Monday, July 14, 2008

Intelligent Conversation


It's hard for folks to grasp the future that we face, and the need to focus on the solution. Most of us don't really understand energy and we tend to depend on experts who help us sort things out. Unfortunately, most experts these days are pretty unreliable. Thanks to the Oil Drum, here's part of Chris Nelder's Peak Oil Guide that speaks to the issue:

"Recent media coverage of peak oil, and the energy options for the future, has been fraught with misinformation. In such an environment, the average person has little chance of knowing whether oil from ANWR or the Arctic can save the day, or whether there are 1.2 or 12 trillion barrels of recoverable oil out there.

But confusion breeds apathy, and that's not something we can afford anymore. I believe that the impending energy crisis is too urgent to allow misinformation about peak oil to go unanswered. We need to bring the public up to speed on the realities of energy before we can have any sort of intelligent conversation about reforming energy policy."

Debating whether or not to open up the offshore fields is not an intelligent conversation. It is a diversion. Wondering if the high price of oil can be blamed on speculators is not an intelligent conversation, it's a witch hunt. Debating whether or not the Tar Sands will solve the problem is not intelligent conversation, it is lazy minded lunacy.

In a conversation with a former banker last week, I endeavored to get him to understand that the problems before us require us to grasp the following realization:

We have already discovered enough carbon fuel to completely do ourselves in.

You don't need to know if the tank in your car is full when you decide to commit suicide, you only need to know that there is enough to totally fill the garage with enough carbon monoxide to get the job done. And let me assure you. We have more than enough fuel to get the job done.

So the MSM will lead today with the POTUS lifting the ban on offshore drilling, and the debate will go there as environmentalists and industry supporters square off. This is not an intelligent conversation. It is classic misdirection.

We must realize as a global community that we can no longer run our world on the buried sunlight of the Permian age. We must understand deeply that we must now power the earth on the energy that surrounds us.

And we must discuss how we make this transition with the declining finite resources we presently depend on.

We must begin to unify the transportation sector with the stationary generation sector.

We must plan how to make our streets and cities safe for pedestrians and cyclists.

We must contemplate how we make our urban car matrix into a quilt of villages.

We must focus on how we build photon to electron devices in our windows, our walls, and in the deserts.

We must build a global photonic energy web.

We must rethink the capitalist ethic which postulates that the more you consume, the richer you become.

We must let go of the notion that markets can solve all problems.

We must once again value a good that is good, over a good that goes out of style or is designed to fail and lose its utility.

We must redefine our sense of national self and replace it with a new global self.

We must reward good design, good art, beautiful poetry, and thoughtful theatre.

We must transform the business of health into the art of healing.

We must convert agribusiness into a pastoral art.

We must rebirth democracy.

And we must respect ourselves, each other, and our universe.

This is intelligent conversation.

All else is party piddle paddle.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intelligent Conversations:

Right On!


2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The frustration is that seemingly well meaning, good intentioned people just don't hear. People can feel the squeeze from doubling electric bills (outside of Austin,) doubling gas prices and higher food costs. But they still will say that solar energy is not economically viable. When you suggest that they make their homes more efficient, they say, "we can't afford it."

The "witch hunt" for speculators is actually more of a "wish hunt" for the ability to turn back and not have to make the effort.


2:39 PM  

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