We’re now only months away from the forty year anniversary of Man’s greatest achievement: the landing of two men on the surface of the moon. Until that time, Mankind had spent almost it’s entire history suffering under the delusion of being the powerless ’pets’ of supernatural beings who seemed to have nothing better to do that to meddle in human affairs. Somehow, we seemed to live at the center of a universe that was at once terrifying and unknowable. Gradually, and with great resistance from the fearful masses, we came to the more realistic view of ourselves as insignificant beings living on an insignificant planet in a universe that was vast beyond our wildest imaginations. We also came to realize that we weren’t so powerless after all, and the ultimate proof of that was our landings on the moon.
Unfortunately, our great successes has lead us to make the arrogant assumption that we have nothing left to prove – that we now stand alone as the masters of our reality and divorced from any dependence upon it. How wrong that assumption has proven to be as clearly evidenced by the state of the environment that we, and every other form of life we know of, must live in. While it’s certainly true that we have made great scientific strides in areas like technology and medicine in the years since, the fact that we have done so in such an irresponsible manner have all but undone the surge in confidence the moon landings gave us. And the current economic crisis is threatening to become the grave marker for all our dreams.
Indeed, the problems we now face appear to be coming from too many directions to face head on and so many of them seem to have the potential to overwhelm us by themselves, that we ironically find ourselves once again feeling powerless amidst an unknowable universe. But the truth is that, just as in the past, we are not powerless. We are not helpless. We are simply unfocused. Maybe that’s what President Kennedy saw in the early sixties. Remember, those were hard and frightening times too. Maybe he knew that all we needed was a great challenge to overcome to restore our confidence and prove to ourselves that we can overcome great obstacles. And maybe, just maybe, that’s all we need today.
But what challenge could we undertake to get those creative juices flowing again? What obstacle can we conquer that is both realistically achievable and spiritually fulfilling enough to grab the hearts of Mankind? I believe that we can overcome all of our troubles if we have to time to do so, but there is one problem that, if not solved quickly enough, threatens to rob us of the time we need to solve any of the others. And that is the disaster we have made of our environment. Oh I know that this is such a huge an nebulous problem, and I’ve heard all the arguments that seem to be at odds with each other. But the fact is that our dependence on fossil fuels lies at the heart of just about every environmental issue, and that is absolutely something we can do something about.
I believe that President Obama should use the anniversary of Man’s landing on the moon to challenge this nation to become completely independent of fossil fuels by the end of the next decade. Sure, a lot of people will scream that he is crazy and that it can’t be done, but people said the same things when President Kennedy challenged us to go to the moon. And let’s not forget all of the other great developments that came about as the result of achieving that impossible dream. The possibilities are endless from this one as well.
We are literally standing on the brink of the end of civilization as we know it. It’s up to us to decide what kind of future we want and what kind of future we deserve. It’s time to prove ourselves again.
I want ice water