January 17, 2009
As a nation and as individual consumers, we’ve borrowed too heavily from our children and grandchildren and wasted hundreds of millions of years of solar energy stored in composted carbon compounds. We know in our hearts that our fossil fuel energy usage is not sustainable. Our minds tell us the sooner we wean ourselves off of it, the better. Since we’re looking for ways to kick-start our debt-deadened economy by creating new jobs and investing in new infrastructure, let’s peer fifty years into the future and envision a land use armature that makes environmental and community sense – one that depends far less on the automobile and far more on a mix of compatible uses that permit us to find most of what we need to survive closer to where we sleep.
As we figure out where and how we need to evolve our human settlement patterns in order to survive as a species, we also need to thank the dinosaurs – who did not survive – for providing us with ready access to cheap and abundant energy for the past hundred or so years. This enabled us to force technology to a point where we may now be able to retool our society and economy in order to stop borrowing from the past and the future to underwrite our current quality of life. We must begin a transition to renewable energy sources now. I hope President Obama will inspire us to embrace this fundamental transformation, which may require considerable shared sacrifice, beginning on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, the day when I think we all hope the United States will, in good faith, fully commit our nation’s people, resources, creativity and expertise to the defense of our planet. It might also pull our economy out of recession and renew our confidence as a people.