Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when gasoline prices rose from under eighty cents to the staggering price of $1.40 a gallon, the United States government implemented measures to reduce oil imports and improve energy efficiency.
Flash forward twenty-plus years. Larger vehicles are again the norm, gas prices top $4.00 a gallon, and development and consumption across the world are rampant. The environment is more at risk than ever. What to do?
Enter New York Times columnist and Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Thomas Friedman, and his latest book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution, and How It Can Renew America.
Hot, flat & crowded are concepts that are, individually, not new. "Hot" refers to global warming, an issue that has become increasingly, well, hot, recently, especially during the last election. "Flat" is an idea presented by Mr. Friedman in his previous bestseller, The World is Flat, and represents the level economic playing field and globalization. "Crowded" indicates humanity's continued growth & expansion, and its negative effects on biodiversity and the world's limited resources.
Friedman's solution to "hot" & "crowded" is to utilize the U.S. (& potentially global) markets. He suggests a competition, largely enforced by government regulation and taxing, to stimulate the U.S. to become more green than China. The goals here are two-fold: to reduce dependence on foreign oil, thereby depriving "petrodictators" and potential terrorists a livelihood; and to help preserve Earth's ecosystems and resources and, thereby, ourselves.
I listened to the abridged audio version of this book and would probably recommend reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded instead. With so many concepts and so much information, you'll want to take your time with it.
And let us know what you think!