My greetings to the Dubna University! Thanks for your invitation.
We in the United States and, somewhat, in Europe as well, are working on a number of major projects.
The first one, of course, is the development of the [North American Water and Power Alliance] NAWAPA program, which would actually create a great deal of green inside the United States where there's now desert. It's one of the greatest projects ever conceived by man, in its magnitude and implications. It would change and improve the weather, actually, around the planet.
There are similar things which are being considered in Russia, for a similar kind of approach, as we treat the Arctic as a challenge.
And thirdly, in our view, is that we have a scheme for doing something similar in Africa: in this case, involving Sudan, and also the movement of the excess Congo River water over the mountains, into the area of Chad, into the area of Lake Chad. This is a similar kind of project.
More of these kinds of projects are needed. The issue, of course, the practical issue from an economic standpoint, is that there is no such thing as a fixed environmental standard. That is, mankind cannot stand still at any level of development, because in just continuing to function, we use up certain concentrations of raw materials which we require for our existence. And population grows, too.
What is needed is to improve the environment. I refer to this as platforms. For example, the great development of civilization started with ocean travel, when people were navigating by the stars in trans-oceanic regions. Then we got to the point where we developed the riparian system, as was done by Charlemagne in Europethe great system of canals and rivers being connected together, as another platform, a higher platform than just the oceanic culture.
Then we went from river systems, into railway systems. We extended these into the idea of continental railway systems. We're now talking about intercontinental railways systems, such as that of the Bering Strait tunnel, which is now on the agenda again.
And these kinds of programs, which lead to man's improvement of the role of life on the planetand beyond, into work in spacethese are the great projects, in demanding a fresh view of what progress really means, and what we have to do to satisfy and secure mankind's well-being, in the time to come.
These are the kinds of things that are on my mind, and which I like to discuss, because these are great projects which, at my age, fascinate me. My best wishes, and I hope to see you soon.
September 13, 2010