7/22/2008 – Offshore drilling . Bottom line, we’ve never seen an energy crisis like this one–and some of us at My Green Mind waited for gas in the 1970’s when the car lines were longer than the ticket line at a new Harry Potter release. If you’re reading this you’ve seen gas at two, three then four dollars and it’s heading for five dollars a gallon. Heating oil for the 2009 winter season is expected to double the 2006 prices. Too many Americans can’t afford that. And it’s killing the economy. We’re watching helplessly as American wealth is exported to the Middle East.
But what most concerns my own green mind, is the way we’re searching for a solution.
Remember the old joke about the guy who comes upon a drunk late at night and the drunk is searching on hands and knees below the lamplight.
"I lost my wallet, explains the drunk."
"You lost it right around here," said the man perfunctorily.
"Nope," says the drunk. "I lost it over there in the alley–but the light’s better here."
We’re about to hunt for more oil so we can continue to waste it the way we always do, when the solution is to shift to greener ways of using the precious resources we do have. It’s a message as old as "waste not, want not."
Short-term, we may have to accept ecological trade-offs–perhaps allow limited offshore drilling and create nuclear power plants that recycle waste as the French plants do. It may take compromise to get ourselves out of this energy mess, But, and here’s the point, we shouldn’t accept a single trade-off without an agreement that congress will budget for the longer term solutions. We need mandated higher CAFE standards. We need to tap alternate energy resources – wind, solar, geothermal and others. We need tax incentives to spur their growth.
And, since we are no longer the manufacturing nation we once were, and since new technologies historically arise as manufacturing solutions, we need to become the world’s leading provider of green technologies. And we can. But it means diverting money from bridges to nowhere and giving up pork barrel. That requires a kind of courage that hasn’t characterized congress for decades. An infusion of green capital investment, federally driven funding, would pay off for America in new jobs, a new manufacturing opportunity, cheaper energy and it would ultimately strengthen our sagging dollar. It’s a win-win for every American demographic. Come on congressional leaders–lead please. We need the kind of JFK resolve that took us to the moon–though we need it now for a greener earth.
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