President Obama

In a speech today on energy policy at the University of Miami, President Barack Obama went off his prepared remarks to note that young peo¬ple — including his daughters — seem to care more than his generation does about the fate of the planet:
Any¬body who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn’t know what they’re talking about or just isn’t telling you the truth. Young people especially understand this, because, you know, it’s interesting. When I talk to Malia and Sasha — you guys are so much more aware of conserving our resources and thinking about the planet.

The president’s speech forcefully rejected the Republican idea that the solution to all of the world’s ills — in¬cluding rising gas prices — is to drill, baby, drill. However, not once did Obama directly recognize the reality of climate change. The past burn¬ing of hundreds of billions of tons of fossil fuels is already degrading the safety of our planet for human civilization. To keep Obama’s own promise of limiting total warming to no more than 2°C, about 80 percent of proved fossil-fuel reserves will have to remain in the ground.

Power Politics

I am in favor of Obama as our leader, but I am sure that he does not understand the problem we are facing. I have known this for 50 years — this problem — and my knowledge is based on the most basic processes that permit our life to be alive. In proof of my statement that I knew, I offer the fact that I pulled my retirement money out before the market went absolutely crazy — but that is also not relevant.

The point is that the earth productivity can not grow anymore, and the market is based on growth. That’s all I can say about it. That’s why I wrote my book for people who don’t see how the biology of the ecosystem directly impacts the market. If it can’t grow it — can’t grow. Human technology or politics can not change how the ecosystem functions.

But I never delved into all the reductionist details of explaining this in terms of the economy or the social implications or the political — every problem in our lives right now, every problem of significance, is tied in with this fact, and it is a fact, that the economy has begun to shrink because the earth can no longer expand its productivity.

So I just found an article that explains in beautiful detail exactly why. I think you might just slip this into the covers of my energy handbook and consider seriously how this relates to Obama and all the other candidates. I would send this to Chet also, but I see I don’t have an email and he probably wouldn’t get it anyway. Maybe I’ll slip it into another book and carry it over to his office.

I believe it is the duty of every politician to understand the problem. The information is available and the Post Carbon Institute is by far our best source of real information for actually responding to the facts on the ground..

This insane fighting over something we can not change is the biggest waste of time I have ever seen anyone do. The only result of all this bickering will be to make the big crash bigger because we didn’t do anything to deal with the actual problem. The problem of our survival with any kind of comfort and human rights on this earth is not political; it is biological.

Power in Community

This is a quote from The Caucus, John Harwood.

“Stuart E. Eizenstat, a lawyer who is a veteran of the administrations of Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, praised Mr. Obama for bringing to the task three critical elements of presidential leadership. The first two, he said, are high intelligence and the ability to connect disparate issues in a larger framework.”

I’m interested in the ability to connect disparate issues into a larger framework. Whether or not we are pro-Obama, we are living in a time where it seems like every other person has an axe to grind, and may not have clearly thought through the cause of the problem or the result if we fix it the way we want to. But we all know there are a lot of problems.

We are so accustomed to linear thinking in our culture, that we sometimes get the idea if everyone does one good thing at the same time, all the good things add up to a good result. Clearly not. If our economists had thought about the implications of their actions outside of their own circle of expertise we probably would not be reaping the results of their mistakes.

We also know there is more power in a group of people working for the same cause than in a bunch of separate people working for different causes. So, if we were to all do the most important good things together — that might bring a very much more satisfactory result.

But it is indeed difficult to think of them all together, so we are lucky to have a President who reportedly can do just that. Not that we should all follow lock step behind Pres. Obama. I have a few complaints myself. But it’s good to have someone up there who can connect the dots between our own enterprise and those of other people.

Check out Dot Earth

It’s good to know there are so many meetings on the subjects of climate change, energy, global warming and population. I’ve commented on climate change meetings in Copenhagen that are warming up to the international meeting to be held there in the fall. I’ve also commented on the recent report of Britain’s Sustainable Development Commission and the meeting last week, of the Optimum Population Trust.

It’s good to know because there is an urgency about these issues, and it looks like the United States of America is now ready to join the conversation with the rest of the world in efforts to resolve them in our behalf.

At the same time we address the long term issues, it is important to remember that we need to nourish and support and protect what we have today. We don’t want to lose tomorrow from focusing on today; we also don’t want to lose tomorrow from not focusing on today, because ecosystems and the individual species of which they are made are unique and precious creations that can not replace themselves, not as they were. Once gone, they are gone. And perhaps more importantly it is the broad diversity that these ecosystems have evolved over the millenia that stabilizes them. That’s why people fuss over diversity; it stabilizes the ecosystem.

So today I want to refer you to my favorite blog, Dot Earth, where a short-term emergency need is described.

And right below that piece Dot Earth reports a long-term success. It seems that our government is informing itself about our biological challenges. At least I hope that subject comes up in the meetings, and if so we can at last join the conversation for real.

It’s not clear whether or not we expect to resolve these problems that were caused by growth — by creating more growth. But if there is a real discussion, then that point can be raised. Right?

Power of the Misdirect

” Mr. Cheney criticized Mr. Obama’s decision to close down the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Cheney told CNN that Bush administration counterterrorism policies were “absolutely essential” to prevent a repeat of the Sept. 11 attacks.”  (Helene Cooper on The Caucus)

Now there is a clever attempt to convert the power of reality into personal power!!  🙂

Of course the terrorists will attack again.  They have never stopped attacking.  That’s what crooks do – everywhere.  Not only is our news filled with this reality — so also is our make-believe, all day every day on  TV.  It is a near certainty that every one of us will be violated in some way by some crook somewhere in our lives.  How we deal with that reality separates the cowards from the most of us.  This has nothing to do with Cheney or Obama, but we can be sure when it does happen that Cheney will claim omniscience.

I think it would be better for us all if we simply open our eyes and realize that the world is filled chock full of wonderful people who are struggling every day for what many of us take for granted.  And some people who are not so wonderful.  The deeper the need, the more bitterness will grow, the more likely those who hate will slip over the edge into inhumanity.  I think we should defend outselves if necessary, without destroying our own hard-won ideals or trashing the constitution that makes us the United States of America.  And then get together to see what we can do to help the wonderful people reduce the level of bitterness in this world.