, it is indeed all about energy. Consider the following:

Energy has always been the basis of cultural complexity and it always will be. … the past clarifies potential paths to the future. One often-discussed path is cultural and economic simplicity and lower energy costs. This could come about through the "crash" that many fear -- a genuine collapse over a period of one or two generations, with much violence, starvation, and loss of population. The alternative is the "soft landing" that many people hope for - a voluntary change to solar energy and green fuels, energy-conserving technologies, and less overall consumption. This is a utopian alternative that, as suggested above, will come about only if severe, prolonged hardship in industrial nations makes it attractive, and if economic growth and consumerism can be removed from the realm of ideology.
Joseph A. Tainter

For the reader who is enticed by the foregoing quotation, your attention is directed to http://dieoff.org/page134.htm for a very edifying read. If the idea of reading through dry scholarly writings does not have appeal, the simple, but effective, way of broadening your horizons on this subject exists at http://www.dieoff.org/ for your viewing pleasure. Just click at the top of the page on the cartoon media that deals with the subject of your interest.

Now the intricate and immediate details of our present situation revolve around whether employment will continued to fall, will we have a predictable future that meets our needs and the needs of our loved ones, correct? No matter how much we may want to rely on intuition or daily routine, it behooves all of us to broaden our knowledge base on the subject of energy. What is its effect on our lives? What determines its availability? How should our leadership respond to the global crisis before us? It is submitted that a knowledgeable basis of opinion as we seek these answers is beneficial.

In the interim, a path of sustainable and frugal life style appears advisable absent the discovery of the "magic bullet".


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deflate or Inflate?

Recent economic events have the world and its people in turmoil. Credit markets have frozen. Factories have closed. Unemployment has risen. The new government to be installed in January of 2009 is considering solutions to these difficulties.

Basically, the purpose of this blog has been to ignite discussion and provoke thought by readers as to the cause of this world-wide problem and consider what we as individuals can do at this time. Generally, the theme of the blog thus far has been consideration of whether there is a common denominator to all these problems. The tentative conclusion presented is that, yes, there is a common thread. Nothing is static. Change is constant and knowledge always unfolding. We live in a finite world with ever-increasing demands on finite resources in that world.

Presently we deal with the problems generated by growth's demands for energy. Those energy demands have centered mainly on fossil fuels. Other sources of energy exist and will be tapped by the growing demand. How will that happen?

The Institute for 21st Century Energy is an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A panel of the Institute, headed by none other than General James Jones has just issued its Transition Plan for Securing America's Energy Future. Notably, the preamble to that plan states:

Global demand (for energy) will increase by more than 50% between now and 2030 – and perhaps by as much as 30% here in the United States. We must develop new, affordable, diverse, and clean sources of energy that will underpin our nation's economy and keep us strong both at home and abroad. Our energy future must address growing shortfalls in infrastructure capacity and emerging environmental issues. . . . .And looking ahead, even the most optimistic among us must conclude that we are not well positioned to anticipate nor prepared to meet tomorrow's energy needs.


Everyone should click on the foregoing link of the Institute and go to the Plan. We are indeed at a defining moment in our existence. If our government and leadership simply continue the status quo, life on this planet will become most unenviable in the days to come. The punch line is a lack of preparation for that tomorrow. Chants of "drill baby drill" will not cure the problem. Conversion of food stuffs to fuel for machines will not cure the problem. Providing public funds to financial institutions to permit continued lending (hopefully to qualified borrowers) will work only for awhile. Providing public funding to the automobile industry will put off today's misery of joblessness for awhile.

Eventually, this additional printing of government paper results in that hidden tax on all of us that we know as "inflation". Only when we realize that the issue is finite resources, and the axiomatic changes this realization dictates, will the problem become susceptible of resolution. There are but two alternatives for mankind: Sustainable living (getting by with less and living more cooperatively in a sense of community and mutual self respect); or discovery of a "magic bullet".

Sadly, the basic nature of mankind will prevent realization of the first alternative, sustainable living. As to the discovery of magic bullets that rewrite the laws of physics as we know them, such an event is unlikely. Our basic nature, however, is not limited just to greed and avarice. Many of us also hold deep within ourselves the hope for the discovery of new knowledge that will provide new avenues to economic growth and eventually to the stars.