Thursday, August 7, 2008

olympic cyclists herald a new beginning

There is real opportunity to be had in the next couple of weeks. One that could have profound effects on the future of the planet. Olympians wearing masks. If a large percentage of Olympian were to wear masks, not due to political posturing, but instead out of necessary because air pollution in Beijing is so bad, then the world would quickly begin to understand just how dire the planetary predicament has become.

Dangerous air pollution in most major cities is real. The threats of over-population are real. Massive ecosystem threats and potential collapse of major ecosystems (such as the oceans) are real. Global climate disruption is real. And no matter of apology, or cloud-seeding, or jingoist 7-ringed fervor, or advertisements for sports gear will cause it to dissipate.

But athletes wearing masks to protect themselves can quickly spread a different message to every nation that something needs to be done. Quickly. And something can still be done. While Obama has been moving to the center as quickly as McGruff seems to be embracing senility, he did offer something this week in his energy address that could signify a real and lasting change. Energy independence in 10 years.

Think of that! The geopolitical implications alone are staggering. The ability to address socio-economic problems, not only at home, but also abroad, would again be possible. Grab a mask and tune in to the opening ceremony. We still have a chance to shake our political leaders into sensibility.

Image: Yves Herman, Reuters.

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