EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall was packed Wednesday night as famous author Thomas Friedman gave a lecture on his book Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
The event was part of The University of Akron’s China Week. Friedman was introduced by UA President Luis Proenza and received thunderous applause as he made his entrance on the stage.
Friedman’s speech mainly dealt with how our world and our environment are changing rapidly, and how we must act now in order to save our planet.
Friedman informed his audience that countries we have never even heard of are beginning to sprout Manhattans. In other words, these foreign countries have rapidly built huge cities, which means more and more energy is beginning to be used around the world.
He spoke about the causes and effects of global warming and how our children will be living in a world quite different than ours, at the rate things are changing around us.
Friedman stated that if there is one thing to learn from his presentation, it should be, When it comes to the ecosystem of rules, price really matters. People do not want to buy more expensive things that do not give them better functions.
For example, if a new cell phone comes out with newer, cooler functions, chances are that many people will pay more money for it. If someone owns a building that is reliant on a power grid and is asked to switch to solar paneling at a greater expense, he or she probably would not switch to solar paneling since it does not give him or her any more functions than traditional power sources.
According to Friedman, however, it would help save energy if the owner decides to switch.
Friedman stated, We need a democratic American government with the same authority and force of China’s government.
Friedman kept the audience laughing throughout the night. He got a standing ovation at the end and took questions afterwards.
He chose to end with a eulogy for environmentalist Diane Meadows: Future is a choice, not fate. When people get put together, our planet gets put together.
Friedman received his degree from Oxford, and then went on to become a foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times. With his career, he has traveled to various countries around the world and his writings are known internationally. He received a lifetime achievement award in 2009.