This section covers historical highlights of people in South, Central and North America. It exams what can be done to make the future better than the past, including how plentiful, reliable energy can help. Contributions are from people in all walks of life.
Internet stories, Gene Cramer: Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags, because plastic bags are not good for the environment. The woman apologized to the young girl and explained: Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. We were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. But, too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.
Mike Dunigan, John Shanahan - alumni, University of Notre Dame: Planet Earth is such a magnificent, unique place in the universe with amazing life from the tiniest creatures to the largest mammals, fish, plants and forests. Most special, humanity. Unfortunately, there is a lot of hatred and cruelty also. The story of Native Americans helping people in Europe in the 1800s as European-Americans were stealing and slowly killing Native Americans is very unusual. If the world is to make best use of nuclear power, it needs peace, opportunity for prosperity for all, good education and sound government. A hugely disproportionate distribution of all of the wealth of the planet (natural resources, prime land, monetary assets) in the hands of a few is not a long-term, workable solution.
David Allan Adams, U.S. Navy (Retired): Since the end of World War II, the U.S. armed forces have proved largely inept at exercising military power as an instrument of national policy. Retired Navy Admiral James Stavridis concedes that “we have become less successful over the past decades, beginning with the failures in Vietnam and continuing to the frustrations today in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The cause of these military struggles, Harlan Ullman claims, is an inability of the nation’s political leaders to think in coherent strategic terms. Similar problems exist with coherent energy planning.
Paul Driessen, senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org): What indeed was our Creator thinking, when he gathered those brilliant, classically educated farmers, merchants and tradesmen from all over Colonial America, perhaps giving them Divine Guidance to debate ideas and craft documents that declared independence from the then-most powerful nation on Earth, launched a novel, untested form of government – and birthed the bold notion that all men (and women) are created equal … at least as an ideal, at least eventually, at least after the long, bitter struggles of the Civil War and Abolition, Suffrage and Civil Rights Movements?
James E. Smith, Michelle Jamshidi, West Virginia University, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: Currently we spend our time on symptoms such as our shrinking abundance, real or perceived social inequities, minor environmental impacts, what others may or may not be doing, and our lack of personal prosperity. What we need are more entrepreneurs and innovators. They are the ones determined to break the cycle and truly find the answers to society’s problems.
George W. Bush, Former President of the United States of America: We are gathered in the cause of liberty at this unique moment. Great democracies face new and serious threats – yet seem to be losing confidence in their calling and competence. Economic, political and national security challenges proliferate, and they are made worse by the tendency to turn inward. The health of the democratic spirit itself is at issue. And the renewal of that spirit is the urgent task at hand. ... ... How do we begin to encourage a new, 21st century American consensus on behalf of democratic freedom and free markets? That’s the question I posed to scholars at the Bush Institute. Pete Wehner and Tom Melia have answered with their “The Spirit of Liberty: At Home, In The World,” a Call to Action paper.
Francis Mention: Retired partner in the New York law firm of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Host of blog, Manhattan Contrarian. We suffer from a stifling political and ideological orthodoxy. The central tenet of that orthodoxy is that all personal problems of the people in society can be solved by government taxing and spending. The obvious corollary is that since all problems can be solved by taxing and spending, therefore they must be solved by taxing and spending, and anyone who stands in the way of those solutions is immoral.
Paul Driessen, Senior Policy Analyst, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow: It’s amazing how we are bombarded by accusations that our technologies and living standards offend basic principles of fair trade, human rights, sustainable development and social justice. Except, it seems, when the technologies are electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar cells, cell phones and other gadgets so beloved by progressives and environmentalists. ... Where are the demands for justice, the student protests, sit-ins and boycotts against Nokia, Apple, Vestas and Tesla? Why are Fair Trade and Living Wage activists not speaking out on behalf of rare earth workers in Baotou, Inner Mongolia – or parents and children mining cobalt and lithium under even more horrendous conditions in Congo?
Dan Rodricks, Writer for The Baltimore Sun: Dear World: I know it looks pretty bad right now, but I think I speak for many of my fellow Americans when I say that the United States is better than its current president. --- So, world, look, we are still interested in you, despite how it looks right now. Sorry about the climate change thing. Sorry about the Russia thing. Sorry about the awkward handshakes and phone calls with your leaders. Sorry to put you through this.
Smedley Butler, Major General, Ret. USMC: In 1933 after his retirement, he gave this speech describing his experience in the U.S. Marine Corps following government orders on three continents. "I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service." Only when we put humanity and the whole world before individuals and nations will wars come to an end.