On my bad days, I don’t see how Homo sapiens is going to survive the twin assaults of environmental pollution and militarism. Each is destructive enough on its own, but my fear is that they are each escalating factors for the other. As food, water, and oil become more scarce, we ratchet up our determination to get enough of what we want, whatever the cost. If the cost is bombs from drones or on the backs of suicide bombers, whether its nuclear or germ warfare, if survival is the issue, I fear the restraints on our assaults on others who have what we need or think we need will decrease exponentially. Globalization exacerbates the problem as well. We can no longer hide away or walk away from peoples who disagree with us, or who have what we want.
But I do have good days as well, when I still have some hope that a combination of altruism and ingenuity will pull us through this. Every once in a while I see reason to hope that enough of us around the world will recognize our common humanity. With that comes a recognition that we all have human rights that go beyond our religious and ethnic differences.
And there are times too when our capacity for ingenuity and creativity almost make me dance. Maybe after all we can do it. Maybe we can figure out how to preserve our planet and each other at the same time.
What if, for instance, we could figure out how to run all our cars on water? Well, the Japanese have done it. They have produced a car that will run on water – any kind of water. It will run on rain water, ocean water, drinking water, even tea. It will run at 80 kilometers an hour (about 50 mph) for an hour on a litre (about a quart) of water. A couple of quarts of water can be carried as back up, to run another hundred miles or so. The car works by generating hydrogen from the water, which in turn runs the car.
It’s difficult to estimate just how much a car like this might reduce greenhouse gas emissions and global warming because although the number of cars being driven worldwide is increasing every year, so too is the efficiency of the cars. My best guess is that cars produce about 20% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, but don’t quote me.
The Japanese hope to start mass production. No price has been set yet.
Wouldn’t you love to have one?