A Dream for a Future with Alternative Energy
"America has become a vassal state to OPEC. Our military men and women are offered as a serf army to the OPEC nations. We use billions of US tax dollars and the blood of our soldiers to preserve the power of these unpopular governments. Wind power and solar energy could quickly free us from OPEC's shackles." - Hulagu's Web
In the first quarter of 2005, the cost of a gallon of gas climbed to the highest price ever. In that same period ExxonMobil, the behemoth global oil company, surged forward as the largest and most profitable corporation in the world valued at more than $402 billion on Feb. 28th. The American public funded this success through military operations to secure the oil and in turn, pay for the success with higher and higher prices at the pumps.
While America politicians and businesses clamor over the dwindling global oil reserves, other countries are taking necessary actions to replace oil as their principle energy source. Germany and France have both implemented successful alternative energy programs, dramatically reducing their dependency on oil, and oil rich countries. This is perhaps one of the principle reasons why their governments are labeled as uncaring towards America's political predicament with foreign oil. While America spends billions to secure oil resources with their military, Germany and France pour their wealth into expanding their alternative energy programs. It's a race that America is losing. Politically, the American blight in the Middle East is of great advantage to countries in support of renewable energy, because these countries are getting a head start on the global race towards the technological development of more efficient renewable energy systems. Billions spent on preservation of the status quo of the OPEC nations assures France and Germany oil for the immediate future. At the same time, the money saved from opting out of participation in the Coalition can be used to build many alternative energy resources and research new methods of securing renewable energy. Well-orchestrated protests against American involvement in Iraq and other Middle East countries endears Canada, France and Germany to the world.
"Implementing alternative energy requires us to be motivated; as we know it's much easier to simply hook into the 'grid'." -- David Suzuki
Why is America so dependent on oil and unwilling to seriously turn to alternative energies to gain freedom from OPEC's shackles? A principle reason is the naivety regarding possible options of renewable energy, coupled with the distorted way big oil and their hoard of PR people compare the cost of oil against the cost of other energy sources. The cost of a barrel of oil is used to determine its kilowatt/hour cost. That price is stripped clean of the billions spent each year for securing the oil. The barrel price only reflects OPEC's asking price. Not considered in the kilowatt/hour cost is the tax money spent on military mobilization to assure the resources of companies like ExxonMobil reach American shores. The death of American soldiers and their overwhelming sacrifices to keep oil flowing, to power America, or to squander on SUV's and ATV's, is never considered as a part of the oil cost in the corporate offices of the energy titans.
Some feel adamant that alternative energy will not only provide cheaper energy but remedy or at least diminish the primary reasons for ongoing global conflict. Alternative energy provides the ability to offer a large level of redundancy in sources so that countries are not dependent on the natural resources of another nation. It also provides a much cleaner energy, reducing the tremendous pollution problem of fossil fuel. The profitability of alternative energy is an investment that starts today and pays off tomorrow.
Most alternative energy resources are much safer to produce and use. The oil business, however, has a bad history of subjecting even their employees to dangers in the production and transportation of the fuel. On March 23, 2005 a huge explosion erupted in an oil refinery in Texas wounding around 70 employees and killing 14. In the Tosco Avon Refinery in Martinez, California, an explosion in 1999 killed 4 employees. After an investigation that refinery was closed and lawsuits are still raging over the accident. Oil spills are another major hazards unique to the oil industry. Most are not as infamous as the Exxon Valdez Spill, but they all are damaging and happen frequently with ships breaking apart and trucks overturning. The results are death of people, wildlife and long term environmental damage.
How can America embrace alternative energy and reduce the dependency on politically volatile foreign oil? Realize that alternative energy is now cheaper for any country than oil. The military expense involved with the procurement of oil is a hidden fee, paid through taxes and with lives. The American working class pays the bulk of this burden as higher taxes than any other group. Education is the answer in the US, because the reality of alternative energy is realized by the simplicity and beauty of wind power and solar energy. It is insane to continue the ongoing effort, extending the use of a fuel that is so scarce, dangerous, polluting, monopolized, and produced by politically unstable entities. America's energy crisis can be solved quickly with alternative energy. There is no need for another soldier to die on foreign soil, leaving loved ones to grieve. This should be America's focus, not finding more oil fields or even destroying the Alaskan wildlife reserve just to squeeze a few more barrels out of the ground, to face the same problem in a few more years. Prolonging agony does not suspend agony -- it saves agony for later.
For millions of years the sun has been shining down on our planet and will do so for many more eons. With the advances in solar energy starting right now, every electrical need could be satisfied with solar power and the grid. What America needs is a federal government New Deal that pours billions into renewable energy, instead of subsidizing big oil and shoring up corrupt oil producing countries. America probably will not get a deal such as this, because big oil owns too many of their congressmen.
The states themselves are an entirely different story. New Mexico just announced a $20 million dollar solar energy program to retrofit government and school building with solar panels proving some legislative entities actually have the guts to help lead America to a more energy sustainable direction.
Wind is abundant all over the world and in the USA it can generate ample energy, if promoted and utilized now. Advancements in technology will continually improve with the right backing, politically and financially. Wind turbines are quiet and have an unending resource to produce energy for any country smart enough to use them. The state of California and Texas have incorporated wind energy into their energy programs. Other states such as Massachusetts have been stymied by Senators like Ted Kennedy, who claims wind turbines are great but are unsightly and a threat to birds.
In the book "Hulagu's Web," Senator Katherine Laforge expressed that "The death of a bird a day is a much more acceptable price to pay than the life of an American soldier a day to secure our oil from some foreign land. Man is also part of the ecological system."
Laforge's rebuttal in David Hearne's novel is one of clarity with regards to human responsibility for self-determination.
The oil industry and its cronies are famous for deceptive practices and self-serving logic.
"There is no such thing as clean energy," Warburg said. "The Cape Wind project will have some adverse environmental impacts. Some birds may be killed by windmill rotors 'the draft EIS predicts about one bird a day. The wind farm will be visible from some nearby coastal areas. Some may like the way it looks, some may not."
The whole point of alternative energy is to provide sustainable, clean, cost effective, and localized energy to our communities. Communities must stand up to politicians and oil companies that want to hamper our emergence from relying on foreign oil. Sending jobs overseas does not solve the problem -- it puts civilians in a war-zone. The tremendous profits that ExxonMobil makes with oil offers little incentive to their stockholders to help steer this behemoth to a more sensible energy sources. However, from deep within this 400 billion dollar company a small group formed Campaign ExxonMobil, a coalition of concerned shareholders. These cash-smart stockholders actually are fighting within this company to make change on the issue of global warming and ExxonMobil's disregard for renewable energy, because they see a huge potential for profit if the company acts now.
Alternative energy communities will have a realized advantage over oil-driven communities in the future. Oil proponents are afraid of advancements in technology that could put an end to the oil hegemony, so they fight progress bitterly. Taxpayers, scientists and philanthropists will be the ones to compel governments to change policy and redirect our collective energies to beneficial results. We have to work together, not just as countries, but as wise corporations and citizens.
Wind turbines spin from the wind and store energy at a very impressive rate, while Thermal Depolymerization recycles bio-matter into usable crude oil and solar power gathers rays from the sun. Thermal Depolymerization has hit the break-even mark and is continually improving.
OPEC and big oil is not going away without a fight.
"Propped up against the base of the wind turbine was the body of Frank Payne. His blood soaked clothes glisten under the full moon as blood still oozed from his slit throat. A note hung from a knife stabbed into his face. Senator Laforge was overcome with anger and remorse as she stared at the gristly sight of her brutally murdered campaign manager. Why did they kill him? Has the big oil cartel supplemented intimidation, violence and political coercion now with murder to stop alternative energy programs? She reached for the note." Chapter 10 Hulagu's Web
Is this vision in Hulagu's Web preposterous? Would companies with billions at stake, political cronies in their pockets and the most powerful army in the world securing their product, consider assassination an option to stop the takeover of Alternative energy? Let's hope not, but selling oil at exorbitant prices and refusing to address the problem of global warming and simple pollution produced by fossil fuels leaves us with a bit of doubt. What is the answer to the energy crisis? Is it adding more resources to the problem, digging a bigger hole, or is it finding a new deal, a new resource, ample enough for thousands of years of technological advancement?
"The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind..." -- Bob Dylan
About the Author
About the Author: Robert S. Leonard is a freelance writer and PHP developer currently residing in the Kingston area (Ontario, Canada).