As we move into spring with the promise of renewal we’re reminded of our connection to the Earth, the sustenance it provides and the reminder that by planting, in mind and action, the harvest will eventually end up in our kitchen. During a time when contrasting agendas of the haves and have-nots, the corporations and the people, the right and the left, the old and the renewable, are obscured by vivid images of devastation, we are somehow united by a sense of vulnerability, not too unlike the common enemy provided by the events of 911. This time the enemy is Mother Nature, who appears seemingly unaware that the natural cycle of Earth changes causes such intense upheaval to our established civilizations.
Added to this, is another culprit, an enemy capable of contaminating the entire world ecology, and unfortunately that enemy is our ourselves, or let’s say the unbridled industrial, military, scientific complex. This coalition, devoted to perpetuating a technology that has never proven to be cost effective, has never solved its issue of mega toxic waste, or exhibited real ownership for potential destructive consequences, i.e., the current events that are unraveling in Japan. In recent years the nuclear industry has presented its product as “clean, renewable” energy. Green house gases have certainly contributed mightily to the climate change dilemma and nuclear does manage to sidestep this by-product generated by fossil fuels.
Now, like during the times of Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, when the sobering realities of nuclear radiation are being experienced… and felt, international attention is being refocused on these consequences, and let us hope that the media doesn’t deflect the ultimate severity with a wave of corporate propaganda. It still amazes many that the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico failed to generate a more pervading sentiment against off-shore drilling. And, since that infamous well was capped, the sparse media attention paid to the environmental aftermath points to the serious corporate influence of the media.
So what does the average citizen, devoted to a sustainable future and feeling resistance to the mesmerizing influence of the establishment, do to help turn the tide toward a clean and renewable society? The answer is multi-faceted, of course, unique to each individual as seen through their own lens. Yet, there is a common theme, whereby communities, and even countries, across the planet are beginning to reach beyond the corporate grip and create alternatives…it is ultimately a revisit of how we view each other, ourselves and our enemies. True sustainability begins within each person, in how we think, to have a mind that is perceptive but at peace, a heart capable of love and forgiveness, and the ever evolving capacity to visualize the future we wish to experience. These qualities, along with willingness to take action, will drive our transition. The ability to harmonize with ourselves, each other and our environment, will provide the clarity and inspiration to make the wise choices in the dramatic years ahead.
We can be assured that no matter what transpires the pervading powers will continue in their attempts to convince us that all needs to remain business as usual. Will Humankind’s profit driven mania to extract its insatiable need for energy from deep beneath the Earth’s crust continue to place our environment in peril? If we continue with our current approach there’s little doubt. It appears that the well sealed tomb of decomposing matter wasn’t meant to be invaded; the highly toxic components brought to the surface with the inevitable potential to contaminate our world. But through ignorance and greed the manic quest, and its inherent dangers, will continue until there is little fossil energy left or ongoing catastrophes continue to spoil the party. Highly radioactive plutonium and uranium are the substances vibrating at such a high rate of decomposition that their poisonous properties aren’t meant for exposure to our above ground atmosphere. Gas, oil and coal are less impacting, but the practice of burning them to extract the energy has obviously produced the unintended side effect of atmospheric warming and climate change.
Recently, I had a discomforting lunch date with a natural gas mogul whose family had bought out a major segment of T. Boone Pickens natural gas holdings. In his quest for unceasing profits he has adopted a convenient philosophy. The ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy would be a long, drawn out process requiring natural gas as the perfect stopgap. Of course, in his mind, the transition could easily require another 100 years of natural gas extraction and, happily (for him), there is the equivalent of that supply hiding in shale deposits along the coastlines. When asked how this could be accomplished without serious damage to the environment, he confidently stated…”this process will have no obvious impact environmentally.” A seemingly convenient point of view adopted to alleviate a conscience hell bent on justifiable profits.
So, as a counter perspective to which many of us can adhere, the evolution of truly renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, algae, hydrogen and, as yet undiscovered sources, must be the focus of our energy future. Though the return on investment isn’t as readily apparent, the necessity to protect our world is the payback that makes sustainable sense. With this perspective we will all profit from maintaining a livable planet for many generations to come. In the meanwhile, we’re all a ride that will eventually unravel our previous approach and help to reveal the more appropriate direction for our future.