"Will you still need me? Will you still feed me?...."
The moment has come. The first Baby Boomer cohort has turned
It officially happened on
midnight December 31-January 1, 2009-10.
I celebrated the moment 7
hours and 24 minutes early by jumping into a tiny cove in the Florida Bay.
The chilly but exhilarating
water demanded an answer: Will we
green the Earth? Will we win
social justice? Will we get to Solartopia?
Unlike so many of you reading
this, I am not a Boomer. The
demographic officially extends from January 1, 1946 to December 31, 1964. It is a giant elephant of a population
explosion swallowed by a decades-long python of a population decline.
The soldiers coming back from
World War II multiplied like rabbits.
The Boom was worldwide. In
the US it birthed some 76 million children.
My dad was a submarine welder
in Boston's shipyards, so I came early:
at 4:36pm, December 31, 1945.
Thus the leap into the Bay, which is in desperate need of protection
from the ravages of agricultural monsters who are destroying the Everglades on
which this fragile but irreplaceable eco-system depends for a clean, steady
flow of water.
Those of us who took that
astonishing tour through the 1960s came have to think of ourselves as "forever
But 64 is a big number. It means many of us have lost one or
both of our parents, or are taking care of them as they become increasingly
It also means WE are meeting
such ailments. "Parts wear out,"
my mother said.
And we're "at that age" when
we lose friends and lovers, spouses and siblings, and sometimes, worst of all,
"Learning experience" can
never fully cover the losses of loved ones. But they do remind us our own days are numbered.
When we believed ourselves
immortal, as all young people do, there was nothing we could not do.
Now we count the victories,
and assess what we might win in the time left us.
In our lifetimes, undeniable
strides have been made in civil rights---for African-Americans and, in tandem,
for women, for GLBT and for other national and ethnic minorities, as well as
for those with special challenges.
Social justice is another
story. Since the end of the New
Frontier/Great Society, with the horror of the Vietnam War, income disparities
have worsened. Those social
programs did work. Now the gap
between rich and poor, a downfall of all great nations, is escalating, with no
end in sight. We have long had the
means to end poverty and hunger, and have chosen simply not to do it.
The root of that choice is
war. The Vietnam assault was the
biggest blunder of our lifetime.
Everything is worse because of it, from homelessness and poverty to the
decline of our educational and health systems. That successive Boomer presidents have chosen to repeat the
error in Iraq and Afghanistan is beyond tragic.
environment. The green movement
has many roots. But the fight
against nuclear power was the first to put thousands of Americans onto the
streets and into the jail cells, and must be ready to do so again. Talk of reviving this failed technology
is beyond lunatic.
Above all, in our lifetime,
the globalized corporation has metastasized into the most powerful institution in human history. A cancerous beast that has usurped
human rights without human responsibilities, the trans-planetary corporation is
now beyond the reach of the nation-state.
Only a global green movement, tied through the internet and whatever
else we can contrive, can overcome the sinister power of these interlinked
financial machines, whose only goal is profit.
To fight back, we need a
vision, a Solartopian greenprint.
We need to attack the
corporation at its root, in its legal charter and wherever we can find a
To kill the cancer, we must
eliminate waste and its worst expression, war, the ultimate breeding ground of
Only with peace can we win a
true democracy, based on social justice.
All humans have the right to food, shelter, clothing, medicine,
education and dignity. In tandem
must come the paper ballot, hand counted, with universal automatic voter
Our food needs to be
organically raised, with sustainable agricultural practices.
The question of how many
humans our planet can sustain will be answered with the empowerment of
women. With equal access to
education, employment and reproductive rights, the mothers of our species will
bring us a sustainable number of children.
As that happens we can
eliminate fossil and nuclear fuels, replacing them with the Solartopian
technologies that really work, including solar, wind, sustainable bio-fuels,
geothermal, ocean thermal, tidal, wave, current and other forms of renewables
not yet conceived. In a maximally
efficient world, with revived mass transit, the green transition we must win to
survive does become do-able.
So this Blue-Mooned New
Year's Eve, with my growing-up-all-too-fast daughter on my back, we jumped into
the Barley Basin to commemorate that moment 64 years ago when my saintly mother
gave her final push to get me into this world. The demographic deluge would boom in less than eight hours.
With Bonnie Raitt's "Nick of
Time" running through our brains, the equation simplified:
"With justice comes
peace"with peace comes freedom"with freedom, all is possible".even Solartopia."
That should keep us busy for
a while, yes?
The next blue mooned New
Year's Eve is scheduled for 2028.
See you then" on a green-powered Earth.
SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED
EARTH is at www.harveywasserman.com,
along with A GLIMPSE OF THE BIG LIGHT: LOSING PARENTS, FINDING SPIRIT, and
HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE US.