My friend (and Project Laundry List adviser) Bill McKibben and a large number of people are rightfully apoplectic that Barack Obama has not put Jimmy Carter's old solar panels (or an up-to-date set) back on the roof of the people's house. There is no question that Obama should (or much question that he has failed the planet and so far) , but if I had fifteen minutes with Letterman, I would not talk about solar panels.
America is suffering beneath the mis-impression that if you can do something, you should. There is this religious belief in the US of A that boot-straps and elbow grease, ingenuity and technology will deliver us from evil. Nobody is a better promoter of this hubris than Tom Friedman of the New York Times or the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans.
Instead of reducing our consumption of energy and resources, most of our political and thought leaders are, very HOPEfully, focused on the silver bullets that will allow us to keep living our depressed, obesogenic lives where we work too much and take too little vacation. It is f**king nonsense!
If I had eleven minutes and thirty-five seconds with David Letterman, I would talk about the lack of a publicly-discussed White House clothesline. Approximately 20% of the load in a lot of middle class households is attributable to washing and drying clothes.
I would talk about the 5% of electricity in most American homes sucked up by vampire loads--appliances that do not turn off when they are "off." The way you close coal plants and prevent more nukes from being built is to starve your utility company.