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Nothing Changes on New Years Day

1/3/2006 12:00:00 AM


On a wintry Sunday morning, I can’t think of much I’d rather do than settle in at the kitchen table with a cup of fresh coffee and read the big, fat Sunday New York Times. I don’t actually get to do this all that often; it’s a sad fact of my life that getting through all those sections is a luxury. But on New Year’s Day, all was quiet. And I was able to read all of that newspaper (or, at least, all of it that I cared to read).

I was especially struck by two items in the “Year Ahead: What in the World We’ll Do in 2006” article in the “Week in Review” section. The first was 'Ready for Everything Under the Solar Panel,' in which business writer Daniel Gross suggested that renewable energy had “vaulted the highly fortified border separating the cottage industry and big business.” He also suggested that the industry was showing eerie similarities to the dot-com boom, with hot initial public offerings, gold-digging venture capitalists and “old-line companies talking the talk.”

To which, with my best New Year’s cheer, I said, “humbug.” There may be similarities, in that American business and financial sectors are waking up to the true need to step into the future (just as they couldn’t ignore the huge potential in the Internet’s vast reach). But while the dot-com bubble saw some glorious excess based on speculation and promise, renewable energy is a solid—and increasingly necessary—solution to a crisis. Of course alternative energy is the next big thing. We’re all paying more for traditional energy, and we can no longer ignore the effects of the planet’s warming. Natural Home & Garden readers (who are decidedly above average in intelligence) have seen this one coming for years. The good news in this prognostication is that the rest of the world is catching on.

I was much less grumpy (if just as smug) when I came to Kim Severson’s predictions about the coming year in food, 'Ordering Up a Side of Healthy.'“American consumers increasingly want products that are perceived as natural, authentic and healthy,” she wrote. Again, this isn’t likely to be news to anyone reading this blog (or Natural Home & Garden).

As 2006 dawns, I’m looking forward to opportunities such as these, to say to more and more Americans, “Welcome to our world.” And welcome they all are. For what a wonderful world it is.

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