THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Brown, Obama and the Dalai Lama

President Barack Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place -- between Mr. Brown and the Dalai Lama.

Last October, when Barack Obama canceled his meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in order to keep the U.S. primary banker (China) happy, it seems that he let his head rule his heart.

Ignoring instinct, he listened to his advisers instead, and most likely read the book Plan B 4.0http://www.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/books/pb4 by Lester Brown. Lester Brown is president of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington D.C. He represents The Rock. His compelling research and writing conveys facts and figures that underscore the multiple paths the world must take in order to survive.

The Rock. In a report released two days ago, Lester Brown underscores one of the biggest problems that the world faces: the commodity consumption of the United States and China.

Brown writes: "China now consumes more grain than the United States. It consumes almost twice as much meat, roughly three times as much coal, and nearly four times as much steel. But what would happen if China's 1.3 billion people were to consume commodities at the same rate as the United States' 300 million?

At an eight percent annual economic growth rate (which Brown calls a conservative projection) in which each person in China was to consume paper at the current American rate, China would need more paper than is produced worldwide today (there go the world's forests). China would require over half of the current world grain supply. China would also need 90 million barrels of oil per day; however, the world currently produces less than 86 million and is unlikely to produce much more than that in the future."

The Hard Place. If Obama had followed his instincts and met with the Dalai Lama last October, the message might have been "Ignore the heart at your peril."

On Thursday, in the name of enhanced security at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, representatives from all observer organization (NGOs and IGOs) were denied access the final two days of the conference. They were redirected to an alternative venue at the Forum Copenhagen across town. These voices represented the heart of the matter of climate change. They represented those who would directly feel its impacts: the young, the green, those living in poverty, and the indigenous.

In the final days of COP15, the head ruled the heart. ... When James MacRitchie, founder of the Global Qi Project, attempted to insert a single word into the conference terminology, a word - all too familiar and feared in China - it too was rejected.

The word? Qigong - "Personal Energy Cultivation. Traditional Asian health practices, similar to Acupuncture and Tai Chi, used to develop a person's own internal energy in order to become more energy efficient human beings and thereby use less external energy. Also known as Chi Kung."

To survive, and thrive in a rapidly changing world, the head and the heart need to come together.