Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America

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Thomas L. Friedman's No. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world, and globalization, in a new way. With his latest book, Friedman brings a fresh and provocative outlook to another pressing issue: the interlinked crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy--both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to the 2008 presidential election--and to all of us who are concerned about the state of ...
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Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America

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Overview

Thomas L. Friedman's No. 1 bestseller The World Is Flat has helped millions of readers to see the world, and globalization, in a new way. With his latest book, Friedman brings a fresh and provocative outlook to another pressing issue: the interlinked crises of destabilizing climate change and rising competition for energy--both of which could poison our world if we do not act quickly and collectively. His argument speaks to the 2008 presidential election--and to all of us who are concerned about the state of America and its role in the global future.

"Green is the new red, white, and blue," Friedman declares, and proposes that an ambitious national strategy--which he calls geo-greenism--is not only what we need to save the planet from overheating, it is what we need to make America healthier, richer, more innovative, more productive, and more secure in the coming E.C.E.--the Energy-Climate Era. Green-oriented practices and technologies, established at scale everywhere from Washington to Wal-Mart, are both the only way to mitigate climate change and the best way for America to "get its groove back"--to "reknit America at home, reconnect America abroad, retool America for the new century, and restore America to its natural place in the global order."

As in The World Is Flat and his previous bestseller The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he explains the future we are facing through an illuminating account of recent events. He explains how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet, which has brought three billion new consumers onto the world stage, have combined to bring the climate and energy issues to main street. But they have not really gone down main street yet. Indeed, it is Friedman's view that we are not really having the green revolution that the press keeps touting, or, if we are, "it is the only revolution in history," he says, "where no one got hurt." No, to the contrary, argues Friedman, we're actually having a "green party." We have not even begun to be serious yet about the speed and scale of change that is required.

With all that in mind, Friedman lays out his argument that if we are going to avoid the worst disruptions looming before us as we enter the Energy-Climate Era, we are going to need several disruptive breakthroughs in the clean-technology sphere--disruptive in the transformational sense. He explores what enabled the disruptive breakthroughs that created the IT (Information Technology) revolution that flattened the world in information terms and then shows how a similar set of disruptive breakthroughs could spark the ET--Energy Technology--revolution. Time and again, though, Friedman shows why it is both necessary and desirous for America to lead this revolution--with the first green president, a green New Deal, and spurred by the Greenest Generation--and why meeting the green challenge of the twenty-first century could transform America every bit as meeting the Red challenge, that of Communism, did in the twentieth century.

Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman--fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the world we live in today.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A wag once quipped that Thomas Friedman's bountiful bestseller The World Is Flat calmed the storms about globalization. In his latest effort, the influential New York Times Op-Ed columnist presses his case that Green is the new Red, White, and Blue. Friedman argues that environmentalism isn't just a survival imperative; it's the best way to make America richer, more productive, and, not least, more secure. Spanning the globe, he presents case study after case study that shows that Green-oriented practices and technologies are the key to revitalizing our country and stabilizing an increasingly energy-starved world.
David G. Victor
The litany of dangers has been told many times before, but Mr. Friedman's voice is compelling and will be widely heard…Heads will be nodding across airport lounges, as readers absorb Mr. Friedman's common sense about how America and the world are dangerously addicted to cheap fossil fuels while we recklessly use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for carbon dioxide.
—The New York Times
Joseph S. Nye Jr.
Like it or not, we need Tom Friedman. The peripatetic columnist has made himself a major interpreter of the confusing world we inhabit. He travels to the farthest reaches, interviews everyone from peasants to chief executives and expresses big ideas in clear and memorable prose. While pettifogging academics (a select few of whom he favors) complain that his catchy phrases and anecdotes sometimes obscure deeper analysis, by and large Friedman gets the big issues right.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Friedman (The World Is Flat) is still an unrepentant guru of globalism, despite the looming economic crisis attributable, in Friendman's view, to the U.S. having become a "subprime nation that thinks it can just borrow its way to prosperity." Friedman covers familiar territory (the need for alternate energy, conservation measures, recycling, energy efficiency, etc.) as a build-up to his main thesis: the U.S. market is the "most effective and prolific system for transformational innovation.... There is only one thing bigger than Mother Nature and that is Father Profit." While he remains ostensibly a proponent of the free market, he does not flinch from using the government to create conditions favorable to investment, such as setting a "floor price for crude oil or gasoline," and imposing a new gasoline tax ($5-$10 per gallon) in order to make investment in green technologies attractive to venture capitalists: "America needs an energy technology bubble just like the information technology bubble." To make such draconian measures palatable, Friedman poses a national competition to "outgreen" China, modeled on Kennedy's proposal to beat the Soviets to the moon, a race that required a country-wide mobilization comparable to the WWII war effort. Recognizing the looming threat of "petrodicatorship" and U.S. dependence on imported oil, this warning salvo presents a stirring and far-darker vision than Friedman's earlier books.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

The audio edition of three-time Pulitzer® Prize winner/New York Times columnist Friedman's The World Is Flat, which won an Audie® Award in 2006, remains Macmillan Audio's top-selling title of all time. Audie® Award-winning actor/narrator Oliver Wyman, who skillfully voiced that title, does the same with this one, in which Friedman addresses the triple threat of global warming, overconsumption, and population explosion not just to the environment but to political stability and the economy. The currency and gravity of this topic cannot be overstated; regardless of their political leanings, readers will sit up and listen. Highly recommended for all library collections; expect heavy demand. [Audio clip available through us.macmillan.com.-Ed.]
—Risa Getman

Kirkus Reviews
The world is flat, New York Times columnist Friedman told us in his bestselling 2005 book of that name. Now things are getting worse, and the clock is ticking. Americans have squandered most of the goodwill extended since 9/11, writes Friedman, and in the years of the Bush administration no thought has been given to what 9/12 is supposed to look like. The climate is changing, but the administration has spent most of its tenure denying it and insisting on a particularist view that we deserve to be profligate because we're Americans. Our political blindness and ignorance vis-a-vis other nations now butts up against the world's instability and, Friedman continues, "the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change." The way out of those tangles, he says, is for America to go green in any way possible-and to do it right away, investing in every kind of alternative and renewable energy form imaginable, setting the best of examples for the rest of the world and exporting green technologies everywhere, thus winning back allies and influencing people. Readers who have been paying attention to Fareed Zakaria, Jared Diamond or similar writers know most of this, but still the word has been slow getting out. Many others have written about these subjects, but few enjoy Friedman's audience, so it's good that he's turning to such matters, if a touch belatedly. His case studies-from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's insistence on a fleet of hybrid taxis on the street to British firm Marks & Spencer's insistence that going green is PlanA and that "there is no Plan B" -are well-selected, detailed and, in the end, quite inspiring. That inspiration is needed, along with a lot of hard work. A timely, rewarding book. Agent: Esther Newberg/ICM
From the Publisher
"At the intersection of leveled economic and technological access (flat) with an aggravated environment (hot), and a surging population (crowded), Friedman stands upon his pulpit as preacher, prophet, and promoter of a green revolution starting in the United States. He provides an exhaustive, impressive, and convincing argument about the need for the United States to transition to more sustainable systems of energy soon or else risk any possible chance of maintaining hegemony. His ability to identify and summarize succinctly the issues and controversies over resistance to a green revolution is matched by his clear and definitive solutions to these forthcoming problems. Oliver Wyman provides a congenial and gentle voice that works well with the text.... He navigates the quoted text of this book with a distinguishing voice that sometimes hints at personality traits not referred to in the text. Impressively, Wyman keeps his consistency of cadence and tone throughout the entire reading."—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded is a cri de Coeur, an impassioned appeal, read with equal zeal by Oliver Wyman…Cogent, persuasive, fascinating in its scope, Friedman’s call to arms will make you ask what kind of America you want for yourself and your children.” – BookPage, Sukey’s favorite

Praise for The World is Flat—winner of the 2006 Audie award for best nonfiction:

“Narrator Oliver Wyman does a superb job...The audiobook technology that enables us to take in so much information while caught in traffic or scrubbing a pan is precisely the sort of handhold Friedman would urge us all to grasp, and with both hands."—AudioFile

“[This book’s] insight is true and deeply important.... The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious.... [His method] works in making complicated ideas accessible.”—The New York Times Book Review

“This book showcases Friedman’s gift for lucid dissections of abstruse economic phenomena, his teacher’s head, his preacher’s heart, his genius for trend-spotting.” —The Washington Post

“No one today chronicles global shifts in simple and practical terms quite like Friedman. He plucks insights from his travels and the published press that can leave you spinning like a top.”—The Christian Science Monitor

“Wyman successfully faces the difficult demands of conveying Friedman’s concerns while maintaining listener interest in the information-rich text. His youthful, conversational delivery is engaging and, in fact, seems to subtly echo Friedman’s own speech patterns.” – Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594133350
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 7/21/2009
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 776
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.53 (d)

Meet the Author

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize three times for his work with The New York Times, where he serves as the foreign affairs columnist. He is the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem (1989), The Lexus and the Olive Tree (1999), Longitudes and Attitudes (2002), and The World is Flat (2005). He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Biography

When September 11 drastically reshifted America's focus and priorities, Thomas L. Friedman was the author readers turned to as a guide to the dynamics of the Middle East. In a mediascape crowded with pundits, the New York Times foreign affairs columnist and author has emerged as the preeminent commentator in his field, informed by his 20-plus years as a journalist covering the rapidly shifting politics in the region.

The title of his first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, describes his trajectory as New York Times bureau chief in both cities in the '80s. He interrupted his journalism career in 1988 when the Guggenheim Foundation awarded him a fellowship to write a book about his experiences. The result was a personal narrative that described not only his harrowing experiences in Lebanon and Israel but also contained exposition about the roots of his interest in the Middle East, a visit to Israel that burgeoned into a full-blown obsession. Friedman himself put it best, in the book's prelude: "It is a strange, funny, sometimes violent, and always unpredictable road, this road from Beirut to Jerusalem, and in many ways, I have been traveling it all my adult life." From Beirut to Jerusalem won the National Book Award and spent a year on the Times bestseller list.

This road analogy is one of several Friedman will make over the course of a column or book. He reduces the intimidation factor of complex subjects by offering ample (but not copious) background, plain but intelligent language, and occasional humor. On Iraq's history before Saddam: "Romper Room it was not." On globalization: "If [it] were a sport, it would be the 100-meter dash, over and over and over. And no matter how many times you win, you have to race again the next day."

Friedman again offered complex concepts in appealingly dramatic terms in 1989's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, his distillation of the new global economy. He sets up the contrast between the old, Cold War system ("sumo wrestling") and the new globalization system (the 100-meter dash). Another part of why Friedman can be so readable is that he sometimes makes it seem as if his life is one big kaffeeklatsch with the scholars and decision makers of the world. In a chapter from The Lexus and the Olive Tree, he mentions a comment made by a friend who is also "the leading political columnist in Jordan." The day after seeing this friend, Friedman writes, "I happen to go to Israel and meet with Jacob Frenkel, then governor of Israel's Central Bank and a University of Chicago-trained economist." Thus another illustrative point is made. Friedman frames the world not just as he sees it, but also includes the perspective of the many citizens he has made it a point to include in the dialogue.

In 2002, Friedman won a third Pulitzer for his writing in the New York Times, and the demand for his perspicacity post-September 11 makes the release of Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 almost a foregone conclusion. Breaking the book into before, during, and after, Friedman presents what he calls a "word album" of America's response to the tragedy. It is undeniably a changed world, and Friedman is undeniably the man to help readers make sense of it.

Good To Know

Friedman lives with his wife Ann and daughters Orly and Natalie in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington.

In high school, Friedman became "insufferable" in his obsession with Israel, he says. He wrote in From Beirut to Jersualem: "When the Syrians arrested thirteen Jews in Damascus, I wore a button for weeks that said Free the Damascus 13, which most of my high-school classmates thought referred to an underground offshoot of the Chicago 7. I recall my mother saying to me gently, 'Is that really necessary?' when I put the button on one Sunday morning to wear to our country-club brunch."

As the chief diplomatic correspondent for the New York Times from 1989 to 1992, Friedman logged some 500,000 miles following Secretary of State James Baker and chronicling the end of the Cold War.

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    1. Hometown:
      Washington, D.C. area
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 20, 1953
    2. Place of Birth:
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Mediterranean Studies, Brandeis University, 1975; M.A. in Modern Middle East Studies, Oxford University, 1978
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

ONE

Where Birds Don’t Fly

"German engineering, Swiss innovation, American nothing."

Advertising slogan used on a billboard in South Africa by Daimler to promote its Smart "forfour" compact car

In June 2004, I was visiting London with my daughter Orly, and one evening we went to see the play Billy Elliot at a theater near Victoria Station. During intermission, I was standing up, stretching my legs in the aisle next to my seat, when a stranger approached and asked me, “Are you Mr. Friedman?” When I nodded yes, he introduced himself: “My name is Emad Tinawi. I am a Syrian-American working for Booz Allen," the consulting firm. Tinawi said that while he disagreed with some of the columns I had written, particularly on the Middle East, there was one column he especially liked and still kept.

“Which one?” I asked with great curiosity.

“The one called ‘Where Birds Don’t Fly,’" he said. For a moment, I was stumped. I remembered writing that headline, but I couldn’t remember the column or the dateline. Then he reminded me: It was about the newpost-9/11U.S. consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. For years, the U.S. consulate in Istanbul was headquartered in the Palazzo Corpi, a grand and distinctive old building in the heart of the city’s bustling business district, jammed between the bazaars, the domed mosques, and the jumble of Ottoman and modern architecture. Built in 1882, and bought by the U.S. government twenty-five years later, Palazzo Corpi was bordered on three sides by narrow streets and was thoroughly woven into the fabric of Istanbul life. It was an easy place for Turks to get a visa, to peruse the library, or to engage with an American diplomat.

But as part of the general security upgrade for U.S. embassies and consulates in the post-9/11 world, it was decided to close the consulate at Palazzo Corpi, and in June 2003 a new U.S. consulate was opened in

Istinye, an outlying district about twelve miles away from the center of the city. “The new 22-acre facilitynearly 15 times as big as the old consulatewas built on a solid rock hill,” a Federal Times article reported (April 25, 2005), adding that “State now requires buildings to have protective walls that are at least 100 feet away from embassies and consulates. Those walls and barriers also must protect against explosions and ramming attacks from vehicles, and they must be difficult to climb. Guard booths are placed at the perimeter of facilities, and windows and doors are bulletproof and resist forced entries. The new buildings are also strong enough to resist most earthquakes and bombs.”

They are also strong enough to deter most visitors, friends, and allies. In fact, when I first set eyes on the new consulate in 2005, what struck me most was how much it looked like a maximum-security prisonwithout the charm. All that was missing was a moat filled with alligators and a sign that said in big red letters: “Attention! You are now approaching the U.S. consulate in Istanbul. Any sudden movements and you will be shot without warning. all visitors welcome.”

They could have filmed the Turkish prison movie Midnight Express there.

But here’s a hard truth: Some U.S. diplomats are probably alive today thanks to this fortress. Because on November 20, 2003, as President George W. Bush was in London meeting with then prime minister Tony Blair, and about six months after the new U.S. consulate in Istanbul had been opened, Turkish Muslim terrorists detonated truck bombs at the HSBC bank and the British consulate in Istanbul, killing thirty people, including Britain’s consul general, and wounding at least four hundred others. The bomb-ravaged British mission was just a short walk from the Palazzo Corpi.

One of the terrorists captured after the attack reportedly told Turkish police that his group had wanted to blow up the new U.S. consulate, but when they checked out the facility in Istinye, they found it impregnable. A senior U.S. diplomat in Istanbul told me more of the story: According to Turkish security officials, the terrorist said the new U.S. consulate was so secure, “they don’t let birds fly” there. I never forgot that image: It was so well guarded they don’t even let birds fly there . . . (That point was reinforced on July 9, 2008, when Turkish police outside the consulate killed three terrorists apparently trying to breach its walls.)

Tinawi and I swapped impressions about the corrosive impact such security restrictions were having on foreigners’ perceptions of America and on America’s perceptions of itself. As an Arab-American, he was clearly bothered by this, and he could tell from my column that I was too. Because a place where birds don’t fly is a place where people don’t mix, ideas don’t get sparked, friendships don’t get forged, stereotypes don’t get broken, collaboration doesn’t happen, trust doesn’t get built, and freedom doesn’t ring. That is not the kind of place we want America to be. That is not the kind of place we can afford America to be. An America living in a defensive crouch cannot fully tap the vast rivers of

idealism, innovation, volunteerism, and philanthropy that still flow through our nation. And it cannot play the vital role it has long played for the rest of the worldas a beacon of hope and the country that can always be counted on to lead the world in response to whatever is the most important challenge of the day. We need that Americaand we need to be that America—more than ever today.

This is a book about why.

The core argument is very simple: America has a problem and the world has a problem. America’s problem is that it has lost its way in recent yearspartly because of 9/11 and partly because of the bad habits that we have let build up over the last three decades, bad habits that have weakened our society’s ability and willingness to take on big challenges. The world also has a problem: It is getting hot, flat, and crowded. That is, global warming, the stunning rise of middle classes all over the world, and rapid population growth have converged in a way that could make our planet dangerously unstable. In particular, the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change. How we address these interwoven global trends will determine a lot about the quality of life on earth in the twenty-first century.

I am convinced that the best way for America to solve its big problem the best way for America to get its “groove” back is for us to take the lead in solving the world’s big problem. In a world that is getting hot, flat, and crowded, the task of creating the tools, systems, energy sources, and ethics that will allow the planet to grow in cleaner, more sustainable ways is going to be the biggest challenge of our lifetime. But this challenge is actually an opportunity for America. If we take it on, it will revive America at home, reconnect America abroad, and retool America for tomorrow. America is always at its most powerful and most influential when it is combining innovation and inspiration, wealth-building and dignity-building, the quest for big profits and the tackling of big problems. When we do just one, we are less than the sum of our parts.

When we do both, we are greater than the sum of our partsmuch greater.

But it’s not just an opportunity, either: it’s also a test. It’s a test of whether we are able and willing to lead. Whether you love us or hate us, whether you believe in American power or you don’t, the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded has created a challenge so daunting that it is impossible to imagine a meaningful solution without America really stepping up. “We are either going to be losers or heroesthere’s no room anymore for anything in between,” says Rob Watson, CEO of EcoTech International and one of the best environmental minds in America.

Yes, either we are going to rise to the level of leadership, innovation, and collaboration that is required, or everybody is going to losebig. Just coasting along and doing the same old things is not an option any longer. We need a whole new approach. As they say in Texas: “If all you ever do is all you’ve ever done, then all you’ll ever get is all you ever got.”The simple name for the new project I am proposing is “Code Green.” What “red” was to America in the 1950s and 1960sa symbol of the overarching Communist threat, the symbol that was used to mobilize our country to build up its military, its industrial base, its highways, its railroads, ports, and airports, its educational institutions, and its scientific capabilities to lead the world in defense of freedom we need "green” to be for today’s America.

Unfortunately, after 9/11, instead of replacing red with green, President George W. Bush replaced red with “Code Red” and all the other crazy colors of the Department of Homeland Security’s warning system. It’s time to scrap them all and move to Code Green. Of course, I am not calling for a return to anti-Communist witch hunts and McCarthyismjust to the seriousness and determination to build a society that can face the overarching threat of our day. For me, going Code Green means making America the World’s leader in innovating clean power and energy-efficiency systems and inspiring an ethic of conservation toward the natural world, which is increasingly imperiled. We’re going to need both massive breakthroughs in clean power and a deeper respect for the world’s forests, oceans, and biodiversity hot spots if we’re going to thrive in this new age.

The first half of this book is a diagnosis of the unique energy, climate, and biodiversity challenges the world faces. The second half is an argument about how we can meet those challenges. I would be less than truthful, though, if I said I think America, as it operates today, is ready for this mission. We are not. Right now, we don’t have the focus and persistence to take on something really big, where the benefits play out over the long term. But I believe that all that could change with the right leadership local, state, and federalproperly framing how much we have to gain by rising to this moment and how much we have to lose by failing to do so. Americans intuit that we’re on the wrong track and that we need a course correction, and fast. Indeed, when I think of our situation, I am reminded of the movie The Leopard, based on the novel of the same name by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. It is set in nineteenth-century Italy, at a time of enormous social, political, and economic turmoil. The main character is the Sicilian prince Don Fabrizio of Salina (played by Burt Lancaster). Don Fabrizio understands that he and his family will have to adapt if they want the House of Salina to retain its leadership in a new era, where social forces from below are challenging the traditional power elites. Nevertheless, Prince Salina is bitter and uncompromising“We were the leopards, the lions; those who take our place will be jackals and sheep.”The wisest advice he gets comes from his nephew Tancredi (played by Alain Delon), who marries a wealthy shopkeeper’s daughter from the new moneyed middle class, and along the way cautions his uncle: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.”And so it is with America. The era we are entering will be one of enormous social, political, and economic changedriven in large part from above, from the sky, from Mother Nature. If we want things to stay as they arethat is, if we want to maintain our technological, economic, and moral leadership and a habitable planet, rich with flora and fauna, leopards and lions, and human communities that can grow in a sustainable waythings will have to change around here, and fast.

Excerpted from Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How It Can Renew America by Thomas L Friedman

Copyright © 2008 by Thomas L. Friedman

Published in September 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Where We Are

1 Where Birds Don't Fly 3

2 Today's Date: 1 E.C.E. Today's Weather: Hot, Flat, and Crowded 26

Pt. II How We Got Here

3 Our Carbon Copies (or, Too Many Americans) 53

4 Fill'Er Up with Dictators 77

5 Global Weirding 111

6 The Age of Noah 140

7 Energy Poverty 154

8 Green Is the New Red, White, and Blue 170

Pt. III How We Move Forward

9 205 Easy Ways to Save the Earth 203

10 The Energy Internet: When IT Meets ET 217

11 The Stone Age Didn't End Because We Ran Out of Stones 241

12 If It Isn't Boring, It Isn't Green 267

13 A Million Noahs, a Million Arks 297

14 Outgreening al-Qaeda (or, Buy One, Get Four Free) 317

Pt. IV China

15 Can Red China Become Green China? 343

Pt. V America

16 China for a Day (but Not for Two) 371

17 A Democratic China, or a Banana Republic? 395

Acknowledgments 415

Index 423

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Reading Group Guide

Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss chapter one's title, "Where Birds Don't Fly," and the story behind it. How has this bunker mentality affected America's role as an agent for positive change in the global arena?

2. In what ways did Hot, Flat, and Crowded help you understand the history of the energy crisis and high fuel prices, from Carter-era progressivism through the Reagan era and beyond? What aspects of this history surprised you the most?

3. Friedman begins by outlining three trends that capture diverse American attitudes toward energy consumption, climate change, and biodiversity: the "dumb as we wanna be" approach, found even among the political elite; the "subprime nation" mentality of borrowing our way to prosperity; and the optimism of innovators who want to do what's right. Which attitude prevails in your community?

4. Discuss the factors that have shaped the Energy-Climate Era: overcrowding due to population growth and longevity, the flattening of the world due to the rise of personal computers and the Internet, the fall of the Soviet Union, and other developments. How have these factors affected America economically, politically, and otherwise?

5. Chapter two makes the distinction between "fuels from hell" and "fuels from heaven." How is your life fueled by both categories? What would it take to transition completely to "fuels from heaven"?

6. In your community, who has the most obvious case of affluenza? How would these groups fare under Chinese capitalism? Do you agree with Friedman's prediction that Chinese capitalism will signal the death of the European welfare state? What other repercussions will rising affluence within the Chinese middle class be likely to have?

7. Friedman describes his visit to an ultra-green Wal-Mart in McKinney, Texas, and the highly unecological urban sprawl he had to ride through to get there (chapter three). In what way is this a microcosm of America's current approach to Code Green?

8. Friedman's first law of petropolitics states that as the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down. Why is this so often true? Did this principle apply to prosperity for American oil companies in the early twentieth century? What are the ramifications of Friedman's second law of petropolitics, "You cannot be either an effective foreign policy realist or an effective democracy-promoting idealist without also being an effective energy-saving environmentalist"?

9. In chapter five, Friedman describes the controversy that ensued when meteorologist Heidi Cullen tried to educate her audience about global warming. What is the best way to inform those who tune out such messages, which they believe are tantamount to "politicizing the weather"?

10. What did you discover about the importance of biodiversity by reading Hot, Flat, and Crowded? Why do the efforts of groups such as Conservation International receive less attention than climate-change studies, though Friedman asserts that they are equally crucial?

11. Discuss the proposal in chapter seven that ending "energy poverty" is a key to healing third-world populations, particularly in Africa. What is the best way to balance the need for energy in these regions with the destructive effects of power-supply emissions? What is the best way to overcome the political instability that has stymied the growth of power grids in these locales?

12. At the heart of Friedman's argument is the notion that market demands drive innovation. What would it take to transform America's perception so that the Code Green message is seen as a key to prosperity? How has the image of environmentalism changed during your lifetime?

13. Friedman decries halfhearted attempts at environmental change, comparing them to a party rather than a revolution. At your workplace, in your neighborhood, and within your circle of friends, is it fashionable to go green? Is it taken seriously enough to become a bona fide movement, and then a revolution, where you live?

14. Chapter nine probes the political hurdles that have to be surmounted in order to effect meaningful ecological change. In the book's concluding passages, Friedman even admits to admiring the efficiency with which Chinese autocrats can enact immediate change. What should the role of government be in the face of a looming ecological crisis? How much government control is too much? Could a politician get elected in America by proposing higher fuel taxes and other disincentives for energy consumption?

15. Discuss chapter ten's economic principle that REEFIGDCPEERPC is less than TTCOBCOG (Renewable Energy Ecosystem for Innovating, Generating, and Deploying Clean Power, Energy Efficiency, Resource Productivity, and Conservation is less than the True Cost of Burning Coal, Oil, and Gas). How does this apply to your world? Why has America been slow to believe that REEFIGDCPEERPC is affordable?

16. Are any of the ideas described in Friedman's "futuristic" scenario (such as the Smart Black Box, smart grids, RESUs instead of cars, and energy costs that vary according to time of day) already in the works in your state?

17. Chapter eleven includes a proposal that the alternative-energy movement needs an economic bubble, similar to the one that poured staggering amounts of venture capital into the dot-com industry. In your opinion, why hasn't this happened yet?

18. Friedman describes a number of innovators and persuaders who have made significant inroads in improving conservation efforts, including an Indonesian imam who was persuaded to acknowledge river pollution, New York taxi drivers who now praise hybrid vehicles, and the U.S. military's determination to "outgreen" the enemy. What do these agents of change have in common? What should green revolutionaries learn from these experiences?

19. One of Friedman's conclusions is that "it is much more important to change your leaders than your lightbulbs." How will this play out in upcoming elections at all levels, local, state, and federal? What will the legacy of those elected officials be? How can you help to lead the Code Green revolution?

20. How has the world changed since the publication of Friedman's earlier books? How is the world now experiencing the effects of situations he covered throughout the 1990s? What human impulses (for example, materialism, benevolence) almost form a theme throughout all his books?
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 124 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 124 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2009

    This guy lives in a 114,000!!! square feet mansion and gives us lessons!

    This guys is what one can call a total fake, he lives in an obscene huge mansion, Not green, he is a lobbyist for the GOP and AIPAC, he promoted the war in Iraq, justifies war crimes all over the world, drives a NON green car, and all he does in this book is propaganda things that he does not practice at all!<BR/>Matt Taibbi wrote and article, google it talking how this guy has become a converted "green" guy but yet his actions are nowhere to be seen, Besides this his own wife is the owner of thousands of Malls around the globe and the US, super polluting machines! And they destroyed pristine lands in order to build more malls just last year, this guy is using green as a money making machine! shame on him he should eat less as well

    17 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2008

    Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America

    The World is Flat opened our eyes to the rise of technologies like high-speed Internet and the knocking down of barriers both literal (the Berlin Wall) and figurative (the opening of China's economy to free trade). As Friedman notes new technologies, political paradigm shifts and, more importantly, innovative individuals at the helms of startups have leveled the playing field in the global economy. Now things are getting worse, and the clock is ticking. Americans have squandered most of the goodwill extended since 9/11, writes Friedman, and in the years of the Bush administration no thought has been given to what 9/12 is supposed to look like. The climate is changing, but the administration has spent most of its tenure denying it and insisting on a particularist view that we deserve to be profligate because we're Americans. Our political blindness and ignorance vis-a-vis other nations now butts up against the world's instability and, Friedman continues, 'the convergence of hot, flat, and crowded is tightening energy supplies, intensifying the extinction of plants and animals, deepening energy poverty, strengthening petrodictatorship, and accelerating climate change.'

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    Stick to what you know

    Friedman is knowledgeable about the middle east and should stick to that subject. When he ventures 'off the farm' to energy and politics his bias and hatred of George Bush colors his judgement and he becomes a 'raving preacher of doom'.

    9 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2008

    A Doable, Win-Win Plan

    64 of 67 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars A Doable Win-Win Plan, September 8, 2008 By Norma Lehmeierhartie (New York, USA) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME) In Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America, Thomas Friedman presents an irresistible opportunity for Americans--one that can save the planet and increase our wealth. The world is flat because of globalization--which is good, as ideas and practices can spread effectively. What is not so good is that our world population is exploding and countries like India and China are seeing an increase in wealth, which puts more strain on the world's resources and increases global warming. Friedman begins the book with a discussion of how America has changed post 9/11. He uses the example of the US consulate built in 1882 in Istanbul. The consulate was built in the heart of the city: 'it was an easy place for Turks to get a VISA, to peruse the library or to engage with an American diplomat.' Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the building was closed and a nearly impenetrable consulate was built. This all but stopped visitors from visiting. Although the new building does protect against attacks, it isolates Americans and impacts on how we are viewed and how we see ourselves. Friedman writes that he wrote the book because: 'An American living in a defensive crouch cannot fully tap the vast rivers of idealism, innovation, volunteerism, and philanthropy that still flow through our nation. And it cannot play the vital role it has long played for the rest of the world--as a beacon of hope and the country that we can always be counted on to lead the world in response to whatever is the most important challenge of the day.' That challenge is global warming. He proposes we begin a massive project called 'code green.' Friedman identifies three broad trends in our society: 1. The post 9/11 building of walls around us to protect Americans from foreigners. 2. Since the 1980's, politicians acting 'dumb as we wanna be,' meaning we will get to fixing the roads, global warming and other issues when we get around to it. This includes politicians like Bush 'protecting us' from gas taxes and other unpleasantries to keep our standard of living, or the fact that we are in war and don't have to make any sacrifices (save the soldier's lives.) 3. Nation building at home. This is the one good trend Friedman sees and he writes about the plethora of innovative, imaginative souls who devote their energy to finding green solutions. Friedman considers what is now called the green movement to be more like a green party. He cites several 'green' books that include the words 'easy' or 'lazy' in the titles. The authors write books where: 'everyone is a winner, nobody gets hurt and nobody has to do anything hard.' I have read several of these books and agree--much of the advice is fluff. However, I do see the recent deluge of books and articles on sustainability as changing the consciousness and buying habits of the country. Many people who begin by making 'painless changes' get serious about the environment and one or two of them may be the next inventor of the solar-run car. I also believe that when millions cut down on the use of plastic and other nonrenewable resources, that it does make an environmental difference. The increase in population and wealth and buying power all tax our already limited supply of petroleum, coal and gas--all substances that cause global warming and pollute our planet. Even if you didn't 'believe' in global warming, it is a fact that petroleum--now needed in unprecedented amounts--is rapidly becoming an increasingly difficult product to procure. If you think spending $5.00 a gallon for gas for your car is a hardship, that price will be considered nothing in a few years. Folks, we are running out of time and oil. Friedman gets that Americans can use the diminishing supply in no

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2008

    Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution- and How It Can Renew America

    Hot, Flat and Crowded is great, just like Friedman's previous book. As in The World Is Flat, he explains a new era--the Energy-Climate era--through an illuminating account of recent events. He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the Internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street. But they have not gone very far down Main Street the much-touted 'green revolution' has hardly begun. With all that in mind, Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both transformative and disruptive and he explains why America must lead this revolution--with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation. Hot, Flat, and Crowded is classic Thomas L. Friedman--fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the world we live in today. Highly recommended. People who like business books will also enjoy the other book I read this week: Squawk!: How to Stop Making Noise and Start Getting Results. It's been a big boon to my productivity as a manager already.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2009

    Grinds on you

    I got it after the first few chapters. I find it insulting when any author say if you don't do something a certain way you must be either not 'enlightened' or 'uninformed'. And his pure science leaves something to be desired. When he states that the measurement of CO2 in the air has incresed every year since 1750, one has to wonder how they measured CO2 in 1750 ...or 1850...or 1950. And when they give reasons on why the planet is getting hotter, they convienently leave out that the sun is going thru a stage of getting hotter (sunspot activity)--but is now getting cooler. Hmmm, I wonder why they left out the fact that China just went thru 2 of its coldest winters on record. Does anybody take into consideration that instumentation is much more precise than it was a hundred hears ago. Just forty years ago you measured tempurature by 'looking ' at a thrmometer--no digital. Garbage!

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    Should have been edited for better emphasis

    Friedman explains how global warming, a fast growing population, and an astonishing expansion of the world's middle classes are creating a planet that is 'hot, flat, and crowded.' The dangers posed by these changes are clear: global warning, energy and natural resources will be scarce, petrodictatorships will flourish, energy poverty, and biodiversity loss, and extinction of animal species. In just a few years--2012--according to Friedman, it will be too late to fix things. The US must step up to the plate and take the lead in a worldwide effort to replace our wasteful, inefficient energy practices with a strategy for clean and efficient energy, at the same time we start a massive plan of conservation that the author calls: 'Plan Green.' Not only it is a great challenge, but also a great opportunity and one America can't afford to miss. Not only is American leadership the key to the healing of the earth it is also our best strategy for the renewal of our country. Hot Flat, and Crowded is a classic book: fearless, incisive, forward-looking, and rich in surprising common sense about the challenges--and promises--for a better future. My only concern with the book is that it should have been edited for better emphasis. After a while he just kept repeating himself.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This book irked my nerves,

    although this book might appeal to some it did not appeal to me. I disliked the book and just wanted to throw it across the room. Not only did i dislike the book the title also reminded me of a teens vajayjay. Take my advice and do not read this book.

    4 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    Excellent explanation about the demographics of the world and Friedman's view about where we are headed. With the world becoming Hot, Flat and Crowded, Friedman explains what he thinks that we need to do in order to avert global catastrophe!

    Even though I don't believe all of the "facts" in the book and I am sceptical about certain of Friedman's conclusions, the book is very intellectually stimulating and should be required reading for every American!

    Friedman very competantly explains how the world is becoming Hot (global warming), Flat (economic parity) and Crowded (population explosion). His historical perspectives are very good and help the laymen to understand these core issues.

    It is difficult for anyone to really know with certainty where we are headed with global climate change. Friedmans climate change conclusions are sobering and very well could be correct. However, Friedman does not give a balanced appraisal of the global warming debate. In a few places he uses emotionally charged arguements to support his conclusions (instead of sound scientific facts)about climate change. Friedman almost completely ignores the views of all climate scientists and considerable scientific information that might in anyway be contrary to his views. Although his global warming conclusions may indeed be correct, Friedman looses some credibility by using (at times) intellectually disingenuous arguements.

    Friedmans vision of the future, clean energy, etc, etc is appealing. It would be difficult for most readers to argue with his vision. However, the devil is always in the details. I suspect that the United States lacks the political will to implement his plan. I also suspect that the real economic costs to implement Friedman's vision are more than he represents. If his conclusions about climate change are correct, then we may have no choice but to make considerable social and energy changes, whatever the cost. However, if Friedman's climate change conclusions are exaggerated, it might not behove us to ruin our economy to avert a non-existent environmental castastrophe.

    Climate change and energy are the compelling issues of our generation. Reading Friedman's provocative book is intellectually stimulating and certainly worth the time to read regardless of whether you agree with the conclusions reached by Friedman!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    Green is the new Red

    Just look at the people who push the green movement. Most or all of them have strong backgrounds in communist or Maoist beliefs. The green movement is more about transferring wealth than saving the planet. If it were about saving the planet, then every true believer in the movement would be svelte vegans who walk from speech to speech instead of the overweight, meat-eating, private jet fliers that they are.

    Add in the fact that the science behind the green movement, that increasing CO2 levels cause global warming, is fundamentally wrong since CO2 levels have been rising for the past decade while global temperatures have fallen and you have what religious skeptics call a religion. According to religious skeptics, religions are based on myth and belief in something that cannot logically be true given evidence to the contrary.

    I didn't read this book the first time it was released and I certainly won't be reading it this time.

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2009

    Don't waste your money

    Nothing new here--I would imagine most sophomore level environmental science majors could come up with something at least as compelling.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    What is credit history?

    Im an incoming ninth grader reading this book for my college level humam geography class. I am wondering if anybody could help me out and tell me what credit history is. Thank you!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2011

    One Star for Charity's Sake

    It's yesterday's book, and poorly wrtten. You won't find the issues of the day here; you'd never guess the US is broke, the EU on its last legs, international bureaucracies feathering their nests.
    There are the simple mistakes: e.g., on p. 179, Brazil's largest city is spelled two ways in three lines. There are sins of ommission: nowhere do we read of natural gas being a good and cheap replacement for gasoline, instead we get statist comments and stupid praise of ethenol. Junk science is big; we have global warming, we have hybrid cars, we have needs to radically expand government regulation of damn near everything.
    Finally, and most egregiously, we have calls for "revolutionary bureaucrats! Ever met one?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 6, 2009

    Outstanding, Realistic Book with Problems and Solutions

    I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in our environment, where we may be going, what the problems are, and some realistic ways that problems can be addressed. Thomas Friedman uses his extensive experience in the mideast as well as many other countries to discuss how this is a worldwide issue and how this needs to be addressed in a worldwide manner.

    The only improvement might be that he probably could have made his points quicker, but he set the stage for all points with facts and input from various experts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    Hot, Flat and Crowded gives an overall picture of the impact of science and technology and its impact on critical problems facing us on a global scale in the near future. A must read for all, including members of the National Academies.

    As am endowed professor at a top 50 research university and an internationally recognized research scientist, I strongly recommend Thomas Friedman's book. It reliably accurate, clearly written and interesting to read. It give a glimpse into the future and points out sensible and relatively simple thing we can already do to make the US economically competitive and deal with the present and real threat of global warming. I am buying copies and giving them to my friends.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2008

    Hot, Flat, and Crowded

    Thomas Friedman¿s Hot, Flat, and Crowded raises awareness to the worlds problem of global warming, a rise of the middle classes, and rapid population growth. He does an excellent job of showing the connection of all three issues. He addresses these controversial issues with well reasoned viewpoints and facts. It is an easy and interesting read. After completion of the book, I found myself motivated to want to make a difference, and work to change the ways we live to create a healthier and more stable environment. It is important that we change to a greener way of life so that not only will we be able to live in the world we were born into, but also generations to come.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Hsh

    :3

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2014

    Bailey

    "I do trust you."

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  • Posted September 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Important Look at Our Possible Future Many people would rather

    Important Look at Our Possible Future

    Many people would rather have a root canal than read a non-fiction book about economics, especially one that doesn't paint a glowing picture of the future.

    Hot - the result of global climate change. Flat - the world is not becoming literally flat, of course, but geographical features that once assured isolation, like mountains and oceans, are ever more easily surmounted. Crowded - seven billion people and growing.

    If you are one of many who've recently sweltered through an unusually hot spring, summer, or fall, consider how much less pleasant it will be if/when our ancient, outdated power grid can't support all our electrical needs, and we have more and more rolling blackouts, with no air conditioning or even ceiling fans to move air around.

    Yes, that is the direction we are headed. Sounds grim, and it could be, but there are plenty of ways that particular future can be averted.

    It starts out quoting The Onion, about American's propensity to buy cheaply made crap from China. Crap that quickly breaks and thus must be replaced, and being Americans, we can't seem to stop ourselves from consuming even more crap.

    The book doesn't just present arguments and statistics, but uses lots of anecdotes to illustrate and drive the points home. The first half of the book presents the problem; the second half offers solutions. The style is easy to read, and the arguments are compelling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2013

    The Big Green Fraud, by Them REALLY Filthy Rich Folks. Because the nonstop war machine hasn't bankrupted the FOOLS blindly supporting it ENOUGH yet.

    I'm not going to bother reading yet ANOTHER piece of "Green" propaganda. You would not waste your time away from recycling or gardening if you REALLY paid attention to the fact that the GREEN in this movement is representing MONEY & most assuredly~ NOT the flora OR the , inconsiderate fauna bovine cloud FARTS in the atmosphere. Nosir. There is climate change on this here planet, there is ALSO~hold on to yer hat~a pretty darn good history of the universe that THIS & the entirety of space actually, really, unbeleivably CHANGE!!!!! Over & over, hurtling through time, against ALL odds, it seems to RECOVER all by it's damned self! According to the SEND ME YER GREEN OR WE ARE ALL DOOMED guys, "climate change" {which in Swahili means "my wallet only contains change!"} Is a PERFECT ruse to guilt people into supporting your nothing but honest {cough}…totally really cares about mothet earth, current politician, and the various others who are profitting off of making you do stuff like ditching incandescent bulbs - to, um, replace them with HIGHLY expensive new age of bs bulbs that if GOD FORBID you bust one you better have HAZMAT on 911 ready~lest you seriously & permanently contaminate all living things around . INCLUDING , lord have mercy ~ factory farms, adding THAT poisin to cow farts!. OH! The humanity! I think I just figured out why 1000s of birds fall dead at yer feet sometimes. BLAST that GREEN cloud of cow flatulence with the cherry red bag of on top of extreme toxins! I think really, if you want to help save this highly polluted earth from doom, you gotta do some real simple stuff. Like recycle. Like DO NOT THROW CIGARETTE BUTTS ALL OVER HELL AND HIGH WATER GOD THAT IS SO DISGUSTING ALREADY, bend over & pick up trash that some clueless clod threw down & show THAT example of caring enough to want to make things much better regardless of who might think yer a nut. Or a hippy. How about making this planet safe for all of us by throwing politicians in jail for using depleted uranium on innocent people? By not allowing ANY MORE WARS! OR, by allowing people here to be employed again in trades of construction or artisans, things we USED to do AND BE PROUD of. Or, throwing ALL corrupted politicians displaying a love of power over the poor & a love for amassing more ill gotten gains than a body could EVER hope to spend, let alone need, in jail for crimes so grievous that we can't seem to "get" how bad we need to stop allowing this behavior & attitude of "to big to jail". We CIVILIANS are never to big to jail, or be molested by TSA! And while we are thinking pollution is SO bad we are killing the earth, is there a movement in this country to abolish the invasive radiation that we have been exposed to in airports for the last TWELVE YEARS? Politicians are SUPPOSED to be OUR employees. We have forgotten this fact in America. The only green in Washington that matters, or really, in this NewWorldOrder that we are fast letting take over, is MONEY. The GREEN MOVEMENT IS AS HONEST AS MAINSTREAM NEWS. Choose to go along with that ruse , that abomination, & your people 50 -100 years from now will be asking what we asked after WWII & operation paperclip, Korea ,Vietnam, And most unexplainable of all, 911. Why didn't we do a THING to wake from the matrix of lies & corruption & save this country, let alone the world, from unbridled greed which led to it's destruction? GLOBAL WARMING MONEY IS AS PROFITABLE AS THE WAR MACHINE. Think about it.

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