Sunday, August 27, 2006

swedish sealIf the world were a high school France would be the posh prom queen who never gave you the time of day, Canada would be the ineffectual - but well-intentioned - hall monitor and America would, of course, be the flabby, bellicose fratboy who only speaks in Al Pacino lines from the movie Scarface. But what of the Swedes? I contend they'd be the bookish kid in the back of class who quietly succeeds on every pop quiz and final, both studious and forgettable.

Those students usually grow up to achieve greatness. Take for instance the announcement Sweden made to shed their dependence on oil by the year 2020 without building a single nuclear power plant. The gas crisis of the 1970s looms large in Sweden's memory. It damaged their economy and with petroleum costs steadily climbing they want to prevent history from repeating itself. A country learning from their mistakes? A novel concept indeed. By supplanting fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy Sweden intends on avoiding a recession at the hands of exhorbitant gas prices - the black devil herself. Tax insentives, discounts on environmentally friendly vehicles and investments in research and development comprise their three-pronged attack. If the strategy prevails it could become a working model for other countries to follow.

My advice: we should stop heckling the prom queen and flicking the hall monitor's ear, and start paying closer attention to the bookworm in the last row, he might even help us with our homework.

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