Small but Mighty
Even the , combat deaths suffered by Americans paled in comparison to any other major belligerent. Building on the economic base left after the war, American society became more affluent in the postwar years than most Americans could have imagined in their wildest dreams before or during the war.
Public policy, like the so-called GI Bill of Rights passed in , provided money for veterans to attend college, to purchase homes, and to buy farms. The overall impact of such public policies was almost incalculable, but it certainly aided returning veterans to better themselves and to begin forming families and having children in unprecedented numbers.
Not all Americans participated equally in these expanding life opportunities and in the growing economic prosperity. The image and reality of overall economic prosperity--and the upward mobility it provided for many white Americans--was not lost on those who had largely been excluded from the full meaning of the American Dream, both before and after the war. As a consequence, such groups as African Americans, Hispano Americans, and American women became more aggressive in trying to win their full freedoms and civil rights as guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution during the postwar era.
The postwar world also presented Americans with a number of problems and issues. The Business Roundtable announcement increases the pressure. Journalists are trained to be objective and provide both sides of an argument. That approach can lead them to amplify positions unsupported by science, including denying climate change.
Optimism For A Changing America
This summer, some leading newspapers called out fake news on climate change. Universities have long been focused on campus buildings and waste, but now they are extending their reach, asking faculty members and staff to rethink their travel-related emissions. The work of most academics is international. The magnitude of our impact became very poignant to me, when I attended my annual conference organized by the Academy of Management. Sylvia Grewatsch and her Greening Team calculated the carbon cost of just people attending this year's event in Boston.
They said to compensate for the cost of our carbon footprint would require 16, trees to be planted for 10 years. And that was only a very small part of the picture. The total number of people attending the conference was not just people, but 18,! European universities often require faculty members to take a lower-emission trains instead of flying, for reasonable distances.
I have tried to be careful about my own greenhouse gas emissions. I accept talks that require long-haul flights only when I can bundle them with other commitments. I am also experimenting with virtual technologies for academic meetings such as our Innovating for Sustainability Salon.
Another approach is regional events: my colleague, Dr. As the world globalizes, I think there is so much value in building local communities of knowledge. The technology still has a long way to go, but I can now see how we may be able to attend meetings through virtual reality. I find it encouraging that corporations, traditional media and universities are finally moving. These institutions so often serve to protect the status quo.
Why do we need conservation optimism? - Synchronicity Earth
Click here to see a few positions that will be helpful to us. Summary: we have a new mood in the general public on foreign policy; obstructionists have been moved out of leadership in the Congress; members of Congress interested in changing Cuba policy are in key positions. We have reason to be optimistic. While the Congress has changed, the Presidency has not. President Bush is not going to change Cuba policy, and he will threaten to veto any pro-engagement initiatives that Congress approves.
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While the old obstructionist congressional leadership has been removed or at least taken down a notch , and we may be able to keep Cuba provisions in legislation, we still have to win votes in both the House and Senate. While we won these votes resoundingly three years ago, we have not won them in the last two years. But more importantly, we lost the votes of most of the new members of Congress elected in There were 38 new members of the House in that election, and only eight of them voted with us in and In fact, we start with only House members who have a record of voting consistently to change Cuba policy.
Our optimism should be tempered because to win in the House we need votes. We need to keep all votes and win over nearly 40 of the new members or those whose votes we lost in and There are, depending upon some still unsettled races, between 54 and 58 new members.
We need to win over the vast majority of them. We still face some difficulties with committee leadership. If we have allies in Rangel, Dodd, Baucus, etc. While he has voted with us consistently on travel, he is not particularly sympathetic to changing Cuba policy overall; and the Republican ranking member may be Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R-FL , who may have some influence over him.