Couple of cool editorials this week, both with a little bit of a "don't worry be happy" theme. The first one, by the co-director of the energy program at the National Resources Defense Council, is about how much better the US is doing as far as energy efficiency. That's a very good thing: the less energy it takes to move our cars, keep factories moving, to wash our clothes or whatever is good for the environment as well as being good for each of our bottom line.
The second one is a bit more philosophical. It's by a UMBC geography professor, and the point is that we don't need to worry too much about natural resource constraints. The argument is that people who worry about the earth not being able to provide a sufficient carrying capacity are focused in the wrong place: humans have been overcoming natural constraints for a long time, and we can expect to keep on doing so. We will talk about this issue more later in the class, and it has more merit than most ecologists want to admit. Just as the previous writer noted, we are resourceful (yuk yuk) and often find ways to do more with less. At the same time, we also often find ways to make do with less, and I think that's a good thing too, especially for those like most of us in the class, who are so blessed as to have abundant access to the things they need.