He now spends his days in church basements, government meeting rooms, street corners and scrubby city parks. He is involved in projects to build playgrounds, install urban gardens, reinvent schools, create neighbourhood associations and document the religious life of the city, among others.
A fascinating story of a fascinating project.
That’s the theme of this bizarre confab soon to roll into Los Angeles. Featured speakers include numerous climate skeptics, such as Lord Monckton, Benny Peiser, and Richard Lindzen. The organization sponsoring the conference, the American Freedom Alliance, has a few other other notable obsessions. Leo Hickman at the Guardian reports that the group
has promoted intelligent design and seems to tread a very fine line indeed between fighting “Islamic fascism” and outright Islamophobia.
I guess they want to start guarding against the green jihad while keeping Darwinism at bay. Here’s more from Hickman:
The American Freedom Alliance is, perhaps, best known for its on-going legal action with the California Science Center over the cancellation of an AFA event to be held at the centre in 2009 at which it intended to screen a “teach the controversy” film called Darwin’s Dilemma, which explores the “Mystery of the Cambrian Explosion in Fossil Records”. At the time, Avi Davis, executive director and senior fellow of the American Freedom Alliance, said: “New scientific evidence makes it vital that we take a close look at the numerous inherent scientific problems of the Darwinian theory of evolution.” The AFA has subsequently fought the case on the grounds of freedom of expression.
Climate skeptics lending their names to an anti-evolution organization. The headlines write themselves.
Is Thomas Friedman, the influential, globe-trotting NYT columnist, undergoing a metamorphosis? Because I think the guy who was a champion of economic globalization a decade ago is not the same guy who wrote this column earlier in the week, which is mostly a platform for Paul Gilding, author of a new book called, “The Great Disruption: Why the Climate Crisis Will Bring On the End of Shopping and the Birth of a New World.”
In his column, Friedman writes:
We will realize, he [Gilding] predicts, that the consumer-driven growth model is broken and we have to move to a more happiness-driven growth model, based on people working less and owning less.
Has anybody informed developing countries of this yet? Because last I checked, lots and lots of people in China and elsewhere were becoming happy consumers of cars, air conditioners, and techno-gadgets, just like us.
Oh, whatever. Once they see Americans living like Freegans and not trading up for new smart phones and laptops every two years, I’m sure the Chinese will follow suit.
But back to Friedman, who strikes a Malthusian note in his column, warning that
we are currently growing at a rate that is using up the Earth’s resources far faster than they can be sustainably replenished, so we are eating into the future…This is not science fiction. This is what happens when our system of growth and the system of nature hit the wall at once.
Our system of growth. That doesn’t sound like the Friedman of yesteryear. Let’s rewind to 1999: In “The Lexus and the Olive Tree,” (page 42, paperback version) Friedman intones:
Any society that wants to thrive economically today must constantly be trying to build a better Lexus and driving it out into the world.
As this review of Friedman’s book noted at the time:
The Lexus, the author’s favorite car, symbolizes the drive for prosperity and modernization and the growth of technology and finance.
Well, given his increasing concerns for the earth’s sustainability, I’m sure that Friedman has since bought the hybrid model.