Sunday, August 24, 2008

2008 The Year of Change






The kids are back to school and we are all gearing up for the fall and winter months. Many things have changed since I left Idaho last summer compared to my departure this summer. I have changed, my family has changed, my company has changed, and the world has changed. I cannot remember a year with more change - and it is only two thirds over.....

The world is changing very rapidly and the way we are all doing business, communicating, financing, and fueling our lives is all in a state of flux. Every person in every socioeconomic group has been effected - at least that is what I am seeing. The credit crunch has hit the entire world, but that was created by excessive greed both by those speculating and those lending. Our homes became investments and no longer a place to live and raise our families. Debt spiraled out of control - from the individual consumer all the way to the level of an entire nation. The dollar plunged and commodity prices spiraled out of control. Add world demand for a better life and its limited resources and products - cars, phones, food, clothes, building materials, and of course oil and you can understand why prices are doing what they are doing. Add a war, an election, Russia flexing its muscle, earthquakes, floods, and as I said, the year is only two thirds over. No wonder I'm tired.

What can be learned from all of this? I think first and foremost our value system needs to be reassessed. Our resources our limited and we need to manage them more wisely and more efficiently. Waste needs to be eliminated wherever possible. After driving two SUV's for years that never left a paved road or freeway I have traded them in for Hybrid vehicles that use a third of the gas and pollute far less. We are not all going to be celebrities or pro athletes and creative financing or endless home equity loans will not solve our problems. America needs to get back to work. We need to have as much focus on math and science for our children as we do for basketball practice. We will need to work and educate our way out of this and produce something - something tangible. That is why I love architecture - we create something. We are at the beginning and the next beginning is now.

Watching these olympics has been very inspirational. The olympics always are. I think we all realize we - the world - not just the USA, make up this world, run this world, fuel this world, supply the world and feed the world. China is amazing - what I have witnessed just in my lifetime from when Nixon went there in the early 70's to what I witnessed the last two weeks - the change is stunning. I'm looking forward to going there soon.

Where will the US be in thirty more years? Will we be running our homes, factories, businesses and cars on renewable energy or will be still driving cars burning gas at $9.00 a gallon like it costs in Europe right now? Will our children be the leaders in technology and innovation or will they just be service providers and hamburger flippers while hanging out in Scottsdale pretending to be movie stars? Will our air be clean, our food locally produced in organic farms, our water usable and clean to drink? We are at the forefront of a new era. $4.00 a gallon gas has finally awakened us from our wasteful energy binge. Opportunity awaits all of us.

It seems to all stem on energy. Will we be able to live 30-40-60 minutes from town or have a second home in Idaho, or travel to Italy and watch our TV's, run our computers, our I Phones, Skype with our friends and family across the world, run our air-conditioning, eat pineapples from Hawaii, enjoy a Bordeaux from France, the list goes on and on. Something has to change - it already has begun.

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