When Thomas Friedman was at Book Passage last fall to talk about Hot, Flat and Crowded, he agreed to return in the spring to discuss how environmental issues were being dealt with in the new administration.
He contends that the green revolution will be the biggest innovation project in American history. Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the N.Y. Times and the author of The World is Flat.
Thomas L. Friedman
Thomas L. Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter, and columnist. His foreign affairs column in The New York Times, which appears twice a week, reports on US domestic politics and foreign policy, Middle East conflict, international economics, the environment, biodiversity, and energy. He is the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of six best-selling books: From Beirut to Jerusalem; The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization; Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11; The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century; and Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need A Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America. His most recent book, That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back, is co-written with Michael Mandelbaum.
Award-winning journalist Thomas Friedman says former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had it easy compared to the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who faces many complex challenges in her mission to build peace between nations.
(born Aug. 4, 1961, Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S.) 44th president of the U.S. (2009 ). Obama graduated from Columbia University (1983) and Harvard Law School (1991), where he was the first African American to serve as president of the Harvard Law Review. He moved to Chicago, where he served as a community organizer and lectured in constitutional law at the University of Chicago before he was elected (1996) to the Illinois Senate as a member of the Democratic Party. In 2004 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and quickly became a major national political figure. In 2008 Obama won an upset victory over former U.S. first ladyHillary Clinton to become the Democratic presidential nominee. He easily defeated Republican candidate John McCain and became the first African American president. In 2009 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.
I found this talk pretty disappointing. I'm not a regular reader of Thomas Friedman's columns but I found his emphasis on fixing a system that at its best left millions of Americans disenfranchised while the rich just got richer disheartening.
What I want to see in future (from the Obama administration - though my hopes are quickly fading) is new ideas and the beginnings of a new system. We will not get the green and social justice changes the nation and world need through business as usual.
Friedman speaks of the banking and financial system as a benign force - the scaffolding we all rightly hang upon - when I see the system and many of the individuals who direct it as rapacious and amoral in their pursuit of profit. They have destroyed or are in the process of destroying everything.
Friedman correctly identifies the problems caused by a system based on consumption rather than production but has faith that the same heartless capitalists (only profit is important) would do better were they to turn their energies to greening the world. The reality is that it is the relentless pursuit of profit that has created our environmental problems - I have zero confidence that people with that frame of mind can fix them.
I guess Friedman just has more faith in the various players' good will than I do.
Take-away quote from Thomas Friedman: "You put that much leverage, on that much globalization and wrap it in that much complexity and start it in America, and I tell you...Grandma never saw this before."