Posts Tagged ‘Energy’

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Innocence Lost: The Travails of a US Citizen

23-Jul-2008

The war in Iraq has left me with muddled thoughts: I originally supported the war, now I oppose the reasons for entering it, but support completing what we started. The war has left me feeling betrayed, exhausted, vulnerable. In other words, politics as usual.

I feel America’s leaders have lied to us; either through gross incompetence or sheer deceit. I am leaning towards the latter. I thought President Bush spoke the truth when he said Saddam Hussein represented a real threat to the Middle East and Western civilization. I believed Colin Powell’s remarks to the UN about the strong evidence of weapons of mass destruction (and I think Powell believed them when he said them). I believed it was a necessary evil to use military force in Iraq – even if it would distract from the on-going efforts in Afghanistan. How idiotic of me.

Had Israel not destroyed the nuclear reactor in Iraq in the 1980s, then history may have been different. However, they did. We did not invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons, as politicians today try to re-write the reasons for the invasion. We nominally did it for security reasons. I now believe it was for a single reason: Oil. How could I have been duped so?

We squandered the good will of our citizens, the international community, and the resources in fighting the real battle against terrorism. All for what gain? Could I have been any more stupid?

I cringed at the so-called “Patriot Act”, because of how it impinged civil liberties – yet I did not actively oppose it. I thought it necessary in the wake of September 11 and our need for counter-terrorism. What I fool I have been.

The words of The Who resonate with me: “I get on my knees and I pray, we won’t get fooled again“.

I watched the Watergate hearings on television when I was young. Then, there was an aura of innocence lost. If the president could be so deceitful, what hope was there for integrity in any political process?

The feeling I have today is strangely reminiscent of that era.

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The Late, Great Planet Earth

8-Jul-2008

No, this is not about Hal Lindsey’s famous book. Rather, I had intended to write an article about anything other than energy/the environment However, two blog posts dragged me back in (screaming and kicking, you can be assured).

The posts describe the earth as dying, or in need of saving. I took issue with these posts, writing a comment, that in part said:

“[We can] neither save nor kill the earth (or the environment, for that matter).

“Mankind’s existence on this world is but an eye-blink, geologically speaking. No matter what we do to this earth, life will continue. We may destroy our own kind, and we may destroy other species. But, after we are gone, other species will evolve, and the earth will have forgotten about our brief presence. Hundreds of millions of years of life preceded us, and hundreds of millions of years of life will succeed us – regardless of what we do now.

“If we cannot destroy the earth, we cannot save it either. Therefore, what are we actually trying to save with environmentalism? ”

Making such broad claims of “saving the earth” smacks of smug, self-righteous, false-altruism. When someone says they want to “save the earth”, they imply that anyone who disagrees with them wants to destroy it. Such hyperbole is not helpful. A common consensus would be much easier to achieve when the real goals are spelled out. Otherwise, we may just as well be arguing over religion.

The author of the second blog I listed, responded with a well thought out response. In it, he stated a sentiment I can agree with; that the goals of environmentalism include the conservation of resources.

I would ask though: Conserve for whom? Ourselves. Future generations. Other species. After all, nature really doesn’t give a damn if we destroy an ecosystem; over time it will be replaced – but it’s impact on us humans can be devastating.

We should embrace environmentalism, not because the earth is in peril, but because it is the right thing to do – for ourselves.

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Cheap Gas! – Redux

3-Jul-2008

What price are we willing to pay to willfully waste oil?

Two blogs have caught my attention lately, that highlight a common theme – wasting energy purely for the sake of the waste. The first is a blog commentary about Rush Limbaugh’s intentional use of a gas-inefficient vehicle over long distances. He did this to “stick it to the environmentalists”. The second is in a similar vein – a blog entry in response to a commentator urging public buildings to reduce air conditioning. In order to flaunt his ability to waste energy, the blogger turned his thermostat down to 65 degrees Fahrenheit – even though he is not there to enjoy it.

Nominally, Rush and the blogger are the one bearing the “cost” of their actions. If they have the money, why shouldn’t they be allowed to do this – even if it is wasteful? Even though gas is $4.00 per gallon, these guys decided to use this expensive commodity, and pay for it themselves; right? But, what are the *real* costs?

How many marines are you willing to let die in the middle east, so Rush can drive his 12 mile-per-gallon behemoth? How many soldiers should lose their legs, arms, eyesight or portions of their brains, so bloggers can turn thermostats to 65 degrees – just to prove a point? Because these are the *real* costs.

We import more than a third of the energy we use (includes all raw energy we consume, like that used to generate electricity). More than one-fifth of the imports come from the Persian Gulf.  Significant imports also come from Nigeria and Venezuela. Do you think we would be fighting in Iraq if not for oil? If we are on a humanitarian mission there, then why do we not also fight in Rawanda? How about Zimbabwe? Cuba?

We, the people, have already funded terrorists via Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the Emirates. We have built the nuclear facilities in Iran. We ponied up the money for bin Ladin and his 9/11 band. All paid for by America’s oil obsession.

Why have we seen success disarming a nuclear North Korea (who’s leader is as much a whack job as anyone), but have no luck with Iran?

It is only a matter of time before we are involved in other wars on other continents. Nigeria is a corruption mess, that is becoming more and more important as an oil exporter to the United States. We are funding Hugo Chavez’s anti-American stance (and raising his role from petty-wacko dictator to regional trouble maker), by purchasing Venezuela’s oil. How long before troops are in Africa and South America, losing life and limb, so we can rest assured Rush can waste freely, and bloggers can freeze their abodes to prove their point?

At what price?

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