Monday, November 23, 2009


When I'm not bleeding, I don't think about band-aids unless someone close to me is bleeding or I've written "band-aids" on our grocery list.

Our home sits high on a hill above Elk Creek and the James River, so when it rains long I don't worry about flooding.

Because we've set aside a fair amount of savings, I don't fret much about the recession we hope is almost over. That's not true. I do worry. Some of our investments have taken it on the chin, and I have a sneaking suspicion we're not climbing out of this thing -- that there is much more to come.

It's easy not to worry when we feel safe and sound. Then, all of a sudden, something changes.

The highest point on the 1200-some islands of the Maldives is no more than several feet above sea level. If I lived there, I'm sure I would think a lot more about global warming than I do seven hundred feet higher. Where I live, we have the luxury of debating whether or not global warming is occurring.

An overwhelming crowd of experts says it's happening. Others dispute it. If I lived in the Maldives, I'd be getting pretty upset about the rest of the world's failure to take every step possible to reduce the globe's warming. We who think we're safe now must not be selfish. We must not ignore the Maldives. If the day comes when we watch islanders scramble for dry land, we'd better be prepared for more trouble.

I first heard that global warming is a conspiracy of the Democrats in 2000 when I overheard a conversation in the cafeteria of a children's hospital. Our son was recuperating from a bowel resection. Why, I wondered, would any political party engage in this kind of conspiracy? Since then, we've wasted nearly ten years of opportunity in nonproductive debate.

In Natural Capitalism, Hawkens, Lovins and Lovins not only pointed out that reducing our carbon footprint makes economic sense, they provided hundreds of examples of what businesses and countries around the world have done to take advantage of this cash cow. So, even if global warming were a hoax or not induced by human activity, the measures we take to reduce carbon emissions are likely to make sense.

Virginia says, "read the book even though it's ancient history by now." (It was published in 1999.) Or try to catch Lovins when he speaks near you. Maybe you've read some of the many depressing, doom-saying books. Natural Capitalism is an optimistic description of an approach that works.

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