Tuesday, December 04, 2007

You Always Were Two Steps Ahead

Yesterday, I walked out of the unnamed university's library and into the maelstrom. The sky overhead boiled, a raging, filthy gray, while off to the north: tranquil blue. I marveled for a moment at the almost comical angle the light took across the streets and through the trees.

"Things just haven't been the same since someone dropped that house on my sister," I said. Then I drove to the orthodontist. Speaking of driving, my favorite road trip ever puts it in gear every Monday night on the Science Channel, as three brainy characters drive around, checking out green technologies other brainy characters have brainly geared up. Look at this amazing episode guide:
Deep Fried Diesel
Monday, November 19 at 10pm et/pt
Get in the van with Chris, Nobu and Micah as they convert their diesel guzzling bus to run on pure vegetable oil, learn to make bio-diesel and explore cutting edge hybrid vehicle technologies.

Human Power
Monday, November 26 at 10pm et/pt
Nobu, Chris and Micah get the solar tech lowdown from California solar pioneers, install a panel to their bus, build a bike out of bamboo and then head to Oregon test drive the The Human Car.

Sun Power
Monday, December 3 at 10pm et/pt
Chris, Nobu and Micah battle veggie engine trouble on the road to exploring solar concentrators, micro-hydro power generation, state-of-the art lighting alternatives and solar ovens.

Dirt Rules
Sunday, December 16 at 3pm et/pt
Big trek to the Mid-West where Micah, Chris and Nobu install a floating wetland made from recycled bottles, see how to turn food waste into methane gas, learn about urban agriculture, and build a green roof on their green bus.

Last night, Pete and I watched Human Power and Dirt Rules. The floating island thing looked brilliant. I totally want to install some in the Raritan River and claim them in the name of France. Earth worm farming is great, great stuff and I'm utterly inspired by the green roof technology. Plus, our hosts are utterly charming at every turn. They helped me put my finger on what's bothering me about the public discourse regarding energy: the American public is waiting for oil companies and utilities to solve this problem without any public involvement. The public is used to going about its business, and fully intends to do so now.

This is not the ad that makes my skin crawl but it's from the same agency and certainly the same campaign. BP - now "Beyond Petroleum" - and DuPont want you to know they've partnered up to head off an oil-based Apocalypse, and your consumer future is secure. There are so many things wrong with this I'll stick to one little sticky point: the oil companies are the major beneficiaries of the Iraq War. Not us. Not the Iraqis. The oil companies. You can say that by extention we benefit when things go well for the oil companies but that's like saying if your drug dealer's rolling in it your future of shooting up is secure.

The thing Invention Nation gently points out is that the oil companies cannot offer a solution to America's oil problem unless they get out of the oil business. I don't see anyone rushing to do that, do you? Nope. The solutions to our energy problems will come from people and businesses who see the future clearly. The solutions will come from people like you and me, who see that this addiction corrupts and contorts, and we want to be free of it.

Dick Cheney doesn't get the ruby slippers if you don't give them to him. They're yours. You have the power. What will you do?



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