Hot, Flat and Crowded

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Welcome to the website featuring the One Book, One Community reading adventure for 2010-2011.

HotFlatBookThe Book for 2010-2011:
Hot, Flat and Crowded,
Why We Need a Green Revolution – And How It Can Renew America

By Thomas Friedman

“One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal.”
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate


Last Hot, Flat and Crowded Session a Winner

Margery LeonardAAUW member Margery Leonard was in charge of the book talk.

Passionate Discussion at Christ the King Church

ccChurchThe Lutheran Church heeds messages of the book Hot, Flat and Crowded with an aggressive energy-saving conservation program. Read about it.

Congressman’s Take on Friedman’s Messages

Our Representative Pete Stark, in a letter to AAUW’s Genevieve Angelides, comments on the ideas in Hot, Flat and Crowded. Read about it.

Four Powerful Hot, Flat and Crowded Perspectives

ChurchWindowOur latest Book Talk was held at the St. James Episcopal Church. Read about it.

Spirited Book Talk at Ardenwood School

Kathy Bray is the guide to Friedman’s messages at the Hot, Flat and Crowded discussion on March 29.

LenaBarncordCroppedInspirational Discussion at First Methodist Church

There was a lively interchange at the March 16 Hot, Flat and Crowded book talk. Read about it.

OhloneCampusHot, Flat and Crowded Goes to the Greenest Campus in the World.

About 35 participants discussed Friedman’s book with Dr. Leta Stagnaro and toured the beautiful, model campus that she inspired, helped build, and leads. Here’s a summary of Dr. Stagnaro’s talk.

The Hot, Flat and Crowded Leadership Team Wowed the Principals.

Their forty-five minute presentation on Friedman’s book inspired the FUSD leaders. Read about it. It will inspire you too!

Archived “What’s New” Articles

About the Book and its Author

Below is the press release that announced the book to the Fremont world:

In this book Friedman takes on the tough subjects of skyrocketing fuel costs, diminishing natural resources and a planet that seems unable to sustain us in the future.

The “hot” in the title is the reality of global warming; the “flat” refers to the rise of the middle class; and the “crowded” centers on the growing population on the globe. These three volatile issues unite to give us all great concern for future generations.

What Friedman calls for to turn things around is a “green revolution” and an economy based on creating new ways of renewing energy. In this brilliantly written book Friedman outlines the problems and, be assured, he also outlines some solid solutions that center on American ingenuity and creativity.

“We chose this book,” said AAUW Hot, Flat and Crowded Co-Chair Florence Silver, “because it brings some critical problems and solutions to our attention here in the place where creativity reigns, Silicon Valley. It’s an excellent selection for the city that hosts green companies like Solyndra and Tesla Motors.”

AAUW Fremont Branch, in collaboration with the Fremont Main Library, the City of Fremont and the Fremont Unified School District, is planning a series of book talks led by Fremont’s green gurus, educators and discussion leaders. These discussions are open to the public and will be held from September 2010 through May 2011. You do not have to read the book to attend.

image005Thomas Friedman is an internationally renowned author, reporter and columnist – the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and the author of five bestselling books among them From Beirut to Jerusalem, The World is Flat and our selection, Hot, Flat and Crowded. He was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 20, 1953 and grew up in the middle-class Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park. Here are a few more details about the life and times of Thomas Friedman.

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Book Talk Schedule

The last of this year’s One Book discussions have taken place. Please join us next year to discuss our selection-to-come for 2011/2012.

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The Hot, Flat and Crowded Team

The One Book, One Community project is headed by the AAUW Fremont Branch in collaboration with the City of Fremont, the Fremont Main Library and the Fremont Unified School District.

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Reviews of Hot, Flat and Crowded

The book received excellent reviews. Said one reviewer: “He shows how 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the flattening of the world by the internet (which brought 3 billion new consumers onto the world stage) have combined to bring climate and energy issues to Main Street.” You can find a host of others at the Reviews site or on Friedman’s bookshelf.

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Many have asked why we chose this particular book for our third One Book, One Community journey. To answer that question we put together a rationale document that we presented to AAUW Board Members on August 10. Here are excerpts from that report:

Why Did the OBOC Committee choose Hot, Flat and Crowded?

  • We reviewed a slew of books, both fiction and non-fiction. We voted several times on many books and after each vote, Hot, Flat and Crowded came out the winner.
  • Why was this so?
    • Because we think this is an important book for our times. It literally begs to be read and it contains a call to think and a call to action.
    • When we look around at our local, national and global world we see much to worry us:
      • Spiking oil prices spiraling often out of control underscore our dependence on foreign oil supplies The U.S., with 5% of the world’s population, consumes 26% of annual global energy production and most of that comes from OPEC nations.
      • Disastrous spills (like the BP oil spill) threaten the environment, local industries, our coast lines and our wild life.
      • We are dependent on countries that are not in sympathy with American values yet hold us hostage to oil.
      • We are experiencing climate change that is brought about by greenhouse gases polluting our atmosphere. You may have noticed that this is the hottest summer on record in many parts of the U.S. Russia is experiencing its worst drought in 130 years and high in Moscow was 93 degrees when it’s usually 76 degrees on average. Note also the droughts in Africa and the torrential rains in the northern hemisphere all examples of “global weirding.”
      • People are living longer and that is putting pressure on utilities. The world had 2 billion people in 1950. Now we are at 6 billion.
      • The rise of the middle class in countries like India and China; estimates say the middle class will swell to 1.8 billion in the next 12 years and that puts incredible strain on the globe’s resources more toilets, more cell phones, more houses, etc.
    • For these reasons and hundreds more that we see around us every day, our world and our way of life is being threatened. And the sad part is that many just don’t get it. This book helps bring us out of our slumber and tells us how to change things in a positive direction.
    • Friedman offers some real solutions here. He says the changes must happen soon or other countries will overtake us. The solutions must also be initiated in America if we are to stay viable for our kids in the future. These solutions can result in many jobs for Americans.
    • Because of the importance of the subjects in this book we feel the community will be open to hearing Friedman’s message which, ultimately, is very positive. Like planning to go to the moon, we can find new sources of renewable energy and, when we do, it can, as Friedman writes, “renew America.”

What does this book have to do with Fremont, California?

  • We believe Hot, Flat and Crowded has a great deal to do with Fremont and the Silicon Valley we live in.
  • We are at the forefront of green technology with companies like Solyndra and Tesla opening up in Fremont.
  • It is likely that a new form of renewable energy might come from our very midst since the computer revolution started and progressed at our doorstep.
  • We believe that Fremont citizens should read the book and join us in discussions to share ideas of how Fremont can be greener and more innovative in the green revolution (see the City of Fremont’s Climate Change direction in the attachment).

What does this book have to do with Women and the AAUW?

  • Women are half the world. We and the children we carry and bear will be affected by everything that happens in the environment. Women can also make things happen. We can be proactive and help fix the planet for our children and their children.

What if we don’t believe in global warming. Should we read this book?

  • Even if the 98 percent of environmental scientists who have concrete evidence that global warning exists are wrong, becoming less dependent on foreign oil will be a blessing for our country.
  • It will keep our money here rather than sending it to countries that use the money to plot against us.
  • And the result of what Friedman calls the creation of cheap electrons will result in a brighter, cleaner better world for all of us. It’s clear that fossil fuels will run out some day. We need to anticipate that time and prepare for it.

What is our strategy in bringing the book to the city?

  • Find venues to match the topics in this book (see attached list).
  • Bring in experts on the subjects that Friedman highlights in his book.
  • Hand out flyers in strategic spots to get readers and guides for discussion sessions.
  • Have the Mayor sanction the book in a proclamation at a City Council meeting.
  • Link into Fremont’s Climate Change Local Action ideas (again see attached).
  • Get prominent Fremont people to write testimonials with regard to Hot, Flat, and Crowded.
  • Work with the Fremont school districts to bring the message to our city’s elementary and high school students.
  • Arrange for panels to discuss controversial aspects of this book.
  • Insist that AAUW members attend as many sessions as possible as a kind of responsibility.
  • Get local media to advertise the sessions.
  • Invite Friedman to Fremont to discuss his book and answer citizens’ questions.

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