In the shadow of those events I reconsidered my life and career, as did many others. Some changed course right away. It took me another five years. First I worked on getting out of debt; I had just bought furniture and a new car. Finally in 2006 I sold my house and joined Americorps.
Your correspondent has observed that the one favorite political flavor takes the threat of Islamic radicalism very seriously, while pooh-poohing the threats of global warming and peak oil, while the other favorite political flavor does the opposite. Sigh.
I take all of these threats seriously and am not the first to notice the connections between them. Renewable energy, conservation, efficiency, and local food production are national security fronts. While I have chosen to work on these fronts, I honor those who have chosen to work the sharp end of the stick.
For those of you who may be less concerned about the energy/food and global warming issues, I urge you to read the peak oil primer at energybulletin.net, and any of their other articles as well. There are a few other primers on this topic listed at www.theoildrum.com. On their scale of alarmism, the energybulletin view rates as Defcon 4.
For those of you who may be less concerned about Islamic radicalism, I would urge you to read these two articles, which are the most level-headed discussions I have found: The Philosopher of Islamic Terror - Paul Berman, NY Times, and How to Manage Savagery - Bret Stevens, Wall Street Journal. (These are longish articles by online standards but worth your time.) Towards the end of Berman's piece he writes
President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that. Philosophers and religious leaders will have to do this on their own.
One religious leader who has taken up that cause is Coptic priest Zakaria Botros.