Introduction to Chapter 18

Hot, Flat, and Crowded has seventeen chapters. What's Chapter 18? Chapter 18 will be a completely new chapter that I’ll add to the next edition of the book: Version 2.0. In it I hope to include the best ideas and proposals sent in from readers: ideas about clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation; about petropolitics and nation-building in America; about how we can help take the lead in the renewal of our country and the Earth alike by going Code Green. I am eager for your suggestions — please post them here.


The $2 trillion fix.

Anyone in America would be able to buy a new plug in hybrid from
GM, Ford, or Chrysler, and have half the price paid by Uncle Sam.
The benefits:
Immediate increase in manufacturing.
Immediate increase in fuel mileage.
Increased financing.
Decreased pollution.
Decreased dependency on oil.
Also, it would be much easier to pass an additional one dollar tax
on a gallon of gas.

HoosierJohn (not verified)
November 8th 2008, 10:57 pm

Dear World,

I think we need a chapter on either Generation Y and Generation I (born after 1994). As baby boomers start to retire it is up to these generations to lead the way for all these changes you talk about. yes it is great to get all these green ideas out there for young people, but if the new generations are just going to read about what is going to happen in the future they are wasting their time by not acting to prevent a hot, flat and crowded world.

or We need a chapter on specific actions to take locally to impact global change. Steps for change: Make the world aware which you very well have established in this book, step 2: give examples of what can be done, step 3: lead the change by telling us what we should do (people need guidance, it is much easier to listen and take order than to act independently) step 4: Acting on the leaders request (ex: recycle all materials used in the house, ride your bike to work) (simple but making a difference)

Or why not a chapter on both?

Phil (not verified)
November 8th 2008, 12:27 pm

Dear Mr. Friedman,

First I want to thank you for your book, Hot, Flat & Crowded. It's what America, and the rest of the world needs to hear.

I am a retired architect and freelance writer. I am in the process of writing a book which takes on the task of putting the energy crisis and global warming in terms that ordinary people can understand. It is titled, "Running on Empty - A handbook for understanding and surviving the energy crisis." It describes most of the current alternatives being proposed by a variety of proponents, many of whom have some interest in one particular idea or another. The final chapter emphasizes conservation and efficiency. It lists over 130 ideas for individuals to reduce their energy use, some costing little or nothing.

My conclusion, after studying the problems we face, is that no single idea will solve our energy problem. We need all options and the participation of everyone to accomplish our goal of fuel freedom and stopping global warming.

As I see it, the main obstacle to making the changes needed to end our fossil fuel dependence and the unconscionable pollution of our atmosphere, is a failure to inform people of the magnitude of the problem. Too many people do not believe that there is an energy or global warming crisis. Many do not believe that human activity causes global warming. Many are unwilling to make any effort to conserve, save or recycle. We have to make it cool, chic, and patriotic. We need to instill the same feelings about remaking our world, free from foreign oil, as we did about defeating Germany and Japan during World War II. It is a matter of patriotism.

Your book is powerful, and if we could get everyone to read it or listen to the audio version it would go a long way to educating the general public as to what we face if we don't act.

The new President-elect needs to deal with the inefficacy of the Secretary of Energy. What is needed is an Energy Czar who is technologically knowledgeable and a visionary. His or her responsibility would be to promote research and investment in energy, identifying and recommending the most promising technologies. It should be his or her responsibility to launch a PR campaign, on the magnitude of that of T. Boone Pickens with his wind initiative. Regular reports of our progress toward energy independence should be a daily occurrence.

The Department of Energy should have bloggers flooding the social bookmarking sites with information about green living. Young people made a great difference in the 2008 election and they can do the same with the energy crisis. The internet is a powerful tool, and you could use it as T. Boone Pickens does to form a Code Green Revolution. Almost a million and a half people have joined his 'army' through friends encouraging other friends to join. The Code Green Revolution is at least as important.

Documentaries and informational programs should be developed depicting what green living means, making it seem smart and hip. People like Ed Begley should be sought out and featured. There are many out there. If they happen to be celebrities, so much the better. It needs to be made to look cool

There should be programs illustrating what other countries are doing. Some of their successes are here in our country. These should be a challenge to our own people. As you know some European countries are way out front with alternative energy development. In short we need to blitz the airways in every way possible to get the word out.

Phillip J Greene (not verified)
November 7th 2008, 10:16 pm

One issue that should be central to chapter 18 should be a move away from the global economic system we have now to a more local or regional system. Now, we produce things where it makes the most sense globally, guided by price and 'efficiency' (which in practice can often mean lower wages and lower levels of environmental regulation). We need to start producing things so avoidable emissions are minimised and as little oil consumed as possible - ie, closer to where they will be consumed.

As you showed in 'the world is flat', some services can be produced on the other side of the globe and travel around the world in a (relatively) weightless way through the internet - no emissions and oil burned. But if America greened and the auto companies saw the light, would it make sense for General Motors to make hybrids in America and sell them in China, and chinese car companies sell Chinese hybrids in America? Think of the emissions of ships sailing past each other with similar cars on board.

OK, consumers like personal choice, but why not exchange car production manuals, not cars. Part of chapter 18 should mean a reformatting of globalisation so avoidable emissions and oil consumption results.

You can read more about this at:

Pete North (not verified)
November 7th 2008, 10:33 am

Hate to say this, but I'm sure you'll understand: I've given up buying books, and instead opt for the library (both for saving trees and also the benefits of spontaneous reading, choosing books I'd never spend money on).

One thing that could be good for a Chapter 18 is to highlight the personal benefits from a green revolution, in the sense of how a person's body would come out a winner. This seems to be lacking in the story, other than in cases mentioned of polluted rivers and air quality. But many more things go into our body than just particulate matter from the environment. Many such things are paid for by consumers--boosted economically over healthier options by people's dollar votes--and the revolution has to include healthier choices coming from the factories' front door destined for market shelves, rather than the fixation resting on what is pumped out the side of it into a river.

1) What are the benefits of using better home and industrial powered clean supplies, vs. traditional ones?

2) Biology class taught me about the pollution multiplier effect when traveling up the food chain, i.e., more toxin density per gram. How many people know that you get two times as much mercury eating tuna as eating salmon, because the animal weighs hundreds of pounds more, and eats many little fish containing trace amounts?

3) Airplane upholstery, the 'new car smell', and the thousands of new chemical products released to market with no knowledge about their effects each year. If the 'full price' idea in your book, that which includes externalities, was applied to these types of marketing practices, too, what would be the positive effects of that?

There are many things more. My example 2, like other posts here, is what led me to become vegetarian, though the benefits of reduced methane emmissions helped solidify that decision. But the book seemed to not identify reasons and ways that we can use the necessity of a green revolution to also make what we consume more friendly for us and the environment we inhabit. While energy issues, efficiency and conservation is by far the most important thing, it should be mentioned how much money and medical bills can be saved by promoting sustainable consumption choices in combatting the era of Dirty Products.

Ben Pennington (not verified)
November 7th 2008, 1:20 am

Dear Mr. Friedman
For Chapter 18 - Policy I offer a quick response to the transportation problems in US Cities. A way to reduce GHG, pollution in general, as well as traffic congestion and put the automotive companies back to work making buses. BRT - Bus Rapid Transit.

BRT offers us the opportunity to take advantage of all the asphalt that we have laid in American and in cities like New York put the streets to better uses moving more people quickly.

Let me take you on a tour of the new BRT route on Forham Road in the Bronx with the head of the Department of Buses Joe Smith. I am sure he would like to show you why BRT makes so much sence for NYC and urban America.

Robert W Previdi (not verified)
November 6th 2008, 6:08 pm

Love the chapter 18 idea, love your work, Mr Friedman. Its all about babies. I'm raising an "only" for a reason. We all should. There's 3 billion people on Earth in 1968, I was 11. Now there are 6.7 billion, I'm 51. Everybody could get a Prius, you're still using some resources; "everybody" gets compact flourecents, still using resources; eat less: still using something. The only people saving 100% are the people that are not here at all: unborn. The concert for Bangledesh was in 1971, they were starving since the 60's, they still are. There has never been a country throughout the history of the world that ever bred itself into properity. Never been a drop in population on Earth, ever. Lets have the government go through the past 40 years of DMV records and find out who has been registered for four-cylinder cars the most, have only one child or none. These are the people that saved the world all along, didn't start or contribute to the problem as much as the multi-child housholds, the 98 lb. lady in the Escalade running to the store for a doz. eggs and a gallon of milk, wasting the world as she goes. One or none (children) should be rewarded, not tax breaks per child. I'm only here for another 29 years anyway. I hope the world lasts that long. Thanks for spreading the word!

Skip Mulkey (not verified)
November 6th 2008, 5:33 pm

Good day Mr Thomas Friedman,

Inspired by the current energy crisis looming over the world as well your work and insight with regards to energy production, I am ecstatic to share “G volt Energy” (Ground-force volt energy) a new ground breaking energy source. I am certain I have tapped into an innovative energy concept which has been overlooked. With the right structure, team and development not only could a nation’s economy possibly boom without limits, but maybe just maybe this could save our world in the process…I simply ask you to review a quick intro to my concept thus far.

Two quick breakthrough benefits of G Volt Energy:

1-Think Small

Which would make a bowler richer each day for 1 year?

If I gave him $1 every time he bowled or 50 cent every time he blinked. Our rate of eye blinking varies, but on average we blink once in every five seconds, or 17,000 times each day, or 6.25 million times a year
(Source: Brandeth, Gyles, "Your Vital Statistics", 1986. Citadel Press, Secaucus New Jersey).

Even if he made an effort to bowl each day the exponential number of blinks would make him a multi millionaire with no added effort.

Rather than focus on massive ways to produce large increments of energy once in a while, the G volt approach produces many more small increments of energy rapidly which the average person can generate for collective or individual usage.

2-Effortless power

G volt energy is produced as the old time adage suggests “working smarter not harder”. The fundamental key to making massive amounts of energy is allowing regular people to generate it through rapid increments overtime without added exertion or effort required.


The New Energy

We’ve all heard about clean power, well now there’s lean power or as I put it ground volt Energy (G VOLT). Finally an energy source we can store in batteries which harnesses our most abundant force, gravity. With this 100% renewable basic force, any average person can create lean energy. Weight loss, reducing obesity and fighting diseases such as diabetes is a natural by-product of creating lG Volt energy. That’s right, as you create this energy to help reduce energy costs you help yourself reduce pounds. Best of all since anyone can create it, lean energy production will increase proportionately with population levels. With a technological advancement of this magnitude not only can we solve our energy crisis but create an economic boom worth hundreds of billions for the first nation to perfect it and present lean energy to the world.

Experts have concluded a 40% reduction of US power would be the required benchmark to finally wean itself off foreign oil for good. Imagine the value of a concept to help solve energy, reduce obesity and in climate change all in one. Even if it reduced 10-15% of each, that would be a massive improvement.

As Americans and Canadians alike, we have always been on the forefront to new innovations and can be once more. Imagine the news press on a new approach to energy; imagine the consumer demand, the corporate sponsorship, the government support...

There can only be one statement left, show me the power!

(A concept of this magnitude can change the energy industry as we know it. I am definitely open to a partnership affiliation; however, before providing the GVOLT product presentation I do ask for a signed letter of confidentiality and non circumvention)
I thank you for your time and look forward to your feedback,

J.C. Berryman

J.C. Berryman (not verified)
November 5th 2008, 3:42 pm

Our nation's buildings offer as much energy savings potential as the transportation industry. Many have recognized that these structures are highly inefficient and lose energy, hot or cold via conduction and drafting through foundations, walls, floors, roof, windows and doors.

As environmentalist and architect Ed Mazria points out, “Every time we design a building, we set up its energy consumption pattern and its greenhouse gas emissions pattern for the next 50-100 years.”

The problem with this industry is that it uses shitty materials. Wood is subject to rot, fire, mold, and termites. Deforestation also greatly contributes to the global warming process.

So I propose a means for using the superior quality and structural benefits of concrete, to create homes and light-commercial structures which are insulated and incorporates a "pitched roof" of reinforced concrete.

My business partner has patented this building system and we are currently looking to share this expertise.

The prototype home was rated by Florida Power and Light in 1994 as having an R-40 wall / R-50 roof! The added thermal efficiency results from the combined effect of placing the insulation to the exterior of the concrete mass to keep at a constant temperature, while leaving unobstructed access to heat and cooling systems inside the home. The reinforced concrete mass acts as a “thermal sink” effectively storing energy from sources inside the home, and then releases that energy back into the room when energy demands require.

The reinforced concrete building envelope, which includes the walls and roof, is engineered to withstand winds up to 250mph. This building system can be used to construct both single and multistory
developments, and can accommodate the design of most structures while not limited to supplying only basement or shear walls. In seismic zones or areas where tornadoes and hurricanes are frequent, more steel and concrete may be added to meet the various engineering
specifications. Along the coasts and in flood-prone areas, it also can be built on pilings.

Mr. Friedman you allude to our existing technology in pages 320-322 of your book entitled Hot, Flat and Crowded. Please contact me so that we can share our expertise with yourself, and also our military.

Shane Gaddes
Society's Change Agent!

Shane Gaddes (not verified)
November 4th 2008, 12:38 pm

I'm about a third of the way through Hot, Flat, and Crowded and would like you to read some excerpts from David Blume's Alcohol Can Be A Gas! which I consider to be the best book I've ever read. The first is from the Various Feedstocks chapter concerning marine algae:

"… With the ever-spiraling price of oil, cultivation of seaweed will not only become economical, but will become necessary as the effects of Peak Oil make availability of inexpensive chemical feedstocks a thing of the past.
As energy prices continue to rise, or when oil-based industrial material that could be replaced with algae-sourced material becomes sufficiently expensive, a domestic algae mariculture industry will boom. Engineering and ecological study should be put into this field. This research could increase the density of yield, lowering the cost of machinery to harvest and tend the algae. It’s very possible that the energy return on this crop could be more than 15 to 1, much higher than even sugarcane—with virtually no fossil fuel used in the process, since methane (natural gas) production from kelp is a proven process.

The Untapped Potential
The potential impact of a crop such as algae can’t be ignored. The attraction of marine algae over land plants is that algae don’t have to fight gravity. As a result, the cellulose-lignin structures that give land plants their structural integrity and ability to stand up aren’t needed. Thus, much more of the plants’ energy goes into growth and carbohydrate production.
Kelp can grow inches or even more than a foot per day! Another big advantage is that in many locations no fertilizer is necessary to produce it. Kelp lives in a “hydroponic” solution, also known as the ocean. Nutrient-limiting factors on growth evaporate where kelp is cultivated near river out-flows containing sewage entering the ocean.102
Kelp’s foot-a-day growth is primarily limited by the level of dissolved carbon dioxide in the water. If coastal kelp-to-alcohol plants were built, kelp farms could return the fermentation carbon dioxide to themselves, bubbling it through the kelp, increasing growth. This would generate more oxygen and cool the water further.
So let’s design an energy system to work as a crash program of kelp farming for energy. There are major ecological reasons to do so. The United Nations has concluded that there are 150 intermittent or permanent dead zones in the world today.103 These are areas of the ocean where the elevated nitrogen causes a population boom and then decomposition of microscopic algae. In the process of decomposition, all the oxygen in the water is consumed, killing off sea life. Some of the dead zones, like the one in the Baltic are over 62,000 square miles in size! Although no one has fully measured the extent of the Mississippi/Gulf dead zone, it is at least 20,700 square kilometers (7992 square miles). All along the East Coast and at river mouths on the West Coast, there are dead zones or areas with very elevated nitrogen levels.
It may already be necessary to start these kelp farms for their water-cooling function—in order to save the Pacific fisheries. Due to warming of the water along the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts, krill have disappeared. Although they are called zooplankton, krill get to be one to two inches long. Animals from birds to whales depend on them for food.
“It’s the krill that drive the food web dynamics off this coast,” said Ellie Cohen, the Executive Director of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in California. “Their absence has tremendous implications for everything out there, right up to the humpback and blue whales. We don’t know if this is a result of global warming … but without the krill, you could be looking at a food web collapse.”104
Water temperatures along the Gulf of Alaska are the highest they’ve been in 50 years.105 This effect does not match the usual patterns of El Niño and seems to be the result of global warming. If the water doesn’t cool, then phytoplankton and krill that eat it cannot survive. So massive kelp farming might have to be implemented to locally absorb solar energy and cool the ocean surface so that plankton can survive and feed the food chain.
In the process of growth, kelp produces oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. So, kelp farms would be oxygen-rich oases for sea life in the dead zones. Putting massive seaweed farms in the Gulf, for instance, would dramatically cool the surface water, since the solar energy would be turning into kelp carbohydrates instead of heated water. This would serve as a buffer against hurricanes, causing them to cool and stumble down a couple of categories before hitting land. We could convert the oil platforms to plants that process seaweed for alcohol, and pipe it to shore.
The liquid stillage remaining after distillation would resemble the kelp solution currently used by organic and other farmers as a natural wide-spectrum fertilizer. In Norway and China, kelp is dried in large quantities for kelp meal or kelp solutions as fertilizer. If we adopted a national strategy to implement kelp farms, the amount of chemical phosphorus and potassium fertilizers used by farms would dwindle to zero, since the forms found in kelp solutions are superior. This plan would also go a long way toward eliminating the toxic, and in some cases radioactive, chemicals released into the environment as byproducts of current production of commercial fertilizers. So alcohol production could be seen as a byproduct of producing nontoxic, petroleum-free fertilizers for the nation’s agriculture.
Do you think I am proposing an outlandish scheme? In looking at kelp for methane production, the American Gas Association, hardly a wild-eyed group of tree huggers, estimated somewhere near 23 quads (23 quadrillion Btu) a year of methane from kelp just from the California Coast.106 If the kelp was first fermented to make alcohol and the remaining mash was then fermented a second time for methane, to be used primarily for alcohol plant energy, about a third of that energy would be recovered as alcohol. This might be almost 90 billion gallons of fuel from the California Coast alone.
The remaining two-thirds of the energy as methane would provide all the alcohol plant process energy plus a huge surplus of gas/electricity. That’s roughly half of the transportation fuel the U.S. currently uses per year. Add to this the potential production from the Oregon and Washington Coasts, the nutrient-saturated dead zone of the Gulf of Mexico, and possibly the outflow from Chesapeake Bay. Looks like we’ve replaced all the transportation fuel for the U.S. just from marine algae, as well as the lion’s share of natural gas and electricity, as well. All without using a square foot of farmland.
So then all we’d have to do would be to nationalize the now-useless oil pipelines to send some of the alcohol and all of the digested liquid kelp to fertilize our nation’s agricultural heartland. Of course, building such kelp farms would be a massive undertaking, but if building 41,000 miles of highways to carry our vehicles or mounting a $500 billion war for oil in Iraq doesn’t intimidate our Congress, then neither should a project like this—which neatly solves many problems in one stroke."

And this is the "Two-Minute Summary":


1. Almost every country can become energy-independent. Anywhere that has sunlight and land can produce alcohol from plants. Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world imports no oil, since half its cars run on alcohol fuel made from sugarcane, grown on 1% of its land.
2. We can reverse global warming. Since alcohol is made from plants, its production takes carbon dioxide out of the air, sequestering it, with the result that it reverses the greenhouse effect (while potentially vastly improving the soil). Recent studies show that in a permaculturally designed mixed-crop alcohol fuel production system, the amount of greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere by plants—and then exuded by plant roots into the soil as sugar—can be 13 times what is emitted by processing the crops and burning the alcohol in our cars.
3. We can revitalize the economy instead of suffering through Peak Oil. Oil is running out, and what we replace it with will make a big difference in our environment and economy. Alcohol fuel production and use is clean and environmentally sustainable, and will revitalize families, farms, towns, cities, industries, as well as the environment. A national switch to alcohol fuel would provide many millions of new permanent jobs.
4. No new technological breakthroughs are needed. We can make alcohol fuel out of what we have, where we are. Alcohol fuel can efficiently be made out of many things, from waste products like stale donuts, grass clippings, food processing waste-even ocean kelp. Many crops produce many times more alcohol per acre than corn, using arid, marshy, or even marginal land in addition to farmland. Just our lawn clippings could replace a third of the autofuel we get from the Mideast.
5. Unlike hydrogen fuel cells, we can easily use alcohol fuel in the vehicles we already own. Unmodified cars can run on 50% alcohol, and converting to 100% alcohol or flexible fueling (both alcohol and gas) costs only a few hundred dollars. Most auto companies already sell new dual-fuel vehicles.
6. Alcohol is a superior fuel to gasoline! It’s 105 octane, burns much cooler with less vibration, is less flammable in case of accident, is 98% pollution-free, has lower evaporative emissions, and deposits no carbon in the engine or oil, resulting in a tripling of engine life. Specialized alcohol engines can get at least 22% better mileage than gasoline or diesel.
7. It’s not just for gasoline cars. We can also easily use alcohol fuel to power diesel engines, trains, aircraft, small utility engines, generators to make electricity, heaters for our homes—and it can even be used to cook our food.
8. Alcohol has a proud history. Gasoline is a refinery’s toxic waste; alcohol fuel is liquid sunshine. Henry Ford’s early cars were all flex-fuel. It wasn’t until gasoline magnate John D. Rockefeller funded Prohibition that alcohol fuel companies were driven out of business.
9. The byproducts of alcohol production are clean, instead of being oil refinery waste, and are worth more than the alcohol itself. In fact, they can make petrochemical fertilizers and herbicides obsolete. The alcohol production process concentrates and makes more digestible all protein and non-starch nutrients in the crop. It’s so nutritious that when used as animal feed, it produces more meat or milk than the corn it comes from. That’s right, fermentation of corn increases the food supply and lowers the cost of food.
10. Locally produced ethanol supercharges regional economies. Instead of fuel expenditures draining capital away to foreign bank accounts, each gallon of alcohol produces local income that gets recirculated many times. Every dollar of tax credit for alcohol generates up to $6 in new tax revenues from the increased local business.
11. Alcohol production brings many new small-scale business opportunities. There is huge potential for profitable local, integrated, small-scale businesses that produce alcohol and related byproducts, whereas when gas was cheap, alcohol plants had to be huge to make a profit.
12. Scale matters—most of the widely publicized potential problems with ethanol are a function of scale. Once production plants get beyond a certain size and are too far away from the crops that supply them, closing the ecological loop becomes problematic. Smaller-scale operations can more efficiently use a wide variety of crops than huge specialized one-crop plants, and diversification of crops would largely eliminate the problems of monoculture.
13. The byproducts of small-scale alcohol plants can be used in profitable, energy-efficient, and environmentally positive ways. For instance, spent mash (the liquid left over after distillation) contains all the nutrients the next fuel crop needs and can return it back to the soil if the fields are close to the operation. Big-scale plants, because they bring in crops from up to 45 miles away, can’t do this, so they have to evaporate all the water and sell the resulting byproduct as low-price animal feed,which accounts for half the energy used in the plant."

I am currently buying land (signed P&S and closing 1-Dec) to start a business based on the info in this book, and have run my unmodified '97 Honda Civic on E-50 with no problems. Our new home there will be a Form Works Building earth-sheltered and passive-solar home (

Best Regards, Tom!

David Stein (not verified)
November 4th 2008, 12:18 am

Mr. Friedman,
You make the comment at the very end of chapter 13 that" because we can't sell shares in nature does't mean it has no value."

Mabey there is a way to have an nature stock market selling shares in nature or deginerated enviroments as a result of industrial dentagration wereby to invest in them to reverse the damage can in some way be structured to benifit those invested as say carbon credits do.

Tom Hawe (not verified)
November 3rd 2008, 6:59 am

I believe there is strong interest in a solid chapter on what happens after the initial goals of this book are accomplised? "Left with the Bathwater".

In 10 years, when we replace Black/Brown with Green, and we've left the middle-east with an angry generation of extremests, what then?

An angry next generation raised to hate America but love our money and consumer goods. What's the plan at the end to bring some education, peace, cooperation to that wildly unstable center and home for decades to the biggest terrorist shools, groups and hatred?

Mr. Friedman, congratulations on another remarkable book. I'd suggest a great final chapter to continue our national debate would be the focus on next steps. As this certainly didn't make it into this year's political race as we were unfortunately focused on wardrobe budgets, radical preachers, false internet quotes, and gotcha moments.

Why not end w/ the next steps. Yes as an individual, who and where should we go? What organizations, leaders, small business owners are emerging whom we should support with our efforts if not our pocketbooks?

However, much more importantly, where does Green leave us in the Middle East? We obviously forgot to plan for the exit strategy in Iraq. What's your insight into an exit strategy for the US out of this area?

Another generation has grown up in these areas witnessing bombs, deaths, greed, and occupation by America. Their outlook is being formed in many case w/ very anti-US funamenta beliefs. In a decade if we've dropped our dependency on that region, funds drop, us troops no longer supply a police and security infrastructure,... that leads to unrest. What is our role then? I believe you've touched on it but what do we do with "The Bathwater without a Baby"? when we take the baby away?

You have a gift sir. It's helped the national conversation and dialogue for our country debate some very difficult topics.

-Paul Ledbetter

Paul Ledbetter (not verified)
November 3rd 2008, 4:09 am

This whole situation should be a win/win for our country. The ingredients should be the next boom. If we (the U.S.) can dominate in as many clean green technologies as possible, then we should all be much better off. If we dominate this sector of the world economy, it's jobs for the U.S.(to appeal to politicians and labor), cleaner (for the environmentalists), weans us off foreign fuels (for security), and is profits for companies (for investors). Now, other people can debate the political stuff, but my idea is only to make this sector of the economy more open to non-engineers and non-environmental science professionals. The companies seem to only be looking for engineers, which they need, but I guarantee there are other people who want to get involved or work in this sector who are non-engineers. My idea is simply for more companies to open up their arms to all sorts of people looking to get involved in the green economy and to let it be known that they will look at all backgrounds. If this gets published in the book. Hopefully, more doors for people like me and other interested people will be swung open!

Richard Grenillo (not verified)
October 31st 2008, 3:08 pm

I have just finished reading and glad it ended on, and is filled with optimism. However when I am pessimistic I am reminded of this quick writing of Kurt Vonnegut, Requiem, End of the Planet.

When the last living thing

has died on account of us,

how poetical it would be

if Earth could say,

in a voice floating up


from the floor

of the Grand Canyon,

“It is done.”

People did not like it here.

I like it because it really reminds me what's at stake.

Jerry (not verified)
October 29th 2008, 7:35 pm

Thank you for writing this book! I agree with some of the folks that have posted about education being a problem. Once you read this book or actually understand the magnitude of the problem, you get it. You are outraged. You want to do something about it. I'm just worried that the people that are reading your book, already kind of get it. Preaching to the choir.

Definitely new courses in all levels of education need to be developed, but what about the voting population that is finished with school? Not everyone watches Bill Mahr or David Letterman. This needs to be discussed repeatedly on Oprah, Dr. Phil, Regis and Kelly, local news stations, etc. We know that for some folks their only source of information is from the church. Every religious educator needs to inform their congregation of the problem. We still need more of a majority around the world to truly understand the problem, want to get involved and make their government listen and act.

Nancy Riter (not verified)
October 29th 2008, 11:03 am

There is no Developed World—we are all Developing. The alternative to “developing” infrastructures is system-wide entropy with socioeconomic and environmental decay and ultimate collapse. But the infrastructures of a prosperous past are not the infrastructures of a prosperous future. They never are.

This is most consequential by far in transportation. Early highways, mass transit, and airports were market-driven and self-funded. Growth with these infrastructures created unprecedented wealth because is was extremely efficient in the existing context. Not anymore. Building more of the same is too expensive and increasingly subsidized, raising our cost of living and taxes indefinitely.

This growing inefficiency is not technological. It is an environmental inefficiency of space and form requiring a structural 3-D fix. It makes the postmodern built environments—cities and suburbs alike—unsustainable, even with green technology.

If we are to unleash the market forces that create wealth and advance a green agenda, we need to do what our industrial ancestors did: We must build efficient transportation infrastructures that transform our way of life. And like earlier Americans, we must do so by reducing the cost of living.

Properly conceived and executed, America’s future transportation systems need little or no subsidies. This is not a crazy notion. 19th century railroads paid their way. Early 20th century highways were financed with tolls. Several generations of mass transit (trolleys and urban trains) were financed with fares. Most were privately owned. Yet all are subsidized today because the infrastructures stopped evolving.

Given today’s structural needs, a renewed evolution of our transportation infrastructure and the economy it creates is best achieved with a new class of highway and vehicle type: Urban-only “minihighways” for urban-only one-person vehicles or “minicommuters.” A second passenger is possible in tandem but never side-by-side, which requires wider vehicles and lanes. Tall vehicles mustn’t be allowed either because they require higher clearances. The more low cost and low impact vis-à-vis highways, the better.

Like early highways, low cost, low impact minihighways create a new stronger economy. But minihighways do much more. They reverse congestion in high cost, high impact highways enhancing our quality of life. Urban Americans—75% of the population and still growing—start setting their cars aside for most of their transportation needs. Sprawl is checked by independent minihighway systems each planned to serve the specific needs of its metro area.

This is a true systems-wide fix. It restructures motorized urban locomotion from the ground up. It makes higher population densities cost-effective and vertical development competitive again.

Ushered in by minihighways, fast growing non-sprawl densities make the second step of the transformation cost-effective as well: next-generation mass transit. New mass transit solutions become affordable much sooner than highway-only growth ever could. In many cases, significant mass-transit upgrades are developed concurrently with minihighways with one new infrastructure complementing the other.

The sustainable city of the future will now arrive as it always has: delivered by innovative planning choices reintroducing efficiency to a “developing” system past its prime.

To summarize: In environments where highways dominate, the first step to sustainable development is building cost-effective minihighways, which reduce traffic in the most congested highways without building any highways. The second step is new cost-effective mass transit designed for much higher population densities.

With efficient growth reborn, the cost of living dives making the tough policy decisions of a true energy revolution viable politically and economically.

The false notion of a Developed World is put to rest because America is nation-building at home again.

The idea that “developing” superior transportation infrastructures is expensive also dies a quiet death.

In pursuit of self-interest, nations everywhere begin restructuring their cities because they can now afford it. More and more urbanites change their way of life. The green revolution is now global with sustainable transportation leading the way.

For more details of this vision for a more prosperous and green future starting in America, do check out my new website

You have seen anything like it.

(This posting greatly expands an earlier one. Please be advised that the “Forward Site” page of the website above is not yet operational.)

AMGonzalez (not verified)
October 27th 2008, 1:11 pm

I’m reading Hot, Flat and Crowded––it is powerful and persuasive; I hope it receives the attention it deserves. While I am hopeful that a new administration will take meaningful action, I am concerned that the American political system is too dysfunctional to move quickly. To this end, considering your interest, I want to raise an aspect of the climate challenge that is underutilized: marketing.

In 2003, the Times observed that there are “two superpowers on the planet: the US and world public opinion.” Mass media has become the dominant mode of civic debate and discourse in the US. The popular media is a battleground where hundreds of corporations, interest groups and NGOs vie for public attention. Public opinion drives politics and popular mass media drives public opinion.

Al Gore stated that meeting the climate challenge will require a national mobilization comparable to WWII. It’s worth noting that at the outset of the war, Roosevelt enlisted the nation’s top advertising execs to create campaigns to unify people in the war effort. The results: Rosy the Riveter, Loose Lips Sink Ships, a nationwide recycling program, and the War Bond drives, to name a few.

Persuading 300 million Americans to accept the scientific evidence of a global climate threat and the need to change longstanding lifestyles and behaviors in the next ten years is a monumental marketing challenge. Considering the urgency and slow pace of change in the US, the public support necessary to compel meaningful political action must be forged in the next three to four years.

There is a serious disconnect between the scientific understanding of the climate threat and the ability to convey the information to individuals with compelling and persuasive language. For decades environmentalists have tried to focus American public opinion on threats to the environment. Based on results, their reliance on free print media coverage as the principal communications channel has failed to generate the widespread public support needed to succeed.

Ask any mid-level executive at a major corporation what is necessary to roll out a major new product in the US, their answer: advertise. Think of the climate threat as a major new “product”, and your marketing objective is to persuade 90 million Americans to ‘use’ your product, how would you:
1. Create effective, memorable and persuasive messages tailored to key demographics?
2. Generate strong public ‘demand’ in a huge, diverse country of 300 million people and 230 million fossil fuel vehicles?
3. Counter a competitor determined to eliminate the threat your product poses with multi-million dollar disinformation campaigns?
4. What industry would you approach to create, plan and implement your marketing campaign?
5. How long would it take to build strong public demand?
6. How much would it cost?

The annual marketing budgets of major US corporations provide a useful benchmark for gauging what will be necessary to build public support for real climate action. To launch Vista, Microsoft’s first year budget is estimated at $500 million. According to the GAO, the Pentagon’s advertising budget for recruiting was $592 million in 2003. AT&T spent $1.032 billion; Ford spent $832 million; and McDonalds, $619 million. Furthermore, these enormous sums were allocated to achieve relatively limited marketing objectives when compared to the task of reaching and engaging all of America.

During the 1970's, millions of Americans were moved by an advertising campaign that featured a Native-American who urged us not to litter–with a tear. It is an excellent example of noncommercial advertising’s ability to reach and inform a large audience. Compelling new images are needed to build public support for meaningful climate action.

In 1988, Lester Brown, the founder of Worldwatch, asserted “Unless public awareness builds to a groundswell of support for change, we may not be able to reverse the trends that are undermining our children's future.” Nearly 20 years later, we are still wrestling with the question of how to forge a groundswell of public support. What is needed to build strong public support? No single media channel is capable of achieving this goal alone. What do prominent members of the marketing, advertising, and public relations industry think and/or advise? Professor Philip Kotler, Distinguished Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern, has written extensively about marketing noncommercial issues; it would valuable to know his thoughts on marketing climate change.

Abraham Lincoln asserted “With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.” To compete effectively for the hearts and minds of the American public, the climate community will need to create multiple means of funding sustained presence for their message in the popular media, particularly television. While this is an extremely expensive proposition, it is critical and achievable. And again, thank you for your efforts to keep climate/energy issues on the national stage.

Eric Cato (not verified)
October 23rd 2008, 1:18 pm

For Tom Friedman and possibly Adel al-Jubeir.

Saud princes shared a visit in my dome home near Seattle to discuss energy and oil policy. We discussed a plan to terminate the OPEC oil embargo. Adel, "We were recently a Bedouin tribal society. When we found water we shared it with our neighbors or expected to be shot. We feel the same way about oil." "We share oil revenues with the religious conservatives in the south." They expected renewable energy to be wiped out by the coming low oil prices, while the nuclear industry should survive due to size.

They hired my dad to run pathology at the Riyadh National Guard Hospital. The King would send his biographer to keep me posted on policy developments. Example, when President Clinton visited the King he told the King that if oil remains plentiful and cheap then solar energy will not be supported. The Sauds supported solar energy developments (not part of that urban mythology that oil producers suppress solar energy). Their support was grounded by two motivations. They have the most intense sunlight and expect to run out of oil. And they were concerned for the future of the global poor when oil becomes expensive. Their question: What is the cost and performance of solar energy?

One square meter of sunlight (about 11 square feet) in Colorado climate is worth more than one barrel of oil per year, about half that in Seattle climate. At 12% return on investment and with oil at $70/barrel, sunlight is worth $580/m^2. Solar concentrating mirrors cost about $110/m^2.

Google - solar dish.

Woodzy (not verified)
October 23rd 2008, 12:25 pm

Early highways, mass transit, and airports were market-driven and self-funded. Not anymore. Building more of the same is too expensive and increasingly subsidized.

This developing structural inefficiency makes the postmodern economy unsustainable even with new green technology.

We need to do what our industrial ancestors did. We must transform our way of life with a new generation of convenient and cost-effective transportation infrastructures. With growth renewed, the marketplace takes over making green technologies competitive.

The most productive first step creating a green economy is to decongest existing urban highways, which reduces our dependency on today's dirty engines. This is best achieved with a new class of for-profit "toll" roads: Urban-only minihighway systems for urban-only one-person vehicles or minicommuters.

For a vision of a green future America can truly afford (because it pays its way) do check out my new website You haven't seen anything like it.

AMG (not verified)
October 23rd 2008, 9:29 am

This comment is from Dave Wilson, a retired prof. of mechanical engineering at MIT, who has worked for many decades on high-efficiency energy projects, on environmental control and on policies.

"Hot, flat and crowded" is delightful and challenging.

I have, of course, all the answers (you've heard that from many before.) Many of my proposals are in my new policy web-site

Briefly, there's virtually nothing as effective as increased prices to get people to change wasteful and destructive ways. (We've seen that confirmed lately as the demand for SUVs and Hummers plunged with the increase of gasoline prices.)

HOWEVER, taxes on the use of energy, on polluting etc. have two huge disadvantages. They are REGRESSIVE (hurting the poor more than the rich) and they produce INFLATION by putting up prices generally.

Both of these can be easily overcome.

1. Fees (they are not taxes, because they don't go to the government) would be put on the consumption of fossil fuels and on all manner of environmental destruction, including pollutant emissions) and should be increased gradually to give people and businesses time to plan ahead.

2. All fees would be put into an impregnable trust fund, absolutely immune from being used for Congressional pork.

3. The trust fund would be reduced to zero each month by dividing it absolutely equally among all legal citizens living in the USA, seventeen and over, by transferring the amounts into their bank accounts. (All legal citizens would be required to have bank accounts. The banking industry would be delighted.)

4. The cost-of-living index would be required to include the sums rebated in addition to the general increase in the prices of goods and services. (Inflation would actually decrease.)

The effects would be these. The consumption of energy from fossil fuels and the emissions of pollutants would be steadily reduced, and simultaneously there would be huge incentives to the production of energy from all renewable sources, and to companies to produce low-emission devices. Poor people would find their rebates to be larger than their additional expenditures even if they did not change their patterns of energy use etc., while rich people would be somewhat penalized (while having much greater freedom than the poor to reduce their fee-increasing expenditures). There would be a large stimulus to business and employment. Illegal aliens would find costs going up without receiving rebates, so that they would experience discouragements to staying in the country.

The US would become the leader in green technology and culture.

Read for more details and a white paper on how this policy could be introduced.

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute!

Dave Wilson

David Gordon Wilson (not verified)
October 23rd 2008, 9:27 am

There are many wonderful ideas that folks have contributed to your chapter 18, but one of the things I don't think was fully addressed is media and education.

Many of us who have had the benefit of a higher education can easily see the reasons for incorporating vegetarian foods in our diets, solar and other alternative energies and the problem with overpopulation.

We need to make media a partner in educating the American public about these things and why they are important to them and their children. We need to get media - radio, TV and print - talking more about these issues.

We also need to find a way to teach empathy, perhaps in the schools. When one is empathetic, one can more easily imagine living in a way for the common good. Margaret Atwood just had a great op-ed piece about that in the NYT.

Greed is another thing that must be taught is wrong, just like racism. It has been unfettered greed and a lack of empathy that has cause the current situation in regard to both the climate crisis and the financial crisis.

thanks for your generosity in listening. If you'd like to learn more about me, please go to my website


Ann Tracy (not verified)
October 22nd 2008, 6:18 pm

Mr. Friedman,

Your discussion of the need for rural electrification, and its opportunity to stem the huge growth of mega-cities in the developing world, brought to mind an enterprising project I heard about recently. Two current students at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business have a start-up that has installed mini-power plants (35-100 kW)in rural India, providing clean, affordable power generated from rice husks, the unused waste product from rice farms. They won 2d place in MIT's 2008 IGNITE Clean Energy competition. While not a substitute for reliable large-scale grids, it is an immediate solution to many of the issues you covered. Check them out at

tjbenj (not verified)
October 22nd 2008, 12:15 pm

Your book has inspired me to, think globally and act locally. I am a big proponent of speaking up when you see things that just don't make sense, so I wrote a letter to the editor of local newspaper when I noticed something in our community that did not make sense to me. Letter below.
Dear Editor,
I am new to Hamden and am sure I don't know the history behind the "Semi-Annual Bulk Pick Up Program", but I have to express my concerns over this program. I took note of the city's web site where they announce the program and seemingly encourage residents to take part. On the surface the program seems to be an unnecessary waste of taxpayer funds. I noticed while driving around town that not everyone takes advantage of the program. For example, I recently took some of my unwanted treasures to both Goodwill and Salvation Army drop off facilities located here in Hamden. From a taxpayer perspective I find it distasteful that the city uses taxpayer funds to provide a service to some residents who either unwilling or otherwise unable to dispose of their unwanted items. I have tried to determine the cost of the program by reviewing the city's budget, but can not find a line item for Semi-Annual Bulk Pick Up Program. I sent an email to the Finance Director a week ago and have yet to receive response. I sent a follow up email to the Mayor. This seems to be a real waste of taxpayer funds, the program is not free, we are all paying for it, while only a few less than resourceful folks put their crap out by the side of the road.

I just finished two new books, Hot Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman and A Contract with the Earth by Newt Gingich and Terry L. Maple. While I do not consider my self a environmentalist, I do try to stay informed about global issues, and take action on a local level where I believe I can make a difference. While I don't believe that recycling alone will solve our issues with energy independence, we do have to start somewhere and take a stand when we see something that just does not make sense. I believe that the Semi-Annual Bulk Pick Up Program is contrary to ordinary recycling programs. I know I personally find it really unattractive to drive around town and see a bunch of junk piled up in neighbors front yards. More importantly all this stuff is being picked up by roving garbage trucks driving around the city wasting gas or diesel fuel. The landfill where all this stuff ends up has to be dealt with at some point. This program is wasteful on number of levels.

I really believe in the old adage that "one man's junk is another man's treasure". There has to be a better way to get rid of our unwanted junk. Donate the stuff to Goodwill, Salvation Army, local churches, or even by listing stuff on the Internet on sites like, and I know have stopped by some of my neighbors yards and fished out some kids toys and bicycles to give to our relatives kids. Some of this stuff was in good shape. I am sure some self starting entrepreneur is probably going around at night and getting the good stuff and has it sold on

We need to encourage social entrepreneurship efforts to help solve problems with recycling and other issues that face our town. Stop taking the taxpayers money to fund inefficient and wasteful government run programs, like the Semi-Annual Bulk Pick Up Program, to solve our problems.

One man can make a difference

John (not verified)
October 22nd 2008, 9:14 am

Trying to solve environmental problems on this earth without addressing overpopulation is like giving Morphine to a patient with a brain tumor. It may alleviate the pain but the cancer keeps on growing and eventually the patient will die.

This earth existed millions of years before man and if we don’t check our exploding population, and the resultant effects he will have exponentially on the environment, he will extinguish himself.

Wallace L. Snyder (not verified)
October 21st 2008, 7:27 pm

Tom - I am a child of the world is flat driven and earn my living from global technology offshoring, I have devoted my last 10 years on research on personal finance and US capital markets

imagine a very simple solution to your entire book/ world predicament, it consists of just four simple steps - question them later and I can provide proof
1. world needs to save 50% of all income
2. there is no great return on any non risky investment
3. show the true fully loaded costs including systemic costs/risks of all transactions
4. tax only consumption, not income and savings

lets say each tax payer in the US saved 50%. Impossible you may add
actually the ideal mix which the government and the big corporations never want you to wake up to
25 % all inclusive govt taxes - income, federal, state, property, sales tax
25% - all inclusive household spend on housing and house costs - heating...
37.5 % - savings
12.5 % - all inclusive non housing costs
12.5% - govt saving mandate out of the 25% they took from households

suddenly you would have 50% savings and 50% consumption economy
the strain on the planet would ease dramatically
funds would easily be available for developing and frontier markets
if we show real costs then suddenly you wouldnt want to be a shareholder in Altria

reason I say this is worlds best investors have already realized this
check out Norges bank Sovereign fund now has only 3.7% return once they take risk avoidance strategy

if there is no great return w/o taking foolhardy risks how do the rich make money
they make money out of people who do not understand risk-return

Three things Wall Street does not want you to know a) no one can beat the market b) perfect portfolio is a perfectly balanced 50% Global stock like and 50% Global Bond like set-up in weighted market cap of all global participating entities - this gives you the best risk adjusted return - this can be simply implemented with Stock/Bond and Alternate ETF's with very little fees !!! does not require transactions and nor the charges of the bloated wall street c) they make superior returns by taking higher risks or by fooling people.

The Catch - the perfect portfolio unfortunately gives you very low returns, in the quest for higher returns you can do only two things a) take more risks which makes sense in only one case explained at end of the article or b) fool people who do not understand risk-return

True risk-return equation is very simple to the ones who do understand it -
Market risk
Catastrophe risk
Windfall risk

Any contract between any parties which does not take cognizance of these three together over all points in time is doomed to begin with in ignorance or set up to perpetrate fraud on you.

You need to use insurances to protect against catastrophe risks and lotteries of various sorts including pvt equity for windfall , it must also be perfectly balanced for e.g if they share your windfall, they must share catastrophe.

In the simple example of an American home loan
PMI - Insurance must not only be on the 20% less your down payment, the insurance must thus be across all the capital you have borrowed, since only the government participates in your windfall only the government can provide that insurance, as your equity rises the insurance drops.

The rate must be individual and customized for your at present risk/perceptions across these risks so you would be in effect be a traded company on an exchange and all your financial actions available to the exchange...

Another Simple Example
How much should anyone save ?
Answer the perfect balance is to save 50% of your net paycheck -anything less you are bullish about the future anything more you are bearish about the future - in other words you are trying to beat the market which we know doesn't work, as you may know we save nothing ... China saves nearly 50%
That is applicable to Individuals, Families, Companies and the Govt ...

Another Simple Example
How do you really plan for Retirement ?
Construct the perfect portfolio obviously but balance that with observing the three risks and in all points in time. As a nation we are HUGELY ignoring catastrophe risks and overempahsizing market risk.

This will roughly break into market risk-94% of global "stock like" and global "bond like" (50-50)) and 1.5% catastrophe and 4.5% of windfall, returns will be directly proportional to world improvements in GDP/marketcap so your selfish/individual needs are balanced perfectly with your interest well being of all mankind.

What the institutions are doing is to push risks to unaware individuals and returns to themselves.

Yet Another Simple Example

Consider a contract where I have given you capital, but kept out of catastrophe risk and kept windfall chances to myself , in normal market conditions you will not know the difference but in windfall I will make money and in catastrophe you will lose money.

Beware the Systemic Risk - Risks that lies outside your portfolio, more about that later.

Ritesh Pathak (not verified)
October 21st 2008, 4:14 pm

Mr. Friedman,

It is not Global Warming it is Global Swarming.

As we worry about the “symptoms” of the world’s current and future crisis, we have completely ignored, I am afraid because of political opportunity reasons, the major element of ALL the global warming and climate change discussions: Population growth.

As we sit and endlessly discuss carbon emissions, carbon footprints, car efficiencies, etc… the world’s population keeps growing exponentially, yes exponentially. For those not very much in tune with how exponential growth works, here is one example: 2, 4, 16, 256, 65536, etc.

I have always wondered how in this world we are going to deal with such huge and growing populations in countries like China and India. What are they going to do when those billions decide to walk up to the cities and claim their share of their food, water and wealth?

As populations grow at the current clip, how are we going to have enough land to cultivate and let cattle roam? How are we going to have enough fish in the ocean? How are we going to have enough basic medications and vaccines?

Sometimes I feel that global warming is not really a big issue when compared to some of those mentioned above.

Uncontrolled population growth has one major problem. It is not politically correct and viable to talk about it freely. It is much easier to go after Exxon than to go after irresponsible population growth, or even worse, how to control it.

I wonder why NOBODY is talking about this.

Jorge R Tapies (not verified)
October 21st 2008, 1:44 pm

I agree with another commenter that changing our diet is the number one thing that we can do to help the planet. The United Nations report on climate change confirmed that intensive animal agriculture, i.e., factory farms, cause more carbon emissions than automobiles. Exploiting the earth's natural resources and our fellow creatures as units of production has brought us to the frightening place we are now. If people adopted a plant-based diet, factory farms would be phased out. It is difficult to overstate the positive difference this would have for the planet and all the creatures that share it.

Tricia (not verified)
October 20th 2008, 2:27 pm

Mr. Friedman,
Your research and books are, I think, the most important work being done for general consumption. For your chapter 18 I would sure like to see you make the following points. 1. American workers are not the hardest workers in the world. We have the highest productivity per worker because of wide spread automation in this country. 2. We must significantly decrease the trade deficit. Because of it we are hemorraging nearly a trillion dollars a year. This is national wealth that will not be returning. 3. Ralph Gomory and William Baumol in their book "Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests" have shown mathematically how it hurts our economy to have a trade deficit with a developed country but, it can help our economy to have a limited trade deficit with a underdeveloped country. This country is on a precipice of an economic disaster, therefore I propose that we limit imorts from developed countries to the value of our exports to them. We will buy as much from them as they buy from us.
4. It is time that we have a national council of social and scientific leaders that would some how be independant of party affiliations, to at least let this country know what is the proper direction for continued social and economic development. We can no longer allow the marketplace and advertising dictate in a willy nilly fachion that our ingenuity and energy be spent on such as X boxes, picture taking cell phones and automobiles.

Norm (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 9:16 pm

Dear Mr. Friedman,
Leadership involves stewardship of hearts and heads. The 'sustainable age' is upon us. Stewardship and sustainability are mandates for living. These historic times yearn for us to reframe our leveraged and spoiled consumption patterns. "Clean Energy" production & consumption must become a new american narrative. Clean Energy, both Fuel & Food, have precipitous and transcendent implications as we move towards nine billion people in our world. This GREEN CENTURY includes using green fuel and eating green food. The UN's report "Livestock's Long Shadow" is a glaringly missing element in our "global warming" zeitgeist. The report presents "Livestock consumption" contributing more to global warming that the entire transportation industry! Stewardship 2.0, Humanity 2.0, Enlightenment 2.0, Energy 2.0, Food 2.0, Production 2.0, Consumption 2.0.... NYT Headline 2050: "America's Lean & Green Society: The New Deal of the 21st Century".

Jeff Olson (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 4:37 pm

Nation-building in America?

The youth of America are our future; however, they are as ignorant as those who teach. In addition, our ignorant youth imitates our apathy. Who is to blame?

Schools avoid Humane Education and teach students to be ignorant and apathetic. Miss-educated doctors scramble to find a cure for cancer; yet, wise vegans know prevention is the cure. So too, truly defeating ignorance and apathy lies within prevention. Humane Education teaches children the truth about our world and raises a generation that cares. The philosophy learned in classrooms today becomes the philosophy of society tomorrow.

Children deserve the truth and are the key to change. Children are the transmission of society. It is up to vegans to break the cycle of hereditary ignorance perpetrated by school boards who allow the meat and dairy industries to go after the very children we entrust them to protect.

Milk mustache posters are an embarrassment to the educational system and a crime against humanity, far worse than Joe Camel, for they hang in an institution that children trust for truth. The indoctrination vegans fight so hard is ingrained in schools - the very place we should be working on prevention.

Do you remember, the 143 million pound Hallmark Westland Beef Recall? Do you remember how it affected schools, prisons, and the elderly? It is not a coincidence these unfortunate recipients have no choice. School boards have a, “They are only children” attitude towards our youth. Children deserve to know they can live an extra 10-15 years on a vegan diet. Hiding lifesaving information from children is criminal. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is nothing to sweep under the rug. I wonder how people will feel in 10 to 15 years when the children of today are the “dropping-like-flies” adults of tomorrow.

Everyone knows deep down inside how immoral meat eating is. The survival of the human race is on the line and with so many species extinct – more and more everyday, veganism is nothing to be hush-hush about or talk of passively. No revolution was ever comfortable.

Life does not lose its luster when we speak the truth. Life shines brighter than ever when we speak the truth for those who have no voice. How will you explain to your grandchildren that you grew up during the Vegan Revolution, but were too worried about meat-eaters’ feelings to make a real difference? Maybe you will say, “I thought it best not to press the issue and chose to be polite.” If you lived during the Civil War, would you adopt an attitude that slavery is wrong? Would you then speak-up about it at every step of the way? Would you insist on teaching children the truth? Would you adopt a non-confrontational, me-first attitude or would your circle of compassion be open to all? What stories will you tell your grandchildren?

Warwak (not verified)
October 19th 2008, 3:01 pm