Written on May 11th, 2010


Aired 05/09/10

Could the consequences of the Gulf oil spill end up as catastrophic as Chernobyl?

Just because we have the power, the technological know how, and the financial incentive to tap into a huge and powerful stream of crude oil a mile under the ocean, and pull that oil up through that ocean to the surface - does that in any way mean we should do it? 
How is it that we humans do such things? How is it that this society at this moment is willing to act with such hubris and such arrogance and ultimately so little wisdom.

Here we are engaged in a nearly ten year war in Afghanistan, a nearly eight year war in Iraq, a collapse of our financial systems here and abroad, in which the life's work of millions of families has been wiped out, and where money that could have been used to deal with enormous problems we face around the globe has basically gone to conspicuous consumption of a small rapacious elite and otherwise disappeared.

Thomas Homer Dixon has written a couple of books one entitled THE INGENUITY GAP in which he asks whether we have the ingenuity to solve the problems created by our ingenuity. In that book he basically was hopeful that we do. In his next book THE UPSIDE OF DOWN, he had become a bit more cautious, and predicted that even if we do, we were unlikely to turn things around until we crashed. Are we now witnessing and participating in that crash?

In AMANDA LITTLE'S new book, POWER TRIP, she travels thousands of miles looking at the past and future of energy and she ends up optimistic. I'm going to ask her to share what she's learned and why she feels that way.