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Can We Be The Greenest Generation?

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I am fairly obsessed today with Thomas Friedman’s piece in the New York Times about the imperative of reducing our dependence on oil. In short, he says, our oil addiction is killing the environment and putting us at risk of terrorism. We have to change. And we have to change fast. Please take the time to read this article. For a preview, read this:

How do our kids compete in a flatter world? How do they thrive in a warmer world? How do they survive in a more dangerous world? Those are, in a nutshell, the big questions facing America at the dawn of the 21st century. But these problems are so large in scale that they can only be effectively addressed by an America with 50 green states — not an America divided between red and blue states.
Because a new green ideology, properly defined, has the power to mobilize liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, big business and environmentalists around an agenda that can both pull us together and propel us forward. That’s why I say: We don’t just need the first black president. We need the first green president. We don’t just need the first woman president. We need the first environmental president. We don’t just need a president who has been toughened by years as a prisoner of war but a president who is tough enough to level with the American people about the profound economic, geopolitical and climate threats posed by our addiction to oil — and to offer a real plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels…
…Equally important, presidential candidates need to help Americans understand that green is not about cutting back. It’s about creating a new cornucopia of abundance for the next generation by inventing a whole new industry. It’s about getting our best brains out of hedge funds and into innovations that will not only give us the clean-power industrial assets to preserve our American dream but also give us the technologies that billions of others need to realize their own dreams without destroying the planet. It’s about making America safer by breaking our addiction to a fuel that is powering regimes deeply hostile to our values. And, finally, it’s about making America the global environmental leader, instead of laggard, which as Schwarzenegger argues would “create a very powerful side product.” Those who dislike America because of Iraq, he explained, would at least be able to say, “Well, I don’t like them for the war, but I do like them because they show such unbelievable leadership — not just with their blue jeans and hamburgers but with the environment. People will love us for that. That’s not existing right now.”

Right now, here’s what we do around this house to do our little part in protecting the environment. I breastfeed (so no bottles and formula containers going into landfills); we recycle; we write checks to non-profits; we turn off the lights when we leave a room and we don’t run the water in the sink for extended periods. Once I figure out who the most “green” candidate is, that person will get my vote. But I’m sure there must be more we can do. I don’t know what yet.
I’d love to hear from all of you what you do on a daily basis to help save the planet. Can we live up to the challenge Friedman poses, of becoming The Greenest Generation?
An unusual situation like this calls for the ethic of stewardship. Stewardship is what parents do for their kids: think about the long term, so they can have a better future. It is much easier to get families to do that than whole societies, but that is our challenge. In many ways, our parents rose to such a challenge in World War II — when an entire generation mobilized to preserve our way of life. That is why they were called the Greatest Generation. Our kids will only call us the Greatest Generation if we rise to our challenge and become the Greenest Generation.



2 Responses to “Can We Be The Greenest Generation?”

I poured over that article yesterday, and want to read it through again. I think it’s a terrific “call to arms” that people all across the political/social/whatever spectra can appreciate.
On a daily basis? Well, we’re putting in flourescent bulbs, and we recycle. We walk when we can, and only have one car, not a gas guzzler. I wash in cold water, mostly, and have tried to get more enviromentally-friendly cleaning products (though I haven’t found an earth-friendly dishwasher detergent that really cleans…I suppose I COULD wash by hand, but…)

I forgot one thing we do that I’m very passionate about – we buy a share at a local organic farm for our produce most of the year. It actually winds up being a pretty good deal, too.

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