My friend and fellow agitator for a better world Lee Burkett, posted the following thoughts to my Facebook wall a while back.
This term – energy independence – I don’t think it means what they think it means.
Both the government and Big Oil are spending a lot time and money selling us the idea that America must be energy independent, beholden to no foreign country to meet our energy needs. This, they tell us, will ensure our freedom, our security and our way of life.
What’s missing from this optimistic, upbeat message is that in order for that to happen we have to invade virtually every nation on Earth that has oil, drone them, slaughter them, subjugate them and generally treat them like pesky mosquitoes unfit for life. Every nation, that is, who choose not to play by our rules. The Saudi Emirates, for example, know the rules, tow the line, support American Imperialism and they’re profiting tremendously.What’s missing from this fairy tale story is that our government and Big Energy, of which Big Oil is a kind of older brother, in no way want for us as citizens of the country and the world to be energy independent from them, they just want to be the only source of energy available. Independence for them, co-dependency for us.
They won’t tell you that this utopia they’re peddling involves the wholesale destruction of the air, the water and the land, that it involves using known toxins and poisons, and that they are under no obligation to reveal what poisons and toxins they use, or where they use them or how much of these things they release into the environment.
They won’t tell you that their vision requires a lifelong commitment from us to line up and spend our entire lives paying them for our energy needs. They won’t tell you that whatever they decide to charge us will have to be accepted. They won’t tell us that energy independence for them means energy slavery for all of us.
But it is a masterful story. Well scripted, well presented by faces and names we know and trust. The sincerity of it all, the ‘we’re all in this together’ rosy cheeked optimism of it all is very compelling.
No. No. And again, no!
No, government and Big Energy do not want us to seek and find easy, clean, renewable energy sources that are owned by individual citizens, who create enough energy to provide for all of their own needs. That sort of energy independence can’t be allowed.
The truth is that there is technology right now, sitting on shelves in warehouses that could immediately be used to break forever the chains of energy enslavement.
They won’t tell you that such technologies are by their very nature more local and more labor intensive, which would provide much needed employment. They won’t tell that such energy sources are very, very difficult to monopolize, to turn into global cartels of power and money and influence. They won’t tell you that as more and more of us begin using these alternate energy sources, ingenuity will come to the fore and make these systems even better, easier, less expensive.
No, you’re not going to hear that. Not from them.
Once again, Lee gets it right. Energy independence means wars of aggression for at least a few more generations, until the oil becomes so scarce and difficult to reach that even the deep pockets of Big Oil can’t afford to chase it and still make the kind of unholy profits they’ve become accustomed to.
It’s been said by many experts that renewable energy sources are not the answer, that all other sources combined cannot replace that of fossil fuels like oil, natural gas, and coal, and I agree. What our leaders need to accept and act upon is the fact that our entire way of life, indeed capitalism itself, is unsustainable and is killing the planet (and all of us with it).
No, we can’t replace our current energy sources with cleaner methods and renewables, but we can replace some of them and begin to restructure our society away from profit driven, greed motivated, ‘I’ve got mine, screw the rest of you’ thinking and end up with a much cleaner, safer world for our progeny.
We don’t all need a new smart phone every other year, we don’t need to import our food from the far corners of the world, or our clothing, building materials, medicines, and other commodities. That doesn’t mean returning to the stone age, the Iron Age, or even the agrarian civilization the founders of this nation were part of, but it does mean we cannot keep consuming everything in sight and funneling vast amounts of money into the pockets of a few neo-feudal lords while the rest of us live off the crumbs they leave and send our children to fight and die killing the children of our neighbors around the planet to support such lavish lifestyles.
We need to re-learn how to live with less, demand products be built to last and be repaired rather than thrown away after a short while. We need to develop smaller scaled infrastructures like hydro-power, wind and tidal electric generation. We need to rebuild our manufacturing capacity and again make our clothing and tools on smaller scales closer to home. We need to learn to live without strawberries in January (unless they happen to be in-season then where we live). We need to transition to a simpler more humane way of living that meets the needs of all of us without raping the planet or pillaging the lands and murdering the children of our fellow men in other places.
I don’t know how to get our leaders to see that this is the most important issue of our time or how to make them begin working toward that better world, but it must be done, and soon. I don’t have the answers but I sincerely believe that if each of you who reads these words will continue to spread the message and the urgency of it, maybe, just maybe we have a chance to outrun the stampede of blind greed racing ever closer to the cliff that looms on our horizon.