No doubt that the United States of America is sick. Just like the human body seeks balance through homeostasis, a nation must also operate in a sustainable fashion. If a doctor were to review the health of the U.S. her list of symptoms would probably look something like this:
Destruction of home (namely global climate change)
Addiction to foreign supplied fossil fuels
Overconsumption of unhealthy foods
Under consumption of healthy foods
Lack of physical movement
Overly dependent on pharmaceuticals
Lack of appreciation of the natural world and the place human beings occupy in that world
Easily swayed by short term gain over long term loss
Lack of common interest – too much “me first” and too little community consideration
What a daunting list of symptoms! My God what’s a fella to do? Fortunately there is a cure.
The U.S. has existed in an unbalanced state for quite some time now – over thirty years ago Jimmy Carter saw us slipping and tried to pull us back but then we elected Ronald “let’s keep the party rolling” Reagan - but I fear we’ve finally reached the tipping point. Five thousand dead American troops, possibly a million dead civilians, fifty million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico all because of our demand for cheap oil, enough is enough. I hope that the unwinnable war in Iraq and the open spigot in the Gulf will finally convince enough Americans to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh and to embrace change.
The change that we need to incorporate is to make the bicycle America’s primary source of transportation. Daily use of a bicycle by a majority of Americans would cure every ailment listed above. Alternative energy is a con. If you think we’re going to replace easily transportable fungible oil (which is basically just billions of years of stored solar energy) with wind power, tide power, bio mass, bio fuels you’re seriously smoking crack. The only thing that comes close is nuclear power, and that’s just jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire (which is probably why we’ll go down that road). Oil is irreplaceable, we had a good time with it, but the party’s over - sorry. Time to move on.
We need to rethink our daily lives. We need to live closer to work. We need to use more human powered and mass transportation. We need to rethink the design of our cities to eliminate automobiles and welcome walkers and cyclists. This may sound like wishful thinking, and it probably is, but it’s high time we actually did some thinking.