Speaking at Brown University earlier this week, Thomas Friedman had to deal with some unfortunate extra-curricular activities. As he took the stage, two students calling themselves the “Greenwash Guerillas” launched pies (video here) at Friedman and largely missed. But they did leave behind some pamphlets spelling out their motives. According to The Brown Daily Herald, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times deserved this disruption because of “his sickeningly cheery applaud for free market capitalism’s conquest of the planet” and “for helping turn environmentalism into a fake plastic consumer product for the privileged.” Somewhere the giants of revolutionary rhetoric are grimacing and wondering what happened to their once well practiced art.
Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to point you to a talk that Friedman gave last year at Stanford — Green is the New Red, White and Blue (iTunes). The talk takes you into the heart of Friedman’s complex thinking about the environment (and all that the Green Guerillas oddly take issue with). And it’s presented with the same intelligence that you’ll find on display in the second most downloaded podcast on iTunes U: The World is Flat. (This second talk was presented at MIT, and it’s only exceeded in popularity by Randy Pausch’s soulful lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” which we featured on Monday.) Friedman’s thinking in the Stanford podcast (give it a listen, you’ll be better for it) lays the foundation for his new book due out in August — Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America.