Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I'm Red, White & Blue. And Green.

I love my country.  It's a beautiful land with pride in innovation, independence and individual liberty.  I hope to see America stay strong, free and beautiful.  Right now that's in jeopardy.

We depend upon despots for too much of our energy.  We aren't anything like energy self-sufficient.  The chain from the gas pump to Osama Bin Laden's riches is far too short.  I don't like the way the governments of most of the oil-rich nations treat their people.

Reducing our dependency on foreign oil is critical to our national security.

We import about as much oil today as we did prior to 9/11.  We import about 66% of what we use.  Do we we want to keep that up?

We pride ourselves on American ingenuity.  Couple that with a historic respect for thriftiness (that sadly seems to have diminished in the last several decades) and one wonders why we don't have well-insulated buildings and a highly efficient transportation system.

That is, why don't we apply the technologies that are available today to do the same things we do now at lower cost in ways that promise to keep more of our dollars in our pockets and in our own country?  It's the patriotic thing to do, isn't it?  Oh yeah, it's better for the environment too.

A note of explanation:
Last week I attended the Climate Change Education Roundtable, sponsored by the National Research Council's Board on Science Education.  The meeting was fascinating and I'm really pleased at how it brought focus to the need think outside of the boxes we live and work in, especially we who have somewhat of an academic bent.  Check out the set of commissioned papers:

It's got me thinking more about how to reach people who have priorities that are different from, but perhaps complementary to, mine.  I'd like you to think about that too.  There are a fair number of people who simply tune out discussions of climate change, but reducing climate impacts hold the promise of reducing other problems in tandem.

The above is an attempt at crafting an argument that reaches outside the proverbial choir, and while I believe everything I said, it somehow feels, um, disingenuous?  Is there something wrong with this argument?  How do you talk with those who aren't in the choir?  Or are you someone who is outside my choir?  Does this help to convince you that energy efficiency is simply prudent?  If not, why not?

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good thoughts here, Don. The argument you propose is actually my take on the energy efficiency/fossil fuels/climate change/dependency on foreign oil ball o' wax. Your points are reasoned, logical, and can't really be argued against. In my opinion, it's mainly because they keep politics and government intervention out of the issue.

I'm a libertarian by nature, but am also a miser when it comes to turning off lights; I use CF bulbs; I keep my home well-insulated and heat it with renewable wood. I drive a 1993 Mazda 626 that gets 35 MPG, and feel good about the fact that I'm not leaving a large footprint by buying a newly manufactured "energy efficient" car every five years. I don't buy cheap, unnecessary crap that's made in China. I know that I'm not the "greenest" guy in the world, but I try to be cognizant of my energy use.

I've said it before and will say it again: Al Gore (try not to cringe) has, unwittingly, been the biggest thorn in the side of environmentalism simply because he's a political figure. His championing of climate change awareness automatically caused half of the population to tune out when it comes to this issue, and has made it a political hot button when it never really had to be.

Think of other important causes that we hear about: breast cancer, world hunger, natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti; everyone is on board with these since they're (mostly)kept out of the political arena. It's unfortunate that climate change and energy has started down this political road. I wish I had a more positive outlook on how this will shake out, but I fear that the issue has become lost to the bickering of our government officials.