John Ryan

John C. Ryan is research director of Northwest Environment Watch in Seattle and author of Seven Wonders.

The Magnificent Seven vs. the Baywatch Babes

An excerpt from Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet by John C. Ryan

When the Dalai Lama of Tibet met with economist John Kenneth Galbraith, he asked the Harvard professor a simple but penetrating question: "What would the world be like if everyone drove a motor car?" The Tibetan leader probably did not intend it, but his question constitutes a koan, a paradoxical riddle of Zen Buddhist tradition. A koan has no logical answer -- "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" -- but the search for a solution may lead to a flash of enlightenment.