Let me connect the dots.
Saudi Arabia ruffled a few feathers this last week with its refusal to endorse a global warming cap as presented to the UN Framework Convention, providing an example of a nation clinging to an oil -based economy. Apparently, the Framework requires unanimous support in order to move forward, and Saudi Arabia is the sole dissident. The nation’s refusal to agree to the Framework means a significant stall in the ability for us as a species to ameliorate the most dire issue of our time. It demonstrates a lack of vision and ability to adjust to new circumstances – the very thing that has allowed us to climb to the top of the food chain.
China, on the other hand, is demonstrating our ability to adjust with aplomb. Their efforts to reduce carbon emissions have put them at the forefront of green innovation and markets. A recent Forbes article discusses China’s leadership in just the solar industry alone; long being the front-runner in solar panel production, it is now the world’s largest consumer of solar panels. China is also becoming more aggressive in its space program, particularly with regards to space debris clean up and planetary exploration according to this Popular Science write-up.
Two nations, two quite different approaches to progressive thinking, and U.S. (connecting the dots), somewhat in the middle but precariously close to following in the former’s footsteps. Consider the subsidies we grant to the oil corporations of our nation. Consider the lengths we will go to for assurance that our oil supply will not run out. Consider that war is a petroleum based enterprise and there’s plenty of money to be made in the enterprise. Consider the tertiary costs: human lives, environmental destruction, social unrest, and volatile economies.
Saudi Arabia and China provide living illustrations that a nation always has a choice: cling desperately to ways that are proving to be our destruction or embrace change and become a leader in new technologies.
The U.S. has its own choice to make with this next election: support a platform that continues with the old ways – or support a platform willing to change, adjust, and move forward with the rest of the world. One thing is certain – as history demonstrates – those who fail to adapt will eventually be left behind and perish.
May we choose wisely.