The sum of all fears gets smaller

One of the biggest transformations in our lifetimes is happening before our eyes. America is becoming energy independent. U.S. CO2 emission have dropped to twenty year lows and are still going down (we will soon hit our putative Kyoto targets) while production of U.S. oil is at a 17 year high and we have never before in our history produced as much natural gas as we do today.

In a short time, the Middle East won’t really matter to us very much anymore and we won’t be so affected by various petro-despots. We will be producing most of our own energy right here in America and the rest will come from nearby.

I still find this hard to believe. But things like this happen. I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed. Nobody predicted it would happen and then it seems like no time that the thing that had threatened all our lives was gone.

I remember the 1970s. Experts told us that we would soon run out of oil and gas. We had to freeze in the cold. Today we have achieved energy production way beyond my wildest dreams at that time.

Some big fears I had in the 1970s have just gone away. Let me list the top five.

1. Soviet Union/nuclear war
2. Energy crisis
3. Population bomb
4. Global cooling
5. Stagflation (well that one could come back)

I graduated HS 40 years ago and worried about the future of my country and of the planet. Things turned out a lot better than I thought they would. 40 years from now there is a good chance I will be dead, but if I am not and I can still remember and reason, I expect that most of the big things i worry about today will be as quaint as the five listed above.

We should think about the future and work to solve the problems of today, but most of the bad things we fear don’t happen or turn out to be unimportant when they do. I hesitate to just be insouciant because it is so UN-PC, but that has always been one of my characteristics. It seems glib to say “don’t worry, be happy” but sometimes I think that is the best advice I can give.