God Bless the USA!  We are truly a brilliant beacon of light, leading the world out of darkness into a period of infinite prosperity.  Despite a total population of only 5 percent of the planet, we manage to produce more wealth than any other nation and provide billions of dollars of global aid.  But building and maintaining the world’s most successful economy does not come without a cost to our environment.  It is now well-known that the US leads the planet as the top emitter of greenhouse gases, producing 25 percent of the world’s pollution and two-thirds of the world’s toxic wastes.  Yet despite undeniable evidence that our American lifestyle is contributing to global climate change at an alarming rate, our self-righteous government and our willfully ignorant populace continue a consumption culture that is literally devouring the world as we know it. 

 At the United Nations conference this week in Bali, Indonesia, 190 countries (out of 194 that exist) confronted the US for our position as the ONLY industrialized nation to refuse ratification of the Kyoto Protocol climate pact.  As part  of their criticism, world leaders questioned the US rejection of mandatory emissions regulations.

But our smug leadership was quick to defend our greedy and gluttonous ways, touting a recent 1.5 percent decline in carbon dioxide emissions and insisting that voluntary emission cuts will be sufficient to produce the necessary changes.  Nevermind that our OWN Department of Energy credits this reduction to “favorable weather patterns, where both heating and cooling degree-days were lower in 2006 than 2005, and higher energy prices.”

It is laughable and blatantly acrimonious when our Executive insists that the corporations and consumers of the most wasteful, most obese nation in the world can curb an  impending global climate/energy crisis with a little voluntary self-restraint.  C’mon, folks,  we’re not talking about trimming the fat here!  This country needs fullblown liposuction.  Remember, we make up only 5 percent of the world’s population, but consume 25 percent of the world’s oil, one-third of the world’s paper and cars, and 27 percent of the world’s aluminum.  The environmental impact of one American is 12 times greater than that of one person from India and 250 time greater than that of someone from Sub-Saharan Africa, even WITH recycling. 

Despite a growing “green” movement in this country, Americans still consume 2 million plastic bottles, 1 million aluminum cans and 60,000 plastic shopping bags every 5 MINUTES.  If we wait for the evolution of our national conscience to guide this ship, we’ll be cast upon the rocks in a mighty tempest with the rest of the fleet searching in vain for the beams of our lighthouse in a perilous fog! 

God bless the USA!  God save us all!