Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hot, Flat, and Crowded

Pulitzer prize winning author Thomas Friedman writes about the state of the world. His previous books include From Beirut to Jerusalem about the Arab-Israeli conflict, The Lexus and the Olive Tree on globalization, and The World Is Flat, how inexpensive global telecommunications has equalized economic competition among the world's countries. His latest book is Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - And How it Can Renew America.

What does this have to do with bicycling in Fairfax? Friedman has a profound message for the world; because of global climate change we must change the way we travel, heat our houses, generate our electricity, and treat the natural world. Bicycling can be part of the solution. Friedman is a cyclist. He says that we talk a lot about being green, but "we have not tried even the obvious stuff that we do know would have real effects and would not involve fundamental changes in our lifestyle."

He goes on list many small changes we could make. "Forcing everyone to ride a bike to work would involve changing our lifestyle. But requiring municipalities to set aside bike lanes running from suburbs to inner cities doesn't strike me as cramping anyone's lifestyle (and might make our whole society healthier)."

I highly recommend reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded. President-elect Obama, who is also a cyclist, has read the book:

"Then Obama talked about the current book on his nightstand: 'Hot, Flat and Crowded,' by the New York Times op-ed columnist Tom Friedman. ...Obama said he shared a commitment to improving America's 'energy technology.'"
Great post. I've read the book as well and I think it's definitely time we start making some changes in our daily lives. I hope to see some great changes in the future as President-elect Obama takes office.

I found a post on Peterman's Eye about Friedman's book and his ideas toward the future. It's a great read...check it out!


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