Thinking Outside the Tube
“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” --Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
When it comes to the big global environment problems like the climate crisis, I’m pretty much in the camp that believes we can think our way out of it. That human ingenuity is going to beat the problem. Certainly some personal changes are required, some level of action, and a good amount of making do with less is going to be a part of the solution, but I think that the collective hive mind is going to figure out a way for us to do that without really noticing much that we are.
It’s sort of like the front loading washing machines my wife and I have been looking at. They use a whole lot less water and energy, but you don’t really notice they do. Your clothes are apparently just as clean. The only difference that’s felt is in your utility bills and your carbon footprint.
So it’s not like we can’t have appliances doing the dirty work for us. We just have to invent really smart ones so that we can enjoy these and other things without generating any negative environmental impacts in the process, and then we have to share these efficiencies with the rest of the world so that the have-nots can enjoy the good life, too. We don’t have to all go off and live in caves to beat climate disruption. We don’t have stop driving cars. We don’t have forgo mangos at the supermarket in January. We just have to get super smart about how we do all these things and figure out how to live well while also living intelligently and regeneratively.
For me it’s all about the moon shots. Kennedy gets up there and says we’re going before the decade’s done. And we did it. Using technologies and materials and science that hadn’t even been invented yet let alone dreamed of. The only thing more extraordinary than the fact that we actually sent a bunch of guys to another world (and an extremely hostile one at that) and had them literally drive around in a car for a few days is the fact that we did it about ten metaphorical minutes.
So I simply do not believe for so much as a nanosecond that zero-pollution energy for all isn’t possible. We are a clever species. We have leveraged our opposable thumbs and large brains to great mutual benefit and to all kinds of ingenious things. And I think it would be a historically epic and uncharacteristic failure of the human imagination to think that we can’t do the same where energy and efficiency and climate are concerned, to just give up and go home and burn the whole place down around us ‘cause we couldn’t figure it out and we didn’t want to give up our plasma TVs. We sent guys to the freakin’ moon for pete’s sake! We’ve had robots wandering around Mars for years. We’ve slowed down the speed of light., made the same object exist in two places at once, built an invisibility cloak that would make Dumbledore proud, and taken snapshots of the early days of the universe
What? We can’t figure out how to run a toaster without melting the polar ice caps? How pathetic is that?
Which brings us to the tube.
Check it out. Talk about crazy. I’m not sure I believe it (aren’t we all kind of still recovering from our cold fusion burns?), but this is the kind of thinking I’m talking about. Outside the box. Big ideas. Bold strokes. Courage. Imagination. We’ll see where the tube goes. Could be we all have one in our homes in a few years. Could be a scam. But even if it is a cruel hoax, there’s something like it out there. Could be fusion. Could be solar. Could be ocean waves. Co;ld be wind. Could be all of them or something we don’t even yet know exists. We just have to find it. We just have to all get together, chip in our pocket change, and fund the crazy brilliant minds of our generation in a energy/climate Marshall plan that will make the moon shots look like a soapbox derby. Then we can all stop worrying about tomorrow and get on with our lives. I’m pretty much ready for that whenever anyone else is...