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Foundation and Friedman
When I was 12, my uncle made the mistake of having Asimov's "The Foundation" at my eye-level in his attic bookshelf. Having heard of Asimov but not knowing what kind of author he was, I took the book from the shelf and read it.
This isn't a book report, I promise. The seven books in the series are monsters that took Asimov 50 years to finish, scared away all movie producers, and inspired a few terrorists.
Naturally, [my older brother] and I read them all.
Over the last week, as I was reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded - I had flashbacks to Foundation.
Tom Friedman's books are usually chock full of facts about the burgeoning global economy as it rises into a spectacular creature with spaghetti connections. For this book, Tom was clearly writing in his basement on sleepless nights while jamming canned food into a floatable Eco-Shelter.
What he sees coming is the end of the world as we know it. The oil dries up, bread lines form, and shoeless Bulgarians take all our jobs. I'm tired of hearing politicians saying this needs to be solved by "the next Google." Google doesn't even compare.
We would need power so cheap that the world abandons fossil fuels, which have a centuries-long head start. Scientists agree this is
impossible that we should try hiding all our carbon dioxide in the ground. Seriously. After all, nuclear energy has been trying for decades, with no love.
In the Foundation series, the protagonists, like us, forsee an economic collapse that will destroy their civilization. They decide that the only possible solution is to unite and use their knowledge to piece things back together. They'll be outnumbered and outgunned, but their technical might and almost religious devotion to their goals will save humanity.
I, too, want to save humanity.
We should use our best technology to activize high school students. A good number are interested in technology and science already. These kids hear about climate change and stem cells. They want to know what's going on; they want to get involved in the messy politics of it. We should develop these interests, while pushing them to speak out to politicians and educators, ultimately becoming the people who change the world and deliver us from destruction.
My methods for doing this are somewhat realistic. Work is ongoing.