Thursday, January 04, 2007

Some News and Some New Year Wishes

Bits in news lately are that the East Coast has had a very warm winter while we've had a stormy (although not particularly cold) one. Retail was affected by the weather - fewer people bought cold-weather clothes, for example. In some areas of the country, it didn't feel like Christmas. This is not as superficial as it may sound - we need a strong economy to fuel the changes we need to make.

I guess I have three New Year's wishes worth mentioning (but if you are reading this, feel free to post some more).

1) More of us make more small changes. The US is making progress - our energy consumption rise per capita was less than other industrialized nations. That doesn't mean we are going the right direction yet, but if we can all make changes, they'll add up.

2) A serious breakthrough in energy happens. Lots of work going on in this area - I'm starting to research a more in-depth article. This is at least plausible. We need a breakthrough that radically enhances an existing technology or produces a new one that does not need an extensive delivery system and is easily adoptable by consumers. It's probably too much to hope such a thing will be affordable for all as well this year, but many middle-class and up consumers would switch to something greener even if it cost more.

3) We need a space breakthrough. Bezos' recent flight and Space Ship One are baby steps. We are a curious and adventuresome race and we need to be able to get away. Doesn't mean I want us to get away and leave a wrecked hulk of a planet behind, but it's time to quit holding all of our future in a single environment threatened by us, but also by asteroids and other stuff. I know this one is pretty tangential to global warming, but if we don't solve the climate change problem, or the tipping point is past, we know the Earth has frozen completely before. Which doesn't leave much room for the idea that good-sized pockets of civilization will carry the torch until thing stabilize.

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