Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
When Michelle Obama talks, Americans feel better.
On Tuesday Gallup reported that the “U.S. Gallup Economic Confidence Index” jumped 11 points during the week of the Democratic National Convention.
The jump was the sharpest since the inception of the index and marks the high point for 2012. And it’s a puzzler. One might expect that after Bill Clinton’s speech, Americans would be more inclined to blame Republicans for the mess we’re still in. But to be more confident about their own prospects? That’s peculiar. And it’s all the more befuddling because the week finished with a disappointing labor report. There’s no objective, quantifiable reason why Americans should have ended last week considerably more optimistic about the economy than they began it.
Except, perhaps, that speech by the first lady?
It appears that the spark for the dramatic rise in Americans’ economic confidence last week was the Democratic National Convention. A review of Gallup’s nightly tracking results shows that the index was consistently near or below -25 each night in late August and early September, but then sharply improved on Sept. 4, the first night of the convention, to -18.
Confidence then held at or near -18 through Sunday, despite the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ mixed August unemployment report Friday morning showing continued weak jobs growth.
The crazy thing is, Michelle Obama didn’t really address the state of the economy, other than to express her profound faith that her husband was going to keep plugging away in his attempts to fix things up.
Suddenly, after all these years, I understand the American love affair with Ronald Reagan a lot better. He stood up there, flashed his pearly whites, and told us it was “morning in America” again, and an impressive majority of Americans believed him. The first lady appears to have the same transformative power. Something tells me swing state residents are going to be seeing an awful lot of her over the next eight weeks.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.