In the gloom of post-election 2004 few people, if any, could have
anticipated the wild surprises of 2005. Focusing on three unforeseen
developments of the past year, a meditation on
how life has changed in unexpected ways.
If New Orleans is to reclaim its greatness, the scope of the solution must match the scope of the problem. The city could become the nation's classroom by re-engineering levees, responsibly building neighborhoods and schools and repairing the environment, but time is running out.
Industrial society is on a collision course with nature. The devastation of New Orleans is a metaphor for what can happen next to us all. Will America decide to reshape the future in positive terms, or sit back and wait for the inevitable destruction to occur?
Faced with the challenge of rebuilding, New Orleans seems stuck in the mud--not just mired in the muck caking the city but also trapped by centuries of policy mistakes, especially the fantasy that it can be separated from its surroundings.
Gas-guzzling SUVs take a lot of blame, but landfills make stealthy
stealthy contributions to climate change. While they should be
developing innovative waste disposal strategies, corporate-owned
landfills use techniques that generate heat-trapping methane that
accelerate global warming.
While political pressure is mounting for a pullout from Iraq, the
subject of total withdrawal remains unbroachable within the
political establishment. Control of the Iraq's oil reserves, from the
beginning, was the Bush Administration's real reason for this war.
The scramble for petroleum by developing countries worldwide is
reshaping global geopolitics in favor of oil-rich nations like Iran,
Venezuela and Sudan.
E-cycling used computers to the Third World may sound idealistic, but
in reality it's just a new way to dump toxic waste.
Top oil execs were asked numerous questions at a Senate hearing on
spectacular profits earned in the wake of tropical storms. But they had
no real answers about how to ease the burden on ordinary Americans.
As the Senate opens hearings this week calling energy execs to
account for their windfall profits on gasoline and natural gas, the
question must be asked: Is this price-gouging or just good