It was five years ago that I began to become aware of energy and the importance of its role in everything. Now as a regular contributor/columnist for many online commentary sites and newspapers, as well as a regular guest on radio and TV programs, people often comment on my passion for the subject of energy. They wonder how I became so engaged in a topic few people even care about.
My newest book, my twentieth but the first in the current affairs genre, explains my passion. Energy Freedom attempts to present energy in such a way that it becomes a subject everyone is aware of, can understand, and wants to influence.
I do not come from an energy, science, or public policy background. I’ve spent my life in speaking and writing either as a communicator or a trainer of communicators. When circumstances in my personal life mandated that I get a real job, I never imagined that I could be so enthusiastic about something not of my own making.
In September 2006, I accepted a position at Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE) and became Executive Director on January 1, 2007. Back then, like most people, I knew little more about energy than putting gas in my car or flipping a switch on the wall. Since then, I’ve had some great teachers and been an eager student.
In my personal energy education, I’ve read many exhaustive tomes offering a thorough treatment on the subject. Engineers or professors wrote the books. If you want to understand the difference between a watt, horsepower, and a joule, I can recommend several books for you—but not Energy Freedom. My book is for the average American energy consumer who knows that energy costs are going up, but doesn’t understand why; and for the person who is newly politically engaged out of concern for the direction America is heading.
Energy Freedom I: Environmental Utopia
Section One, Environmental Utopia, is based on original research I did in 2007, and it remains the foundation for both my passion for the subject and for Energy Freedom.
I started by looking at both well-known environmental groups and smaller, regional, and/or specifically targeted-issue groups to draft a broad view of the environmentalists’ goals as they relate to energy. There is widespread belief that oil, gas, and coal—all fossil fuels—are at the base of much of the world’s ills. Nuclear is not too popular with the green gang either.
In Environmental Utopia, I draw the green goals out to their logical conclusion.
Here’s a sampling of what could happen to four major aspects of American life if the environmentalists were in charge.
Transportation: Most Americans have the freedom to come and go in their individual cars as they choose. A 2006 survey found that 91% of Americans consider their cars to be a necessity, not a luxury. Yet environmental extremists are actively working to stop or prevent drilling for oil and gas. They also aim to shut down coal-fueled power plants and oppose nuclear energy. With a reduced capacity for electricity and transportation, our lifestyle, as we know it, ceases to exist.
Modern Conveniences: The same survey found that most Americans consider things like microwaves, air conditioning and heating, computers, and cell phones to be a necessity. However, in a limited-fuel, environmentally controlled society, these items would have to go. They all require electricity—as do electric cars. Additionally, each of these “necessities” is made from plastic and plastic is typically made from hydrocarbons.
Health: Like modern conveniences, our health is heavily dependent on both energy and plastics. If you have been in a doctor’s office or hospital lately, you know that even taking your temperature requires electricity and plastics. Today’s extreme regulations could have an adverse impact on our health.
Housing: Without abundant electricity to purify water and pump it into your home and remove and process waste matter, you couldn’t live there. You’d need to move to a location near a fresh water source. Additionally, many environmental groups want to block the cutting of trees—making the construction of new homes near a potential fresh water source virtually impossible.
Energy Freedom II: Who are the Environmentalists?
As I speak on energy, and specifically on the influence of environmentalists, I am frequently asked, “Why do they do this?” Followed by: “They are destroying America.” Unfortunately that is the goal.
These professional environmentalists—not to be confused with the nice lady in the grocery store wearing Birkenstocks and carrying a canvas grocery sack—may look green on the outside, but the real motive is much closer to red. Red like neo-communism, neo-socialism—or just plain control. Green on the outside, red on the inside. Like a watermelon.
These watermelons are well funded, many of them working with multi-million dollar budgets. They’ve been it at for a long time and have patiently made incremental changes. They mostly do not hold political office. Without violence, they have attacked minds. They have transformed society.
I had the opportunity to hear Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace when he spoke in New Mexico in 2009, where he said that the environmental movement depends on politics of confrontation—which he defined as telling people what they should not do. Moore explained that the ’80s ushered in the age of environmental extremism. The basic issues, for which he and Greenpeace fought, had largely been accomplished, and the general public was in agreement with the primary message. In order for the environmentalists to stay counter-culture, they had to adopt ever more extreme positions. “What happened is environmental extremism,” said Moore. “They’ve abandoned science and logic altogether.”
The extremist message today is “anti”—anti-human, anti-science, anti-technology, anti-trade and globalization, anti-business and capitalism, and ultimately, anti-civilization. No wonder it seems no regulation goes far enough to appease them.
Energy Freedom III: Green Schemes
The spotted owl, DDT, and ethanol are a sampling of campaigns that have changed an industry or damaged the economy for naught. Once you understand the history, you won’t be fooled with the next green scheme—such as cutting emissions (for the sake of “public health”) to levels lower than those found in nature.
Energy Freedom IV: Act Now!
Parts One through Three are about waking up; Section Four is about showing up, standing up, and speaking up. I present an action plan and simple steps that will help you make a difference!
As I speak to groups throughout the country, I find most Americans are now awake. However, like someone who’s heard a noise in the night, we are awake, but scared—pulling the covers up around us. If the noise in the night were really something of concern, sitting in bed surrounded by comfort, would not chase away the scare. We’d need to scream to let them know we are there, call 911, and grab a weapon.
Our weapon is to show up, stand up, speak up—even if only figuratively.
Remember cap and trade? This was one of President Obama’s campaign promises. With those in support of the carbon emission limiting legislation in control of all three houses, it should have passed easily. But the American people “screamed” in the form of Tea Parties and town hall meetings. We gave Congress an earful and cap and trade never passed—and never will.
Debate Entry Points
There are dozens of hearings and meetings each week that include city, regional, state, and national issues. They need you! These are usually held during normal business hours and have minimal mention in the media—meaning that you have to be alert to the issues and track what is going on. They often slip by unnoticed until the plan they implemented is enacted and people realize another freedom has disappeared.
Your voice is needed. Your voice matters. Not just for the big rallies and town hall meetings, not just for the hearings, but through phone calls and e-mails. This is another way you can show up, stand up, and speak up—and you do not even have to go anywhere or carry a sign.
Committee and board members and elected officials at every level may want to vote against the energy-killing policies, but they need cover. They need to be able to quote volumes of responses they’ve had on the matter. Those responses can be in person, via e-mail, or by phone. Elected officials can often be heard on the news stating that their offices have been overwhelmed with calls and e-mails over a particular bill. They cite the numbers as an indication of how strongly their constituency feels about how they vote.
The easiest way to speak up is to have your representatives’ phone numbers programmed into your phone. When you are have an unexpected wait, simply dial their number and tell them how you feel on an issue. Praise for a good vote is helpful, too. Let them know they are being watched.
E-mails and faxes are also helpful. Don’t bother sending a paper letter. Just make the call or send the e-mail asking them to vote for or against the issue at hand.
How do you maintain your real life and stay abreast of when you should go to a hearing or write/call an elected official? You communicate with groups or organizations that support your views. Before an important vote or hearing, we send out e-mail alerts asking for your participation. Most groups are networked with others, and we send out announcements for one another. Begin to build an e-mail list of your friends and then forward alerts on to them.
Another source is talk shows and newspapers. When a viewpoint you support is presented, respond. Contact the talk show or write a “letter” to the editor (LTE). They need to know what their audience wants; they need to keep you. If you write a letter to the editor and it doesn’t get published—especially in a major metropolitan area—do not be discouraged. The bigger papers get more than they can publish, but like contacting your elected officials, your voice still gets counted. You’ve spoken up.
These are just a few practical suggestions for showing up, standing up, and speaking up. Changing the course of public policy takes more than being aware of the problem. It takes action. I believe together we can turn back the tide.
Together we can keep the green movement on the defense. They’ve been trying to make us replace economical energy that works with electricity that is expensive, intermittent, and ineffective. But America noticed. We woke up. Now we need to continue to show up, stand up, and speak up.
Remember: if they take away your energy, they have taken your freedom.