Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hot,Flat and Crowded – The Most Important Book You Will Ever Read

I have just finished reading Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.
All I can say is – Oh boy are we in for a rough ride.
Thomas Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who is also renowned for his book “The World is Flat” – also a book I recommend you read.

He explains with shocking, believable and scary examples of what is happening to our world in terms of global warming, the looming worldwide energy crisis and the implications of the huge pile of ***** we will be in if we don’t address these issues, and fast.
This book will scare you into wanting to do something, anything to help avoid what could be an impossible future. Most of us are aware of the global warming problem – but this book will tell you in no uncertain terms how bad the situation actually is.
He goes as far as to say that Al Gore owes us an apology - for underestimating how bad the global warming problem actually is.(For those who have been living under a rock - Al Gore is the politician who made a documentary about global warming a while back)

Friedman wisely includes some chapters on what we can actually do to save our planet – but whether we can mobilize ourselves to the extent required and the speed at which it needs to be done is another thing.
This book kept me awake at night.
If you love your children – and I am sure you all do, I implore you to read this book.

Although the book is geared mainly towards Americans, everyone n the world ought to read it.
But if you are American – then you really, really ought to read this book.

He tells us that the country that finds the way forward first into the best and cheapest, clean energy technology will be the global leader economically into the future.

For South Africans there is an important message – one of the ways he says will mobilize the population into doing something towards a clean form of energy is if the current energy system gets prohibitively expensive. This has already started happening in SA due to our Escom crisis. A few months ago a popular local solar power provider told me that there has been a marked increase in demand for solar power. I know that new technology is starting to show up here to resolve our electricity crisis, wouldn’t it be interesting if we could beat America and China to the new energy gold rush?
As a country we are not exactly an economic powerhouse, so I don’t see how it could get done as described in the book, but could the Escom thing turn out to be a good thing after all?
Personally, I would dearly love to get off the grid entirely and have my entire house geared up for clean energy – but it is pretty expensive. Then again, I have to weigh the expense against my daughter’s future in a world that will be hot, flat and crowded.
The way things are going with Escom though, soon it may turn out to be an either or option and if that’s the case then naturally I would choose clean energy.
I have a friend who lives on a farm in the Karoo, her husband had their house built to run purely on solar and wind power – they have been totally off the grid for several years now.
They must be laughing all the way watching the electricity crisis from their solar powered ivory tower.

Anyway, so far I have changed some lightbulbs to the new energy saving type, I switch off my tv every day at the wall and my geyser is only on for about four hours a day. For a long time now I also make sure that all lights are off if a room is not in use.
My husband Leo has a plan in the works to change our water heating to a new heat pump system that means our geyser no longer needs to be switched on at all and this will save some more.
What do you do to save power?

Ps. If you are not a big reader, then do a search on either Thomas Friedman or Hot, Flat and Crowded on youtube – there are several clips of the man himself and what he has to say.

1 comment:

  1. Read yr blog. Yeah all I can say is the human race has dug its own grave. The inherent problem at the root of it all is that people are generally myopic, apathetic, selfish and greedy. We think in terms of our own here and now and not much else. That and much of the world is controlled by global capitalism, Consumerism and Big Business and that is one hell of a stranglehold to break when those in positions of power are only consumed with the bottom line and profit margins. And that minset filters on down to every common individual and his lifestyle.

    I'm of the morbid and pessimistic opinion that even if humanity as a whole(which will never happen for the above reasons) manages to mobilise itself to try and right the ecological genocides that they've been perpetuating over the many thousands of years(but particularly with the advent of the industrial revolution), it will all be too little too late.

    (That won't stop me doing my part to change what I can. That living off
    the grid concept is one I'm quite interested in pursuing. Rampant Eco terrorism really is the only end solution to ferment change. Peaceful protest is impotent while summits(ie. recent Denmark fiasco) ensue and wealthy overfed politicians engage in endless verbose and useless dialogue, while the same old agendas gets rehashed and nothing effective is the only outcome.)

    I could rattle on about this subject forever, but really what more is there to say.

    Garth Marais