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Green technologies needed to help boost Earth's dwindling natural recourses

Dave Masko's picture

The world is facing an "unprecedented crisis of resource depletion" - a crisis that could mean more war, states a world security expert who’s pushing for more green technologies to aid mankind.

The polar ice caps have completely melted, and the sea level has risen hundreds of meters, covering all the land, as described in the post-apocalyptic 1995 film “Waterworld” that’s now viewed by some experts as what’s likely to come unless green technologies are developed. “With all the planet’s resource deposits rapidly approaching exhaustion,” writes famed author Michael T. Klare in his new book “The Race for What’s Left: The Global Scramble for the World’s Last Resources” the only way out - so as to not risk more world war - is to “alter our consumption patterns altogether." In turn, this famed world thinker thinks the crucial task at hand is for America to be able to develop new green technologies that Klare describes as “the greatest challenge of the coming century.” Thus, this author of the bestseller “Resource Wars and Rising Powers,” and the director of the famed Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, explains in his new book that man must either develop new green technologies or fight another round of devastating resource wars.

Green-technology huge overseas, but not yet in America

At the same time, Klare and others who work in the field of world security studies think America’s youth brainpower may be fully linked into cyberspace, but other than using technology for their own amusement, there’s little to show from America in terms of serious green-technology development.

Thus, Klare writes about America's rivals in China, India and Germany that are jumping on this opportunity to hone green-technology for the good of their country’s survival in a world that’s simply gone to hell in a hand-basket in terms of capturing the right balance for their futures.

Thus, experts think it’s fine and dandy that students are using computers in the classroom at America’s high school and colleges, but Klare and other strategic thinkers ask what does it mean when America’s youth is more or less just amusing itself to death with technology when these “wired students” have yet to develop any real innovations in green-technology beyond what’s already been accomplish in recent years thanks to international technology sharing agreements.

For instance, an annual technology fair at Oregon's state university used to be about "new innovations" and students adapting new technology; but now those who volunteer for the event think "youth today are more interested in seeing stuff over inventing stuff," says a local retired teacher named George who add how "technology was promised to make our lives easier, but it's simply done the opposite and just created more ways and means to entertain us to death."

American youth "play" with tech, but can't innovate

“What we have here are students who spend most of their days as bystanders when it comes to green-technology, and not players or innovators,” explains George who’s a graduate of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, and an IT worker in Eugene who laments not doing more with his education to help solve green-technology challenges.

“I’m more or less a glorified manager of a computer system that simply moves information,” added George. “I’ve not achieved anything significant in my field, and I’m afraid that’s the same for many college students who get into computer tech for the money and not to improve our world,” he added during a recent Huliq interview at an education workshop in Corvallis that’s aimed at enlisting “green-technology thinkers and innovators for the forthcoming da Vinci Days Festival that’s sponsored by OSU.

In turn, the 23rd annual da Vinci Days Festival is set for July 20-22. The festival of art, science, and technology has received wide praise for its creativity, scale, and diverse programming. The festival is designed to illustrate the region's best by invoking the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci as its symbol. Each year a changing theme provides a thread of continuity through all da Vinci Days programming, which supporters such as George says brings forth “the rare opportunity that students interested in technology can actually produce something ‘green’ that’s not a video game or something that simply entertains.”

For instance, Klare writes on page 234 of his book that there’s “a current scramble for the world’s last remaining resources,” but this race to adapt is spelling doom for slow moving American youth who squander away their days “playing” online and in cyberspace while Klare says there’s “a grand reshuffling of the global power hierarchy” happening right now, and American’s brain trust is not yet a major player.

America needs more green-technology but innovators lacking

Klare writes on page 155 of his new book “The Race for What’s Left” that “many of today’s portable electronic devices – including cell phones, laptops and iPads – contain rare earth elements (REE), that include 17 different metallic substances with distinctive characteristics.”

In turn, this expert in the world’s “resource wars,” explains how “several rare earths are essential converters used to reduce automotive exhaust emissions.”

Klare also writes how “rare earths have received a boost from the growing popularity of energy-efficient ‘green” technologies," at a time when America’s green-tech future doesn't seem so bright.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there’s also a precautionary note about current so-called green technologies that look good on paper but have produced very little.

Who killed the electric car, and why?

For instance, the documentary about “what happened to the electric car,” concedes that given today’s technology, America could have had millions of electric cars but that’s not the case due to the massive amounts of money some in government and the private sector have made by remaining “important dependent on oil.”

Moreover, Klare writes on pages 181-182 of his new bestseller “The Race for What’s Left” that while many analysts and politicians have spoken optimistically about a “green” high-tech future in which America’s reliance on heavily polluting fuels will give way to new, environmentally friendly alternatives, “that scenario,” states Klare is akin to politicians claiming they are all for “green-technology” when, in fact, they are probably in the pocket of big corporations who want the country to remain dependent on foreign oil and other resources.

Thus, Klare writes “as we have seen, many advanced green technologies depend on relatively scarce, hard-to-acquire specialty elements whose future availability cannot be ensured. As time goes by,” he adds on page 182 of his new book, “struggles over the control of these materials could prove no less intense and significant than the past battles over petroleum, copper and other basic commodities of the Industrial Age.”

China views strategic green-technology as a good investment

While the world energy situation is grave, Klare writes on page 230 of his new book how “China, in particular, has made no secret of its determination to become a dominant force in the green-technology field.”

For instance, Klare writes on page 233 of his book “The Race for What’s Left” how “the countries that pursue the path of renewables will also find themselves increasingly free from supply disruptions and from foreign military entanglements cause by excessive reliance on imported materials.”

Thus, he states how “the strategic green-technology investments of the kind that the Chinese government is now undertaking” will eclipse the U.S. and other nations “for control of the world’s shrinking supplies of vital materials.”

In turn, Klare – speaking from the bully pulpit as both a defense correspondent for “The Nation,” and as director of the Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College – believes that the U.S. survival environmentally “can only be accomplished through a complete transformation of industrial society, with all finite resources systematically replaced by renewable alternatives.”

Moreover, on page 234, the last page of his new bestseller “The Race for What’s Left” that unless there’s real change in terms of green-technology innovations “it will likely end in war, widespread starvation, or a massive environmental catastrophe."

In turn, experts think the probable results will end up being something as weird and fictional as the film “Waterworld” when obtaining unpolluted and real water is like finding gold in a world out of balance and in need of technology that hopefully will do more than just amuse and entertain its youth.

Image source of the movie poster for the 1995 cult post-apocalyptic film “Waterworld” starring Kevin Costner as “The Mariner,” a drifter who sails the Earth is search of dry land. Photo courtesy Wikipedia

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