I wait for news of the General’s running again, but am losing hope as time passes. I took a look at his old campaign website today and was reminded all over again why I supported his 2004 race.
So are innovations in science and technology that will allow us to take on the toughest challenges that have confounded us for generations — like halting the real and growing threats to our environment.
Take global warming. Studies show that the dangers of global warming are daunting. If we don’t address them today, the world as we know it will change irreversibly. Temperature increases of just two degrees will bring devastation to countries like Bangladesh, further melting polar ice caps, and flooding millions of communities around the world.
But it doesn’t need to happen. Today, scientists have already developed new energy sources like wind power, which can literally electrify entire communities. And another alternative, solar power, is already heating homes by capturing energy through solar panels built into roof shingles.
And that’s just the beginning. With the right leadership, we can develop reliable and inexpensive energy sources to replace today’s fossil fuels from the strife-ridden Middle East with cars driven by batteries on hydrogen fuel cells. One experiment that’s in the works actually captures and bottles up hydrogen — the building block of fuel — produced by tiny bacteria on the ocean floor. And it does so without producing an ounce of carbon dioxide pollution – the number one cause of global warming. Other scientists are developing “smart cars” that can literally drive themselves, making driving both safer and more fuel efficient.
We are right on the edge of new frontiers in science – entire fields committed to disciplines that most Americans have never even heard of – cosmology, nanotechnology, and quantum mechanics.
Of course, every advance in science puts power in human hands. The power to do good, but also the power to do harm. And the more powerful the science, the greater the potential threat. While we must dare to grasp this power and to harness its promise, we must be careful not to unleash its perils. And that can happen if we let discoveries fall into the wrong hands, and if we don’t respect strict rules of privacy and bioethics.
Harnessing this power is not just a matter of being well-versed in math and science. It requires a fundamental humanity. A humanity that is based on judgment, wisdom and compassion. That understands the lessons of earlier years and can move beyond the familiar cycles of history. That understands how to use the tools of the modern world not just for human greatness – but for human good.