Crisis of Energy
- Obama: Spill Can Signal End to Oil Addiction
NPR's report on the speech
On Tuesday, June 15th 2010, President Obama gave the American People a status report on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.
To begin with, it is refreshing to hear a leader speak in terms of encouragement and hope, not fear. But there is, to me, a major component missing from Obama's plans for energy independence that he presented.
For some reason, President Obama seems unwilling to advance energy conservation as a component of energy independence. I can understand why; oil, natural gas and coal all have powerful lobbies, and help drive the economies of many key states. Also, with the Republicans making 60 votes the required amount for almost any legislation to pass, he needs every vote he can get.
Of course, a conservation agenda would mean that American Culture would have to shift from one based on consumption to one on sustainability. Change our measure from how much we have, to how long things last. A change in how Americans live, work, and perhaps even eat. These changes would be long-term, spanning perhaps generations.
A first stage toward this transition would be something that Obama made little mention of in the speech, and something that could help energize the Democratic grassroots base. Reduce the political power of corporations and CEOs. It is these forces who stand to lose the most from a sustainable society, and are the ones leading the cries to "Drill, Drill, Drill", and likely behind the obstructionists of the GOP and their mouthpieces like Beck and Limbaugh.
But the transition needs to made, if just to allow the technical measures to take root. We've made such transitions before in America, and I don't see why we can't do it again. The question still is, how willing are we to do so.