Resolutions We Can Live With
Sometime in the coming weeks, when the champagne bubbles of the New Year have fizzled, when the computer bugs of Y2K have turned out to be no more annoying than a broken pencil, and the wild-eyed doomsdayers have emerged from their bunkers, we are going to have to face reality: We have 30 years left.
Despite our best efforts, humans haven't managed to destroy the planet. Not yet. Thanks to the conservation work of the past century, we have even made some progress: Population growth has slowed and will probably top out at 8 billion. Animals are being taken off the Endangered Species List. The use of ecological energy alternatives-wind, solar, hydrogen-is rising fast enough to prompt even the chairman of one major oil company to admit: "We are in the last days of oil."
That's the good news. However, talk with some of the world's foremost scientists and conservationists -as we did throughout this issue-and the forecast is not so rosy.
What can we do? Lots. As Rick Bass describes in "The Glacier Principle" (page 50), it takes millions of snowflakes to form the glaciers that carve the mountains.
This issue is filled with resources and suggestions: Drink shade-grown coffee, support urban nature groups, lower your thermostat, don't eat swordfish. These are not mind-blowing solutions; they are guidelines for how we can live. Think of them as resolutions (or re-solutions) for a new millennium. And know that if we all follow them, and teach our children to follow them, fewer species will disappear.