What is the best way to kick off 2011 with the new congress, seemingly intractable squabbling at every level of public discourse and the tragedy in Tucson? Lester Brown's summary of the current grain price increases is challenging but refreshing in that it might just get us to focus on what the real issues are.
http://www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2011/update90 it is about 1 page.
Food shortages and dramatically increased food prices quickly lead to social unrest in poor countries and discontent in wealthy ones. The summary form the Earth Policy Institute, describes the dynamics in play for the current increase in grain costs. News from around the world and increased food costs at home could lead people to realize that the most basic form of national security is our ability to feed ourselves, and really look at why that is getting more challenging. Failed states around the world will lead to new threats to our national security as we and the UN cannot solve all the emerging problems.
We can change our national priorities on how we spend our money and how we use our land and water. These things can be done quickly and could put us ahead of the curve of the tidal wave of change that is quickly approaching. We want to be in a leadership position, not just to make money (the usual US goal), but mitigate human suffering here and abroad and to stabilize areas that are increasingly destabilized by food shortages, changing climate and water shortages. This leadership ultimately makes the US more secure.
What can we do? Be aware is number 1. Talk to our neighbors about these issues. Write our views to local and national papers. Whether we like to think about these issues or not, they are the driving forces behind how we will be living in the 10 to 20 years. There is a huge need for a larger group of people to feel the urgency. Get involved with local issues that can make a difference and model the change we need. The environmental priorities coalition has four priorities for the current session of the state legislature, what you can do all worked out http://environmentalpriorities.org/.
The New Year will have lots of challenges. If we are prepared we will see the opportunities and know how to ride the waves, break the tide and land standing tall with real accomplishment for our friends and families where ever they may be.