We’ve lived for the past eight years like we were in a vacuum. We’ve wanted to pretend that nothing we did had any impact on the environment, that the United States could act unilaterally and not suffer the consequences, and that “balance” was an ugly word, superseded in the “New Order” by anything that would immediately satisfy our needs. But, now the chickens are coming home to roost, and the United States is feeling the heat. We are hated by much of the world, and our economy is collapsing under the weight of our own intemperance.
The Republican party has, for the last eight years, appealed to people’s fears and to their own avarice to keep themselves in power, despite the resounding defeats they’ve been suffering at the polls. I like to think that America is finally waking up to the Ruse; hence, the huge cry at the polls for Change, even though most Americans can’t tell you what that change is.
One of the things that is clear is that Americans generally do not believe we can ignore the environment. They understand that part of our role on this planet is to be good stewards of it, and that means to take care of it well regardless of whether or not it is inconvenient and maybe a bit painful for us. It is a sacrifice of the short term gain for the long term view, something Americans do not do without pain. President Bush is right when he says we are addicted to oil (and that’s a hilarious recognition coming from him). He even demonstrates it by then calling for the opening of the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for drilling. He is showing that he is willing to risk damaging the long term gain for the instant gratification of the addict.
I’ve spent most of my life working with various forms of technology. I’ve seen the pattern over and over again. We take some new technology, especially if it’s going to expensive, and put it on a pedestal and tell our people all the glorious things it’s going to do for us, whether we know it can really achieve it or not.
I’ve spent the last several decades of my life getting back in touch with my love for nature. And during that time I’ve come to appreciate both how strong and how fragile Nature can be. Nature and technology can co-exist, but only when we have the wisdom to make sure that we give Nature it due and don’t always count on our technology to behave in the ways we expect it to. It often doesn’t.
While there may be drilling techniques that minimize the disruption that opening ANWAR to drilling might cause, this is only if things go as planned. Secondly, we often pride ourselves on knowing more about wild ecosystems than we really do. There is no way every impact of drilling in ANWAR can be understood without years of preliminary studies; and in my opinion, there is absolutely no reason to go there. ANWAR is one of the prestine areas that need to remain that way and not put on the altar of Oil, as too many American lives already have been because of our dependence on the Middle East. Opening ANWAR would only provide another band-aid, enable the users a little more, so that the root cause of the problem is not dealt with. Anyone who understands addiction knows that it will never be dealt with until the addict feels the pain of the disease, and feels it to the point where he/she is ready to overcome their fear of change. Anyone who understands addiction also knows that for some users, it never happens. They die rather than face the truth, face change, and gain Love.
The U.S. has sat with its head up its ass and its hands in its pockets ever since the first shots warning of our energy dependence were fired across our bow in the 1970’s. The problem has been with us for over thirty years, so it’s reasonable to also assume it may take that long or longer to find the solutions to it. We will only make things worse by not dealing with its root causes. Our current sources of alternative energies all have both technological problems and environmental impacts; we need to be wary and dealing with both as we press down the road to energy independence. Wind power ruins vistas and poses a threat to birds; nuclear leaves us with a waste problem that can have devastating short term and long term effects; sun power is too underdeveloped, and no one’s studied the long term effects of hydrogen on the planet’s water supplies (which prove to be as big a mistake as using corn ethanol as a replacement for gasoline). The good news is that means there’s a lot of work to do and that means a lot of jobs, though we may all suffer in the short term as our economy adjusts to the long avoided shocks we’ve needed to wake up.architectural features