“American Energy”A Story by Tommy
A repost of an old piece...
America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, the land that I love. It is a Country, which prides itself on being a leader and standing up for justice. So why then, when faced with the biggest problem of our time, are Americans not more aware of the need to free themselves from the strangle hold, which non-renewable energy seems to have on them? Should we as members of a First World country alter our way of life to counter global climate change? People all around the world are looking to our example, so what can America do to help free it’s self from the toxic refuge that it has become so accustom with?
To help answer these questions, I looked to three different articles. The first article I read is Evar D. Nering’s, “The Mirage of a Growing Fuel Supply” published on June 4, 2001 in the New York Times Op-Ed. The second article I read is Thomas Homer-Dixon and S. Julio Friedmann’s, “Coal in a Nice Shade of Green” printed in the, New York Times Op-Ed on March 25, 2005. Lastly, I read David T. Z. Mindich’s compelling article, “The Collapse of Big Media: The Young and the Restless,” which was published in the Wilson Quarterly in the spring of 2005. All of these articles share one common purpose, which is to promote the need for change, but the authors all feel this change should come about in very different ways. Nering’s article focuses on bringing about change through conservation. On the contrary to conservation, Dixon and Friedmann’s article tells the reader about the need for change in a in a more literal way, which is by promoting change through the process of switching our energy sources from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy. Lastly, Mindich’s article promotes change through the means of early education.
Evar D. Nering has a PHD from Princeton and is a published writer of two books well known to the mathematical world named, Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory, and Elementary linear Algebra. Nering retired in 1990, from Arizona State University where he worked as the Chairman of the Mathematics Department. His article, “The Mirage of a Growing Fuel Supply” is a mathematical reminder of the fact that non-renewable resources are as the name states non-renewable, meaning that one-day supplies are going to run out. He uses oil as an example of a non-renewable energy by telling the reader drilling for more oil will not fix the world’s addiction to oil, but it might in fact do the opposite and cause people to buy more of an already diminishing supply of oil. Nering implies that drilling for more oil would create an illusion of a never-ending supply of oil. He explains to the reader, some mathematical logic based hypothetical situations to help show his reader the inevitable outcome, which in-tells the World running out of all non-renewable resources. Nering ends his article with a voice of compassion, by explaining that future generations will suffer, if we do not start to conserve oil more now.
In 2005, Thomas Homer-Dixon worked as the Director of the Center of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, and S. Julio Friedmann worked as director of the Carbon Sequestration project at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. “Coal in a Nice Shade of Green” is an outline to what Dixon and Friedmann imply the World needs to do to eliminate the chokehold, which non-renewable sources of energy have on it. Their article points out that nuclear, solar, and hydrogen powers will not be feasible for the near future because of the cost and the vast area of land needed to put them into affect; but as an alternative, the authors inform the readers of a technology called Gasification, which is a form of a bridge technology. Dixon and Friedman imply that Gasification would be a viable way to produce a clean source of energy, which would in turn help to eliminate the need for non-renewable -based energy. They end their article by explaining that in order to be feasible, Gasification has some issues, which will have to figure out, but they feel that some sort of this energy process will be the most efficient and clean way to power the planet in the near future.
David T. Z. Mindich is a professor of journalism and mass communications at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. He has also worked as assignment editor for CNN. His article “The Collapse of the Media: The Young and the Restless” is a look into the decline of the news industries followers. Mindich’s article points out that since the baby boomers, there has been a steady decline in avid news consumers. He also informs the reader, that people are now, less informed on current events, resulting from the decline in the number of people following the news. Mindich suggests the reason for the decline is that people have a vast variety of options to occupy their time, so therefore they choose to follow the news less. He also feels the diminishing number of people following the news enable the press to do its job, which Mindich feels, is to uncover the fallacies committed by our government. Therefore, Mindich explains the need for an implementation of current events and some version of the news in to American grade schools as curriculum. He feels this would help to fix the problem of the decline of the industries following, and would help to insure that people are up on their current events. Mindich believes that if picked up at an early age a person will be more apt to stick with the so-called “News Habit.”
Now that we are past, the introductions let us answer the first question. Why then, when faced with the biggest problem of our generation, are Americans lacking the knowledge of the need to free themselves from the grasp, which non-renewable energy has on them? During the most recent Presidential Elections, a new slogan was heard being chanted at all of the Republican rallies; “Drill Baby Drill” was chanted as if it would magically produce more oil and bring down the cost of crude. Nering tells us, “Drilling for more oil is exactly the wrong thing to do, because it will encourage more use.” He feels this would create a “Mirage of a Growing Fuel Supply.” Nering also tells us,“The mathematical realty seems to have escaped the politicians pushing to solve our energy problems by simply increasing supply.”
Why with experts telling people that drilling is not the answer, are Americans buying in to the political propaganda? Mindich reports, “In recent decades, Americans’ ignorance has reached truly stupefying levels,” this is a result of the declining interest in the news. He also explains what he feels is the roll of the news, by quoting James W. Carey who wrote, “The role of the press is simply to make sure that in the short run we don’t get screwed.”Mindich himself wrights “A shrinking audience impairs the news media’s ability to carry out their watchdog role.” Nering tell us, “If we want to avoid dire consequences, we need to find the political will to reduce the growth in energy consumption to zero or even begin to consume less;” he feels “To do otherwise is to leave our descendents in an impoverished world.” Nering and Mindich’s articles have helped me to conclude, that the lack of knowledge and the corruption in government is the main culprit to why Americans are uninformed about oil and the problems that it is causing around the world.
Should we as members of a First World country alter our way of life to counter global climate change? The answer to this question is yes, we as members of a First World country must alter our way of life to counter global warming. The American people have a moral obligation to the world, the people of the world, and to future generations of humanity, to take charge and demand changes in our government’s energy policies. Dixon and Friedmann tell us, we are going to need to make, “huge investments in conservation and energy efficiency; two areas that policy makers and consumers have sadly neglected.”They also inform the reader, “fossil fuels have a major disadvantage,” because“burning these releases carbon dioxide a greenhouse gas that may contribute to climate change.” This leaves me wondering how much destruction to our environment has to happen before people are ready to change.
Nering tells us, “Estimates vary for how long currently known oil reserves will last, though they are considerably less than 100 years.” This should be a revelation, because these estimates are referring to the current rate of use, and the current rate is constantly climbing. If the rate of consumption continues to climb, we could possibly see supplies run out in our lifetime. If not in our lifetime, it is very possible that our children will witness the total annihilation of the world’s oil supplies. Knowing this fact should spark the moral need for Americans to take action, so we do not pass this problem on to future generations. Dixon and Friedmann inform us:
“Fossil fuels, especially petroleum, powered the industrialization of today’s rich countries and they still drive the world economy. But within the lifetimes of our grandchildren, the age of petroleum will wane.”
Therefore, Nations all around the world are looking to our example; so what can America do to insure a shift from the polluting petroleum-based energy to a viable clean source of energy produced from renewable resources? The process to find reliable ways to use renewable resources such as wind, solar, and hydrogen should be on the top of the proverbial list of things America needs to do. The American people need to demand a course of action, which utilizes the same urgency, used during World War II to create the Atom Bomb; by doing this it would insure quick and reliable results to America’s energy problems. Dixon and Friedmann tell us, “When it comes to energy, we are trapped between a rock and several hard places.” They explain, “Sadly, most alternatives to conventional oil can’t give us the immense amount of energy we need without damaging our environment, jeopardizing our national security or bankrupting us.”
I disagree that converting to alternative energy will bankrupt us; on the contrary, it should help the economy, by creating a vast new job market. It would also help, not hinder America’s national security, because it would free our military from the need to use oil to power its machinery, such as its tanks, jets, and ships. Converting to renewable energy would also help to stop the transfer of wealth to countries, which possess hostile feelings directed towards America. Therefore, as a result this conversion may help to prevent future attacks on American soil, by helping to bankrupt America’s enemies.
Americans need to demand that our government begin to implement a plan, which would use nuclear, solar, and hydrogen power in a clean and efficient way. Until these alternative energy sources become available on a wide enough scale that they are available for implementation in to the world’s societies, the American people should heed to Nering’s words:
“I must emphasize that reducing the growth rate is not what most people are talking about now when they advocate conservation; the steps they recommend are just Band-Aids. If we increase the gas mileage of our automobiles and then drive more miles, for example, that will not reduce the growth rate. Reducing the growth of consumption means living closer to where we work or play. It means telecommuting. It means controlling population growth. It means shifting to renewable energy sources.”
America is the greatest nation in the world and if we hold our leaders to the promises made, to redirect our energy policies, we can once again lead the world in the fight to end man made contributions to Global Warming.
Why when faced with the biggest problem of our generation, are Americans so unaware of the need to free themselves from non-renewable energy? Americans are so unaware of the problems non-renewable energy is causing, because of the lack of information they possess. The lack of information is partly due to the mistrust of the news industry, and the out-right lack of people following the news. It seems that the news companies have become political cheerleaders for the Democratic and Republican parties, which is just the opposite of the “Public Watch Dog” they are supposed to be. Corruption in our government caused by lobbyists is also a big contributor to the lack of reliable information provided to the American people; this is due to the political puppetry led by the oil industries hands. Should we as Americans alter our way of life to counter global climate change? Yes, it is essential that we alter our way of life to counter global climate change, because it is our moral obligation to leave this world in as good a shape as we inherited it. Moreover, we should try to leave this planet in a better overall condition, to help insure the same quality of life that we had, for the future generations, who will inevitably inherit the earth.
Countries all around the world are looking to our example, so what can America do to help free it’s self from the toxic refuge that it has become so accustom with? In order for Americans to free themselves from non-renewable energy: First, we need to demand that our government changes its energy policies, by implementing a plan, which uses clean renewable energy sources to power our country. Second, we need to implement a government-backed program in our school systems, which would require a curriculum that explains the need for conservation and the ill effects which non-renewable energies are contributing to the World. Finally, Americans need to take it upon themselves to consume less. If we can take these steps in an effective way, the rest of the world would most likely follow in America’s leading footsteps, which would lead them on a path to end the unfavorable effects that non-renewable energy is contributing to Global Climate Change.
2011 © T.G. Hopkins III
Nering, Evar. “The Mirage of a Growing Fuel Supply.”
New York Times Op-Ed. 4 June 2001. 14 October 2008. <http://www.puaf.umd.edu/puaf741/notes/2-Tools/NYT-01-06-04-Mirage-of-growing-fuel-supply.htm> .
Dixon " Homer, Thomas and Friedmann Julio S. “Coal in a nice shade of green.”
The New York Times Op-Ed 26 March 2005.14 October 2008.
Mindich T.Z David. “The Collapse of Big Media: the Young and the Restless.”
Wilson Quarterly. 2005. 14 October 2008.<http://academics.smcvt.edu/dmindich/wilsonquarterly.htm>.
© 2012 Tommy
Added on April 27, 2011
Last Updated on April 20, 2012