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Five Minute Speeches - David Brower

When I graduated from high school, which wasn't too long ago, the population of the Earth was half of what it now is.  When I bought these pants, we'd gained half that difference.  What happens next?  If you watched your Chronicle on Thursday, you saw that the Global 2000 Report being prepared for the President has a population predicted by the end of this century - up to another half of what we have now.
I'm just here to say that if won't work, but we can go a different way. We have a different opportunity. Here's seven chapter heads for opportunity.

1)    We can end nuclear proliferation even though the President, contrary to his promises, is doing exactly the opposite. The peaceful atom is a bomb. We don't need it, and we don't need atomic weapons. We've got to back away soon.    ; '"

2)    We can use Arnory Lovins' soft energy path and we can start right now.

3)    We need, I think, to redesign progress to live it as if survival mattered. We must stop mixing it up with growth.

4)    We need to do a bit more than we have for the world's endangered cultures, the endangered species other than ourselves, and the endangered planet itself. This is moving forward now in a world heritage program, which the United States is finally participating in with some vigor.  Ray Dasmann had much to do with it.

5)    We can do a lot more by wilderness than we have. There is a destructive gang vandalizing the last hope" for a good wilderness in Alaska right now in the Senate Energy Committee. They've gone home for a vacation.  You can try to get them to do better than they're doing, or call upon the President to declare the whole thing a national monument.

6)    We need to be, I think, a little bit more careful about how we play around with genetic engineering.

7) We need to treat the land differently from the way we are now. We need to treat it as if soil is not an old-fashioned thing, but essential to our very life.

And another opportunity lies before us to try a form of influence that is almost unused. Two months ago a few environmentalists representing some 4-1/2 million people organized in environmental movements in this country met with President Carter. They were scolding him, telling him how what he had been doing was.against his promises.  He listened quietly for a while and then said, "I think j'm strong enough to take your criticism. But constant heckling saps me." He went on to say one thing that he was missing was any praise for any of the things that had happened. When did anybody last praise Secretary Andrus of the Interior?  No one in that room had.

I realized then that one of the best things we do is to criticize, and one of the worst things we do is not give any praise when it's well worth giving.   I remembered an earlier President, who made the best speech on population control any President ever made. That was Nixon.  He said we are on a collision course and we must do something about it.  And what happened to him?  It was a dud at the box offices.  I polled my own audiences, and of all the people who came to listen to an environmentalist environmentally skewed if you will one out of a thousand had thanked the President for the boldest move he could make.  He didn't make another move that bold in the rest of his career.

I don't think we should allow our present President or the other people that we work with to have that lack of support from us.  I would like to see the hands right now from the number of people in this audience who a year ago thanked President Carter for vetoing the Clinch River Breeder Appropriation. How many?  Right. So he's ready not to veto it this time around.

Our best opportunity, and we've almost forgotten it, is to use the most potent energy we have, and that is love, gratitude, thanks. Try it.  And I've got to try it, too.