Dealing with problems from the way use energy (emissions causing global warming, over dependence on a single substance -oil- that is hitting supply limits) requires not only a functioning higher education system, but a stable economy and a fair distribution of the tax burden.
Today the Wall Street Journal of all sources discussed how destabilizing modern American wealth distribution is. Meanwhile, over at FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver does what he does best, a statistical analysis of how much needed revenue a tax increase on incomes over $1 million would raise. It is useful to compare the tax rates and brackets in the past when we hear the screams from the wealthy that they are being taxed to death.
Think about the worst cases of this scenario in the past, such as France in 1788 and Russia in 1917. We're nowhere near that yet, but those societies didn't start out that way. Maybe the wealthy should think about a little civic contribution now, 'cause it works out badly for them otherwise if we stay in this slash and burn economy.