Other Voices: Let’s rethink our priorities, seek energy solutions
As the presidential election rapidly approaches, shouldn’t we all be concerned that the majority of the real problems facing us are not even being mentioned? Most of the coverage has been based on a cult of personality and the topic of the day – the economy.
While oil has been a sub-theme in the election – regarding opening up new areas for exploration – it does not necessarily guarantee us a vast new source of energy. Any new discoveries may be sold on the open market, unless there are government subsidies.
Also, it may take years to reach the pump. What are we to do in the meantime? There are a lot of capped wells that could be tapped now, but many have a limited amount of crude left. Profits for oil companies and shareholders depend on projections of future earnings, so exploration is crucial to them. It is also crucial to us. No matter where you stand politically, it is a necessity for survival in our modern world. It in fact has become almost as crucial as air, water and food!
But our dependence on oil has not come without the spoiling, sacrifice or misery of humanity. As the need for oil grows in the developing world while nations diligently pursue our lifestyle, conflicts will continue to arise over energy. The New World Order, as termed by President George H.W. Bush, has changed the world.
Like oil, continued mass consumption will deplete the world’s resources and we will eventually reach a point of no return. This is not a sound management practice. America can never be accused, for the most part, of looking ahead or planning for the future. Again, this is not a very stable management or executive philosophy.
We tend to live in the moment. If we had followed previous plans that looked forward, which were scuttled or canceled, it seems we would be in a much stronger position, particularly with regard to energy and all that comes with it. But, we cannot change the past. We can look to the future.
President Dwight Eisenhower saw the importance of a National Interstate System. This system was one of the most important factors in our growth as a nation, contributing to national pride, economic power, productivity, and military might.
Eisenhower also warned of the military industrial complex. This great leader was truly a visionary. We need to pay homage to this real American hero and start a new visionary plan with a sustainable energy policy that can open a huge economic boom.
There are so many avenues that can be taken to reach energy independence in a few short years, while we regain our collective national pride and strengthen the economy using our second-to-none engineering and production capabilities.
The raw materials are right in front of us. Dumps and water treatment plants that produce methane gas can be captured and be turned into energy to power their own operations. Farm waste, yard waste, and old tires can be turned into energy to provide local or micro plants. A consumer society generates a lot of waste – let’s put it to good use.
Solar power is, essentially, in its childhood and not only can be placed on a roof, but in windows, walls, parking lots, billboards, and freeway signs almost anywhere. Wind, oceans, rivers, with means other than dams, can be sources of energy with limited environmental impact.
This goal of energy independence would provide more jobs than oil prospecting alone and have greater return possibilities. This would not come without some ups and downs and setbacks, but we are the nation of ingenuity and opportunity. We have gumption. We can do this!
So let’s move beyond the cult of personality, move beyond what divides us and move together toward what the real issues are and seek solutions, not blame. Turn off the inflammatory rhetoric, drop the labels, be open to new ideas and act like the world leader we think we are.
We have seen past generations do great things and now it is our call to duty. Really, we all want the same things – health, success, safety and shelter for our families, to just be left alone and pursue happiness, just as the founders of this great nation believed. While there are several problems and threats in our world today, we need to re-think our priorities, as the time to move together toward the future is now.
There is a lot more binding us all together than there is driving us apart.
Andrew Lawler lives in Nevada City.
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