We should impart our
courage, and not our despair, our health and ease, and not our
disease, and take care that this does not spread by contagion.
— Henry David Thoreau
Sorry about last week,
readers. Hope my list of scary things, from the national debt to
antibiotic-resistant germs to the electromagnetic pulse that will
wipe out modern civilization, didn’t keep anyone awake at night. I
promised to share some solutions to them this week.
Debt, personal: As my
dad taught me, never borrow for anything but essentials, like your
home and maybe a car. If you run out of education money, borrow only
what you feel confident you’ll have a job to pay back; otherwise
drop out until you’ve saved up for another semester.
Debt, national: Support
politicians who recognize debt as a threat to our economy and your
loved ones’ futures, who pledge to cut the total debt and unfunded
liabilities at all levels of government. Prepare for the serious
cuts in services that will be unavoidable come the next 2008-like
crisis, when everything that is too big to fail, fails.
Disease. Don’t overdo
antibiotics: be sure to take the full amount when they are properly
prescribed, but you really don’t need to wash your hands with them
unless you have a cut. Democrat politicians should stop demonizing
the drug companies who look for new treatments and carefully monitor
companies that do research with tax dollars. Be aware that illegal
immigration bypasses the vaccinations and medical exams required of
people who come here legally — one reason pertussis and tuberculosis
are becoming a concern again in the U.S.
Can’t find good news
about the declining bat population: “The Forest Service estimates
that the die-off from white-nose syndrome means that at least 2.4
million pounds of insects (1.1 million kg) will go uneaten and
become a financial burden to farmers, possibly leading to crop
damage or having other economic impact in New England. ...
Comparisons have been raised to colony collapse disorder, another
poorly understood phenomenon resulting in the abrupt disappearance
of Western honey bee colonies” (Wikipedia).
However, I’ve read that
the bee colony collapse is slowing, and honeybees could be on their
way back: many beekeepers have been actively treating them for
Serendipity. As I
shopped at Whole Foods for Redwood Hill Farm yogurt from “Certified
humane raised and handled” goats, I was offered a sample of “Green
Bee Ginger Buzz all natural soda,” made in Maine from local
honey instead of sugar by a new beekeeper who was concerned about
the declining bee population. It’s quite refreshing and only 15
grams of sugar, compared to 36 in my Canada Dry cranberry ginger
ale. Here’s the innovation for which America has always been known.
My concern about
genetically modified foods (GMO) came from my partner, Chip, who
Monsanto is trying to corner the seed market. This becomes part
of the discussion about what the May National Geographic features as
New Food Revolution.” Last week’s column noted world population
growth to eight billion by 2034; National Geographic says there will
be nine billion by 2050. It recommends a five-step program to feed
agriculture’s footprint, avoid further deforestation.
2. Grow more on the
farms we’ve got.
3. Use resources
4. Shift diets to
less meat-intensive meals, curtail the use of food crops for
5. Reduce waste.
I wonder if
Soylent Green is considered genetically modified? It would
certainly address #’s 3 and 5.
In the same
National Geographic issue, there’s an article on dinosaurs
living in “hot and swampy” southern Utah 75 million years ago.
Remember when hot and swampy wasn’t our fault?
I hope the threat of an
electromagnetic pulse (EMP) puts “global warming” in perspective.
Here are some suggestions from Gregory S. McNeal, a professor
specializing in law, public policy and international affairs,
writing in Forbes.
“Believe it or not,
Congress sought to address some of these questions when they
established an EMP Commission in 2001, formally known as the
Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from
Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. That Commission published reports in
2004 and 2008 with...
focus efforts on prevention. This includes encouraging a global
consensus of non-proliferation bolstered by ‘intelligence,
interdiction, and deterrence to discourage EMP attack against the
U.S. and its interests... focus the nation’s efforts on
infrastructure hardening, response and recovery coordination, the
hardening of space and defense systems, and perhaps most
importantly, missile defense.’”
However, very few of
the commission’s recommendations have been implemented, and McNeal
continues: “Sadly, the Obama administration has taken a step in the
wrong direction by cutting missile defense, a critical component in
protecting against an EMP attack.”
William R. Forstchen
has written a novel about life in America after such an attack, “a
book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a
truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy
the entire United States, literally within one second.” Truly scary
reading, and I cried when a family had to shoot the faithful dog to
feed a sick child. But Forstchen also has useful suggestions for
survival. You might want to buy “One Second After.”
How’m I doin’,
solution-wise? Here’s my best plan: We need to elect a president and
Congress who take debt, EMPs and other scary issues seriously. Then,
we can return to the spirit that made America the greatest country
on earth, populated by problem-solvers who can deal with all the
things that scare us.