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Global Warming: The Beginning of the End, or perhaps a New Beginning?

There is as we speak, a growing awareness about Global Warming, and a growing controversy about the dangers it poses, and the possible solutions which could address those dangers. Some believe that Global Warming is the end of life as we know it, and others dismiss it as environmental quackery. To my mind, however, there is enough scientific evidence of the threat of Global Warming, such that the risk of not doing anything about it, is far greater than the risk of doing something, and later finding out that is wasn’t really necessary to do so. In other words, the risk posed by Global Warming is so great, that it is worth doing something about it, even if we’re not exactly sure that the problem really exists.

I don’t want to bother you with all the scientific data. Al Gore and his colleagues can certainly do a better job of that. That being said, I watched a show on TV a couple of days ago on the National Geographic channel. The scientists there pointed out that the polar ice caps used to be the size of the U.S. until recently, and are now about 2/3 of the size they once were. If they continue to melt at present rates, they could disappear by the year 2050, which is right around the corner, and the sea level could rise by as much as 20 feet, which would flood approximately 60% of humanity.

Global Warming is not just an environmental issue. It is an issue with ideological dimensions. It is a problem that brings into sharp focus what is important in life, and what we, as a species, will choose as our collective destiny. Yes, we are now charged with the onerous task of choosing our own destiny.

Some 150 years ago, relatively a bleep in the history of man, we decided, as part and parcel of the Industrial Revolution, to run our economies on fossil fuels. Could that decision have been a wrong turn taken by man as he made his way through the annals of history; a mistaken direction? And is it time now to retrace our steps and to find the right path once again? And is it just possible that Global Warming will force us, once and for all, to decide what is important in life, and to organize ourselves around principles which make more sense, which will bring more justice, and which will sustain us on this good earth?

If it is indeed true, as is quickly becoming apparent, that Global Warming, if left unchecked, will bring us storms and floods on the scale of those described in the story of Noah, then we have no choice but to rethink our priorities, to use our God-given Common Sense, and to reorganize ourselves ideologically, economically, and environmentally, in a more sensible and sustainable manner.

Strange as it may seem, Global Warming, the ultimate threat to our existence as a species, can also be the impetus for the kind of change that can better assure our long term survival. If we take the threat seriously, we will conform our behavior to the dictates of Common Sense, as opposed to the lure of greed, and reorganize ourselves consistent with a Vision of Hope, thus averting the abyss, and building a new future for ourselves, one based on justice and sustainability.

Common Sense suggests that in a world of limited resources, that the need for a sustainable environment trumps short-sighted economic policies which leave vast economic disparities, ideological extremisms, and environmental wastelands, in their wake. Common sense suggests that we in the industrialized world owe it to future generations to move toward green technology and renewable energy, and that we do so by creating good paying jobs around the world, which are aimed at producing green products which will protect and sustain the environment.

Such jobs will help to mitigate economic disparities, will help to neutralize ideological extremism, will help to clean up and sustain the earth, and will inspire people with a sense of hope by showing them a way out of the clutches of extreme poverty. Investment in green technology jobs by the Western world, and even by the Arab world, will have the added benefit of conferring to the investor countries, and their people, a sense of spiritual awakening, and restoring in them a sense of purpose and hope.

All this may seem like just talk, but talk which is persuasive can lead to action. As an example of where we need to go; the Japanese car company, Honda, just came up with a car, “Clarity,” which runs on a hydrogen fuel cell, with zero carbon emissions, just water vapor. And as you may know, Japan is investing heavily in developing industrial zones in the West Bank. Let me ask you this: Why can’t a plant to build this car be built in the West Bank? Why can’t Palestinian, Israeli, and Japanese business people collaborate, for a change, to make this happen? Why can’t Palestinian workers be hired and trained to produce a product that can help to protect the earth? Why can’t Saudi financing be used to finance the project as a way of converting oil profits to green profits, and as a way of neutralizing extremism?

Why? Why? Why? If it makes sense, and if it is now time to make sense of our lives, then why don’t we at least just give it a try?

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