Goodbye Oil, Hello Molten Salt
Palo Alto, Calif.
Your May 24 editorial, "There Will Be Blood," is right: we need a moratorium on new offshore drilling and an end to subsidies for oil, coal and conventional nuclear power. Alternative energy is available: the thorium-based molten salt reactor, which generates the same power as a uranium or coal plant but creates less than 5 percent of the waste, and that waste becomes benign in 500 years. Other advantages: a thorium plant can burn our stockpile of nuclear waste/weapons; it cannot melt down/explode; thorium is four times as abundant as uranium; and the process was tested and proven practical in the 1950s and ’60s at Oak Ridge (see thoriumenergyalliance.com and tinyurl.com/25mgqkd).We operated this safe nuclear system more than forty years ago but defunded it because it could not make bomb materials. Now we need it.
Defuse the Population Bomb
Can humanity save its climate before climate chaos destroys humanity? Juliet Schor’s "Beyond Business as Usual" [May 24] observes, "But New Deal 2.0—expanded federal spending—still relies on climate destabilizing growth…addressing unemployment by unleashing even more climate chaos." Sadly, that’s a convincing prophesy. And how can we find the solution until we reverse the rate of world population growth? Catastrophe may be only a matter of how soon climate chaos directly reverses that growth. Forget persuading humans to accept self-restraint to save our climate. We are all deniers.
Story Time for Progressives
Amitai Etzioni, in "Needed: A Progressive Story" [May 24], rightly calls on progressives to formulate a convincing narrative as a counterforce to the Republican story that America was on the right path until Roosevelt, Johnson and the ’60s counterculture undermined our traditional values. To me the most convincing narrative would be "recovering community." Such a narrative can plumb the wellsprings of our yearning for community in an increasingly alienating world. But recovering community must move beyond our loyalties to ethnic, class and local groups to the larger American community. We must focus on what is best for all rather than what’s in it for me.
Community loyalty is quintessentially American and has a long and honorable history. Recovering community would offer an umbrella narrative that can draw on our finest moments of history, our deeply felt concerns and our heartfelt need to invest ourselves in causes that transcend our smaller selves.