What does the future hold in store for us if we continue on the way we have in the past? What if we ignore the warning signs of global warming? What will happen as we continue to add billions of people to our current lifestyle trends?
That’s the premise behind Thomas L Friedman’s Hot, Flat and Crowded. I’ve been looking forward to reading his latest release for quite awhile. I read The World Is Flat a couple of times in the past, and enjoy his writing style.
In Hot, Flat and Crowded, Friedman opened my eyes up to why our current path needs to change – and also opened up my eyes to ways we could do it.
The current reports all say we have a problem, and if we don’t fix it, we’re on a course for destruction. Friedman lays out how we got this way, and what will happen if we don’t make changes. He makes a number of great points that left me pondering for hours.
In his chapter “If It Isn’t Boring, It Isn’t Green”, Friedman talks about the impact we’re facing today with the automobile industry:
President George W Bush and his administration claimed that they were protecting American companies by not imposing tougher efficiency standards, such as those proposed for more efficient cooling by air conditioners or better mileage performance by American cars. It was an understandable reflex from an administration that considers itself business friendly. It was also dumb. When you are the most innovative country, with the best research universities, the best national laboratories, and the highest technological base, you should want higher standards – because your companies can meet them while weaker ones cannot.
People around the world have always looked up to Americans because we have the power and the ability to do anything. People like Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America to fulfill the dream of being able to do anything. But if we lower our standards, and make things easier, we allow others to catch up.
An interesting way of thinking.
It’s not about putting America on top – it’s about Americans sharing their knowledge and abilities to help achieve prosperity around the globe. As we wake up to the knowledge of what being green truly means, hopefully it will also put us on course to develop a new way of lifestyle that can easily be implemented throughout the world. The only true way of not failing is to take action.
A great read and one that should be required reading for all of today’s students, this will be on my daughter’s bedside table – as soon as I reread it myself.