Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Human Power

Seems ironic that just three days after giving a dire address from the Oval Office regarding the pitfalls of an oil addicted economy President Obama was cutting the ribbon on the ten thousandth roads project funded under the Federal Stimulus Package. Here is a portion of what he had to say:

“I think that it’s fitting that we’ve reached this milestone here in this community, because what you’re doing here is a perfect example of the kind of innovation and coordination and renewal that the Recovery Act is driving all across this country.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m no Obama basher and frankly barring Al Gore he’s the best guy out there for the job, but for goodness sakes he’s got to pull his head out of the sand. First I have to ask myself what “innovation” is he talking about, I don’t know how you innovate a road. The automobile is the downfall of our nation and here our President is celebrating yet more pavement. I’ll bet there isn’t a bike lane on that “innovative” stretch of blacktop.

The only thing Republicans have right on the energy subject is that there is no substitute for oil. James Howard Kunstler put it succinctly when he wrote in the Washington Post:

"But the truth is that no combination of solar, wind and nuclear power, ethanol, biodiesel, tar sands and used French-fry oil will allow us to power Wal-Mart, Disney World and the interstate highway system -- or even a fraction of these things -- in the future. We have to make other arrangements."

Well said.

The magic bullet, the only alternate energy source that offers any hope is human energy. Every family is welcome to have a car, but they should also have raincoats, good shoes and bicycles. Automobiles should only be used occasionally and we should ride and walk either to our destinations or to mass transit centers. The major obstacle in implementing this new way of life is the American belief that one shouldn’t be uncomfortable.

Over the past forty years our lives have become so easy and so comfortable that we’ve lost sight of the fact that we don’t melt in the rain. We are not sugar, we are not the Wicked Witch of the West. We Americans are going to have to face the truth that just because something is easy that doesn’t make it right. Or conversely if something is hard that doesn’t make it wrong.

It is going to take some courage on behalf of our leaders to tell us straight – the party is over, now get your butt on a bike and pedal, and when you get off that bike have a cheese Danish, you’ve deserved it.

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