Global warming is overheating the planet. Globalization is heating up politics and radicalizing local economies. And overpopulation is putting pressure on the planet, economies and politics, making for a dangerous equation whose solutions aren't entirely clear. In his new book, Hot Flat and Crowded: Why we need a green revolution and how it can revitalize America, to be published this fall by Farrar Strous Giroux, Thomas Friedman argues that a true green revolution - one where "companies change or die" - must take place if we're going to get ourselves and the earth out of this mess.
Speaking at BookExpoAmerica, Friedman provided an early bird view of the book and his belief that "Since 911, America has lost its way." "Bad habits" like increasing our dependence on petroleum and ignoring the geopolitical implications of our efforts to dominate oil-rich countries have "weakened our ability" to solve the world's biggest problems: global climate change, the rise of petrodictatorships, and the increasing vulnerability of disadvantaged populations - not just around the world but in the U.S. as well.
Friedman seems to believe that the U.S. is the only country capable of leading the world to a more peaceful and environmentally secure place. However, to do so requires us - citizens, consumers, politicians, CEOs - to accept that the time has come for far-reaching solutions involving massive energy supply breakthroughs. Rather than continue to focus on the Code Red alerts being issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Friedman argues we need to alert Americans -- and the world -- that we're living in a "Code Green" situation that demands our immediate and bold attention.
In other words, Friedman is calling for a truly green revolution, not the "green party" he says we're currently having. "It's a revolution when someone gets hurt," he says. "Companies need to change or die or the revolution will never make a difference."
In fact, changing the way we live and work is at the heart of Friedman's message. "If we want things to stay as they are -- if we want to maintain our leadership in the world and sustaina a habitable planet -- things will have to change...and fast!"