Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Rosh Hashanah List

For the New Year, here's a list of things to worry about and things to hope for over the coming year.


1. Global Warming. This may not be a problem that I, as a 55 year old, will get to see the full impact of, but the consequences for my children and grandchildren are so stark that we should all wrap our minds around what to do, and start doing it as soon as possible. If you need convincing, or ideas about what can be done read the book "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery

2. Peak Oil. We are consuming oil faster than we are discovering new sources. Eventually, and not on the distant future we will begin to run out. When demand starts to vastly outstrip supply, prices will rise to the point that oil will be too expensive for most application we use it for today. Energy use, or the avoidance of energy use, will consume more and more of our money and time. Our lifestyles, from what we eat to where we live, will drastically change. The only question is, will we hit the wall in 5 years or 35 years. And will we have developed alternate energy sources in time, or not. For more info click here.

3. Iran goes nuclear – in both senses of the word. This one is much less certain then the two listed above, but the consequences could be even more severe for Jews. There are several variables here that make it hard to know who much to worry about this one. Will they get nuclear technology and when. If so will they develop a nuclear bomb, and when. If so would they use their new nuclear status to effectively increase there anti-Israel and anti-Western influence. And finally would they ever actually use the bomb against Israel. Right now I am betting that either they won't get a nuclear bomb or that by the time they do get one, the Iranian regime will have moderated somewhat. But it’s a bet based on hope, not any certain knowledge.

4. No progress on the Israel / Palestine front. Given the absolutely dire situation of the Palestinian population this would be a tragedy of the first order. Given that nature and politics abhors a stasis, no progress likely means deterioration: on the one hand an increase in Palestinian violence against Israel - including the likelihood of a full scale third intefada and a further hardening of Palestinian public opinion vis a vis Israel - and a the further disintegration of Gaza and the West Bank in to an ungovernable mess; and on the other hand and increase of Israeli settlement activities within the "approved settlement blocks" and a hardening of Israeli public opinion vis a vis the Palestinians. And world public opinion will be not be on Israel's side.
5. New Canadian elections wherein Stephen Harper and the Conservatives win a majority government. On a world scale this is not such a big worry, but as a Canadian it is for me. Harper's and most of his conservative caucus are true believers. Given a chance to do what they want to do, unchecked for four or five years, I fear for what the country would look like when there done. It would be ironic Canada adopted so many of the failed social policies of the U.S. Just as Americans are beginning to wise up that maybe private medicine, mandatory sentencing, free access to guns, unreasonably low taxes, poorly thought out overseas military adventures, anti "alien" phobias, and the religion of Individual Freedom at the expense if the public good, do not lead to a nice or sustainable place to live.


1. That "we" recognize the dangers listed above, and arewise enough and energetic enough to take timely actions to avoid or to mitigate them.

2. That we are lucky enough to avoid the worst of their possible effects.

3. That I am wrong, and in fact none of these things will come to pass.

4. That we remain decent and optimistic despite all the various reasons to worry. That we make our personal worlds models of larger world that we hope to see one day.

5. That some Toronto sports team – Blue Jays, Argonauts, Maple Leafs, Raptors – rise above the mediocre. I could use the distraction.


Anonymous Shmuel said...

Hope you had a happy and meaningful RH. I'm with you on 1,4 and 5 (as part of a global trend - quality of life for the many being sacrificed in the name of quantity of capital for the few seems to be gaining ground worldwide). About 2 and 3 I'm less worried - maybe 2 will force some much-needed social, economic and environmental change (also improving our chances with regard to 1, which is truly scary). As for 3, well, if Bush and whoever is PM in Israel don't mess it up, I think the Iranians are eminently capable of responsible nukes. They're not half as nuts as they sound sometimes.

With regard to your hopes, all I can say is inshallah! I think no. 4 is especially important in many ways.

4:37 pm  

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