Our Energy Future – Where’s the Discussion?

May 9th, 2012 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Our Energy Future – Where’s the Discussion?

So yesterday was a voting day in many critical areas throughout the country, and a chance to focus on what’s really important during some pretty challenging times… right? Well, let’s take a look. North Carolina (my current home state) voted to ban gay marriage (which has already been illegal in the state for the past 16 years) while Colorado Republicans killed a measure to approve such civil unions. And, in a stunning development, Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law bills that will allow Michigan residents to carry Tasers – if they already have a concealed-carry pistol license. This is the kind of stuff that’s deemed either important enough to vote on, or important enough to be taken up by our legislative process… OMG!

We’re in serious trouble. The really sad part is that issues that truly matter, such as our environment and energy plan for the future, aren’t even close to being a part of our national discussion.  Quite honestly, it’s very difficult to imagine when or if this discussion will occur, when one of our major political parties doesn’t even see energy or the environment as a serious issue. So, on that light note, I thought it might be nice on the day after election day to get a look at how things could actually be if we were in the mood for making intelligent, relevant, and sensible decisions.

This video is a talk at a TED Conference by Rob Hopkins, who leads a vibrant new movement of towns and cities that utilize local cooperation and interdependence to shrink their ecological footprints. In the face of climate change he developed the concept of Transition Initiatives — communities that produce their own goods and services, curb the need for transportation and take other measures to prepare for a post-oil future. While Transition shares certain principles with greenness and sustainability, it is a deeper vision concerned with re-imagining our future in a self-sufficient way and building resiliency.

I really like his idea of resiliency. As Mr. Hopkins says, “In many ways, the idea of resilience is a more useful concept than the idea of sustainability.” His aim is to rally neighborhoods, communities, and towns to take the lead through innovation, creativity and plain old hard work, in hope that government and leaders will follow; rather than doing nothing and simply hoping that “someday” our leaders will lead. It’s an impressive and inspiring strategy, and a nice refreshing antidote to yesterday’s voting mayhem. Enjoy.