Billionaire T. Boone Pickens has dropped his plan to build a huge wind farm in Texas, citing financing problems and challenges posed by the economic recession. The collapse of the project adds weight to the notion that we won’t have practical alternative energy generation until the governments of the world, and the populations they represent, make lasting commitments of money and attention.

What’s more important than the heft of Pickens’ wallet is whether we ever find a way to get out from under the crushing consequences of our shameless and profligate consumption of hydrocarbon fuels.

It’s not likely there will be widely usable new energy sources until the governments of the world, and the populations they represent, commit big money to finding out what works and paving the way to realizing new approaches.

Pickens is now looking to drill into the federal government’s vault, and that is causing some criticism. But what’s at stake here is unimaginably bigger than the question of whether this controversial entrepreneur should be subsidized. Our very future as a world civilization may be riding on finding solutions to climate change. Surely there must be some answers hiding within the collective intellect of the globe’s 6.7 billion people. (That number itself is a big part of the problem.)

If you aren’t properly scared by the fix the planet is in, read the new book by James Lovelock, “The Vanishing Face of Gaia.” (Click here to see a review in the Los Angeles Times and here to read long excerpts at Google Books.) After absorbing the predictions of Lovelock, the originator of the so-called Gaia hypothesis, you may feel the need to pour yourself a large tumbler of Scotland’s best medicine and ingest regular doses until the trembling eases.

Wake up, people. What’s on the sign of that disheveled fellow on the street corner may finally be true: The End Is Near. At least the end of the life we have known. Let’s buckle down and refuse to fall into the darkness without putting up a good fight.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig