Hot, Flat and Crowded

Thomas L. Friedman has a new book out this week called book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded. After publishing The World Is Flat, Friedman is pretty much required to have interactive elements for his new book.

When the earlier book came out, web 2.0 projects like The Flat Classroom Project on Wikispaces began with teachers. That projects has students from classrooms around the world collaborating on projects and discussions based on their reading of the book.

In Hot, Flat, and Crowded, Friedman takes on global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization which has produced a planet that is “hot, flat, and crowded.” Is Friedman late to the show? Saying that the planning is warming is not as controversial as it was even five years ago. His new book adds what has come about since The World Is Flat with a warning that in a few years, it will be too late to fix things. His solution has the United States taking the lead in a
worldwide effort to implement clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation. It's what Friedman calls Code Green.

Oil will never be cheap again. Friedman says the last big innovation in energy production was nuclear power in 1955. (I guess solar and wind haven't had enough of an impact?) He suggests that the lack of innovation shouldn't be a surprise if you consider that US pet food companies spent more on research and development last year than US utilities did. "The Stone Age didn't end because we ran out of stone," says Friedman.

I first heard about Hot, Flat, and Crowded a few months ago when the publisher offered free audio downloads of excerpts from the book. I love audio books, but I have to admit, there were so many statistics in the audio that I couldn't listen. It's the kind of book I have to see. (Next up for me, gray hair...)

There are a number of things already online for the new book that would make it an attractive topic for classroom discussion.

Here's one - a note from the author asking for reader input for the second edition of his new book:

"HOT, FLAT, AND CROWDED has seventeen chapters. What's Chapter 18? Chapter 18 will be a completely new chapter that I'll add to the next edition of the book: Version 2.0. In it I hope to include the best ideas and proposals sent in from readers: ideas about clean energy, energy efficiency, and conservation; about petropolitics and nation-building in America; about how we can help take the lead in the renewal of our country and the Earth alike by going Code Green. I am eager for your suggestions -- please post them here."

I don't think the new book will have the impact that Flat had (mostly because people have already heard - and ignored - lots of news about energy), especially on educators, but it is worthy of exploration.

Some classroom resources


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