Ten participants were thoroughly
engrossed and fascinated with the Hot, Flat and Crowded discussion themes
centering on the need for new and cheaper energy alternatives and the need for
national renewal discussed in Friedman’s book.
Kathy Bray led the Ardenwood Discussion.
The book talk took place at
Fremont’s Ardenwood School and was sponsored by the school’s PTA.
It was held from 7 to 8:00 p.m. on March 29.
Some Ardenwood parents attended
the get-together along with AAUW Fremont branch members.
The school’s principal, Paula Rugg, was an active participant in the discussion.
AAUW’s Kathy Bray very
capably led the discussion and stimulated a flood of lively debate and conversation.
Kathy began the discussion
session by asking attendees to explain what the Hot, Flat and Crowded
meant in the title.
Here are some of the perspectives
from members and parents that came up during the session:
- Population growth was a subject of much discussion. Some felt
that growth, while becoming a challenge, was also a sign that medical
breakthroughs allowed people to live longer.
- Many felt, however, that the next generation would not live as long as
the current generation given the type of diet young people indulge in and the
growing number of asthma sufferers, ADD and high cholesterol as a result of diet.
- The word “flat” refers to the rise of the middle class and
some said that it was technology that helped raise the standard of living around the world.
- There was discussion of Friedman’s postulate that as fuel prices rise
democracy in the fuel-rich countries diminishes. Someone mentioned
that Friedman contends that the collapse of the Soviet Union was due to the
fact that oil prices dropped.
- Eating locally was applauded by the group since it cost so much in energy
to get food from distant shores to us.
- We discussed the state of innovation and the economy in America.
One participant felt that we should bring back manufacturing to California –
it would bolster the economy appreciably. Another added that
California’s real strength was innovation and introducing exciting new
ideas and products, and that was the way to renew the economy – especially
ideas of clean technology which is what Friedman is touting in his book.
- Finally, Kathy Bray handed out a discussion sheet that asked the audience
to fill out what we are doing now to be green, what we should commit to do
in the future, and what we think national leadership should do. Some
mentioned buying a hybrid car, others said they would eat more food locally
or vote for a green politician. Many felt leadership should put
more taxes on gasoline and use that money to find alternative sources.
Some felt we should put more money into R & D to realize Friedman’s dream.
Less taxes came up and rewards for energy efficient behaviors were also mentioned.
All in all, many left determined
to do something, and said the book’s ideas made them realize how important
these ideas are for our country and our way of life.