Letter to Editor
I read with interest U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott's proposal for one year of national service for young people, including possibly in the military (Wednesday).
I hope he is open to a related suggestion. First, we withdraw from Iraq, and shrink our armed forces by cutting the military budget by 25 percent. After reparations, we use that savings of more than $100 billion for a national energy conversion program to wean ourselves off foreign oil. At the same time, we would be well on the way to joining the world community by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
An Energy Corps of young people could retrofit every house and building in the country for energy conservation. It could help build local solar, wind and biomass facilities as well as upgrade an aging electrical grid. It could help set up a transportation infrastructure that reduces our reliance on oil, including more public transit, pedestrian sidewalks and bike paths. Finally, it could help foster a local agricultural economy, whereby much of our food could be grown without costly petrochemicals and long-distance transportation.
Many respected economists are afraid that we are entering a major recession. Many independent geologists say that the world's oil production will peak by the end of the decade. We can either wait and see if the are correct or we can take preventive action by stimulating our economy and moving toward a peaceful, sustainable way of life that heads off the worst of global warming and ensures that civilization will continue into the next century.
I trust McDermott is not asking for an even bigger military. But how about proposals more in line with the challenges we face?