“Millions of people across the globe are suffering and dying from terrible scourges: international conflicts, diseases from polluted air, and extreme weather events. We need three solutions as soon as possible. Please help!” Hugh pleaded.
Goldie got right to work on the international conflicts problem. The war in Ukraine was the obvious first place to start. “That’s weird,” Goldie said to herself. “The West is trying to strangle Russia economically, yet it continues to purchase about a million barrels of Russian oil a day. Beyond that, over the decades we’re continually begging some of the biggest petro-dictatorships — Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia, in particular — to either increase OR decrease their oil production dependent on our economic needs at the time. We’re forever beholding to these governments that often instigate international conflicts.”
Next, Goldie looked into the diseases caused by air pollution. She learned the World Health Organization estimates 7 million people die annually from smoggy air. On top of that, each year nearly 2 million children suffer from asthma caused by motor vehicle emissions. Goldie just shook her head.
She was almost hesitant to look at the extreme weather data because she knew the human toll from wildfires, floods and storms was devastating and immeasurable. But then she also learned that the economic costs are skyrocketing. The Consumer Price Index adjusted cost of extreme weather events for all of the 1980s was $178 billion. Two decades later in the 2010s it more than quadrupled to $811billion. And the costs just keep rising!
Hugh returned the following week. “Did you find three solutions?” Hugh asked eagerly. “Not really,” Goldie admitted, “but I have ONE solution to help make all these situations Just Right,” she smiled.
“All of these problems can be addressed by (as Pres. Bush put it two decades ago) ending our addiction to oil. Or, as Hal Harvey of Energy Innovation says, ‘Clean (energy) alternatives are now cheaper than the dirty ones. It costs more to ruin the earth (while being enslaved by petro-dictators) than to save it.’”
“Then let’s save it!” Hugh Mannity declared, “Because this is the only home we’ll ever know. It’s where we’re all forever… Earthbound.”