Let’s Get This Party Started

Last month the United States pulled more oil out of the ground than we imported from other countries. This is reported as a huge step toward energy independence—and it is, but the celebration surrounding this fact is extremely short sighted.

The U.S. has ramped up its fuel extraction work in a big way. People generally approve of this, and why not? The result is jobs, lower gasoline and heating fuel prices, less dependence on foreign countries, improved trade deficit numbers, and a general feeling of relief or reassurance. It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly—but the sense of, yes we can take care of ourselves, we do have the great minds to develop technology that will get us out of this mess.

Why be the killjoy that rains on this party? All you need to answer that question is to look at two simple facts:

1. Climate change and all that comes with it, e.g., Typhoon Haiyan; and

2. Fossil Fuels are a finite resource; the faster we consume them the closer we are  to no longer having them as an option.

Conservation and renewable energy are the only long-term options. When we “waste” a gallon of gas on todays convenience, we forever take that gallon of gas out of the picture for use toward something essential—say a tractor trailer bringing goods to market. We know how to make passenger cars that can use solar powered electricity to run and get us to work, to the grocery store etc. It is not nearly so simple to get a fully loaded 18-wheeler around on battery power. When we heat and cool our homes using high performance building materials and systems that allow little or no coal or natural gas use to keep them comfortable—that is when we should be celebrating. That is when we can feel proud of our ingenuity.

The knowledge and products are here, now. It is up to each one of us to seek it out, to embrace it as though it were the latest mobile phone or video game player – just gotta have one of those….