Monthly Archives: January 2009

The Crisis That Is Upon Us

As the global financial mess unfolds, people of different political philosophies are picking their favorite scapegoats – some vilifying greed on Wall Street while others vilify naive economic  presumptions built into government programs and regulations.

In the grand scheme of things, the economic fantasies underlying the now infamous credit default swaps are quite similar to those underlying many government programs. The Madoff ponzi scheme is not at all fundamentally  different from the vastly larger ponzi scheme built into the Social Security system, other than one has been perpetrated by an individual while the other has been created with the full blessing of Congress.

None of these issues getting the news are the underlying drivers of the current economic story.

And unfortunately, the desperate efforts the Fed and the US Treasury are making to try to restore economic growth are not real solutions and will at best postpone dealing with the underlying issues, ultimately making the problems harder to solve.

In my mind, we will all be best served by heeding the advice of a couple generally acknowledged geniuses:

“Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to see things as they are…not the way I believe they are” — Leonardo Da Vinci

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.” –Albert Einstein

My hope is that our new leaders find the strength to be braver and will start more honestly and realistically addressing the severe challenges we face rather than pretending that life might again be restored to what seemed to be reality just a year or two ago.

The bottom line is this: The fundamental source of our economic growth and prosperity over the last century is actually very simple to trace, as is the underlying cause of our current problems.

Energy is the life blood of the economy that enabled all the economic growth our society has enjoyed for the last century. Check out the chart on the “History of Energy Use in the United States 1635 – 2000” from the US Energy Information Administration.

Compare the time line to the growth of middle class prosperity relative to the way people have lived throughout history.

Is that energy consumption growth and the general prosperity that it created sustainable? Personally, I doubt it can be sustained with fossil fuels. We are hitting real limits to our vast energy waste.

The current crisis is focusing things clearly.

The only sources of energy possible to sustain economic prosperity without running into insurmountable environmental limits are renewables. We have some very heavy lifting  in the clean energy sector if the American Dream is to continue. Unfortunately, the huge transformation necessary is not going to happen spontaneously or quickly

Let me suggest that you watch the “Crash Course”.    It is an amazingly clear presentation of basic facts of economic and environmental reality, tied together in such a way as to explain the fundamental causes of the economic situation we are facing. The author Chris Martenson suggests a few solutions that you may find helpful at a personal level, but very consciously stays away from the political in an effort to help make sure folks remain open to hearing and understanding some basic facts necessary make reasoned and responsible decisions in the rapidly changing world we are entering.

As Martenson suggests in the Crash Course, the prosperity that we children of serfs, slaves and subsistence farmers enjoy today is built entirely on the work of modern energy slaves – primarily fossil fuel slaves. Unless we get our act together on energy efficiency and sustainable energy resources, it is highly possible that  our children will have to return to lives of serfs, slaves and subsistence farmers.  Unfortunately, what is highly unlikely is that the planet can support the hugely inefficient economic and land use models of century’s ago for today’s vast populations. And as has happened throughout history, serious economic stress presage much worse social stresses. Looking at the underlying fundamentals on that graph makes it somewhat hard to be hopeful.

In our society that is largely innumerate (arithmetically illiterate), it is important to help people realize that the issues fundamentally aren’t about politics or blame, but about numbers. Idealized politics won’t solve our problems. Smart engineers perhaps can help.

I am actually more hopeful than Martensen’s Crash Course seems to be. I really do believe that a massive shift to renewable energy resources and clean energy technologies can keep modern society progressing. But that will only happen if we manage to avoid destroying all the economic and political underpinnings of a democratic free market society. And the moral hazard embedded in most of the solutions coming out of Washington at times makes it hard to remain hopeful.

Having observed in my limited readings of history that markets seem to be an inevitable reality in human societies, whether officially sanctioned or run inefficiently as black markets, the political prejudice I am still holding to is a hope that our society isn’t foolish enough to destroy the rule of law and the fundamental market systems necessary to efficiently make the transformation to a clean energy economy.

Enjoy the Crash Course. Let me know what you think.


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Is The Problem Productivity Or Corruption?

The following is part of an exchange with my dad in 2006 in response to a friend of his asserting that modern efficiency and productivity were destroying jobs.


I  prefer to live my current lifestyle rather than hunting and gathering, plowing rocky farms with oxen, or even working in a slightly modern way but waiting three days for mail, using an old adding machine instead of a spreadsheet, and having a secretary type perfectly with no mistakes rather than just writing on my own and have the spell checker fix it.

Productivity is great news for us all really. As for unproductive companies folding, that’s the real beauty of capitalism. The lost jobs will be replaced by profitable efficient companies, creating greater wealth for our society as a whole.

Your friend’s misunderstanding is the same as that of most politicians in thinking that large corporations actually matter much. They only matter in that they can corrupt political and economic systems terribly and partner with governments to the distort  markets in uncompetitive ways.

But the economy is dominated by small business, the real engine of growth and prosperity in our society.

If we could keep the government and the large corporations under control, we could really have a prosperous society.

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The Poverty Of Kings And The Source Of Our Amazing Prosperity

The following is edited from part of an exchange with several folks anguishing over environmental degradation and economic equity on an on-line forum in 2002


It seems that the most important thing many guilt ridden environmentalists seem to leave out of the equation is the potential for technology and human ingenuity to improve lives without negative impact on the environment. In fact, because history is a long story of increased progress and efficiency, the “fair share” that has been alluded to here has been an ever increasing size share, of an ever increasing size pie, for an ever increasing number of people, throughout history. Thankfully, at least so far, our intelligence has helped us avoid all the catastrophic limits predicted by Malthus and his heirs.

Energy is the fundamental driver of human prosperity. If you look at the progress in the utilization of energy over the past millennium of so, one notes that as we’ve moved from wood, to coal, to oil, to natural gas as primary energy sources, several major changes have happened at each step.

1) More useful energy was taken from each unit of fuel (greater efficiency)

2) The carbon byproducts and other nastiness associated with utilization has dramatically decreased.

3) Peoples lifestyles and comfort have dramatically improved.

In fact, the history of energy technology is the history of increasing efficiency, increasing de-carbonization and increasing living standards for greater numbers of people. And that progress will continue as we move to an electricity and hydrogen based economy based on renewable energy generation.

We need to embrace and work hard toward solutions rather than anguishing under a restrained vision of what is possible. And we should quit guilt tripping ourselves and everyone else. We’ve been blessed with opportunities nobody else in history has ever had. We should endeavor to share those opportunities rather than renounce them. Enjoy your computers and the other gifts that are the benefit of a free and prosperous society and in your work try to help create a world where everyone else can enjoy these gifts too.

Think about how much wealthier a typical poor family in America is today compared to the richest kings of the middle ages: indoor plumbing, hot running water, rapid accessible year round transportation, incredible education opportunities, modern health care, modern communication, a vast array of entertainment on demand, fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world year round, modern sanitation and clean water……….. the list goes on.

Really there are only a few ways that a poor person in America today is lacking compared to the kings of old. First is a lack of self esteem and dignity derived from comparison to the greater wealth, comfort and respect enjoyed by most others in our society.  And there are obvious social differences compared to the unfounded deference and other perks of power that kings enjoyed from those considered subservient to them. And there is clearly a different level of freedom from worry about day to day matters relative to their contemporaries.

But measured in actual comfort, life span, health, and other meaningful measures of prosperity, America’s poor today are almost all actually far wealthier than the wealthiest people alive just a century ago.

Hopefully we can figure out what really matters in our own lives, and help create the conditions so that all of us can live the comfortable, meaningful and dignified lives that free modern societies are increasingly able to provide for everyone.

Cheerfully waiting for the onslaught,

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Free Market Solution To Detergent Pollution

The following was part of an exchange on in 1998 in response to the following request from Seth Melchert:

To better illustrate your various positions, can we do an online charrette?

Take the laundry detergent we were discussing some weeks back (it came as part of the thread on laundry discs). It was noted from laboratory studies that the actual amount of detergent needed to effectivly clean a load of laundry was a couple of tablespoons. This independent information is contrary to everything we see on the boxes and on commercials, where we see cupfuls being dumped in. I would hazard to guess that the companies know full well that they recommend excess servings, but that it enhances their profitability. (This would go along with images of toothpaste, shaving cream and shampoo). Furthermore, this is an environmentally-damaging situation, both in terms of manufacture (resource-consumption and pollution) and use (pollution). (Let’s leave out the additional issues of the public’s wasted wealth on the unneeded purchases for simplicity.)

OK, how does a free market effectively reduce or eliminate these wastes and pollution? How would a public’s value system change this? Whoprovides the revealing information that the advertisers are wrong?  In other words, folks, can you use this extant situation to illustrate your respective positions?



There is an unstated presumption in the outline of your charrette of an evil conspiracy by the detergent industry to get us all to use way too much unnecessary product.  I’d be very surprised if this were the case. But as we know from the oil industry and are seeing in the tobacco trials, once free markets are compromised by monopoly practice, all sorts of things are possible. Personally, I’d want to see more than one study before I jump to such conclusions, but I will experiment with less detergent in the next load of laundry this weekend.

For arguments sake, lets presume the research is correct and a couple spoons full would do the trick. Here’s my naive simple minded approach.

The first question: where is the leverage to intervene in the system most effectively:

a) As a consumer: not much leverage there except on a personal level.

b) As a government regulator: After years of study and debate you could promulgate regulations dictating everything from the formulation of detergent and the labeling on the box, to how and where advertising is permissible. (we don’t want impressionable young kids exposed to those habit forming detergent commercials) When all is said in done, even if the well intentioned goals are somewhat forwarded, the prices will be higher for everyone and future creativity and innovation in the industry will be stifled.

c) As a consumer advocate or environmental alarmist: You may get a bunch of people angry, make a name for yourself and help some lawyers get rich. The best possible practical outcome toward a solution would be to enable a government regulator (see b above), after adding even more unnecessary costs for the consumer in paying off the legal settlements in every teaspoon of detergent.

d) As a detergent manufacturer: You have the knowledge, resources, distribution and marketing systems and the profit motive to quickly and easily impact the system in a major and positive way.  If creative, you can dramatically bring down consumer costs by revealing “the true secrets to bright white laundry” that have been hidden for years by a Neanderthal and inefficient industry. (Any company large enough to manipulate the type of monopolistic conspiracy that you are presuming, will also be bloated, bureaucratic and ripe for a gorilla attack by a shrewd and nimble competitor.)

To effect a real solution, I would first choose to be an player with leverage. (The  answer to the quiz is D).

So, If I were a detergent manufacturer (and I didn’t have a monopoly), I would try to grab market share by publicizing the hell out of my new miracle detergent that makes clothes whiter and brighter with just a couple spoons full. To avoid Ralph Nader’s lawyers and the truth in advertising bureaucrats, I’d probably change some inert ingredient so it really was a new formula. But I wouldn’t feel at all ethically burdened  putting the same old stuff in a new box. Just by changing the directions on the cover, it lasts ten times as long for only twice the price. (sure I’d raise the price to whatever the market will bear) Five times more value for my customers than my leading competitors, and I am going to clean up on profits. Who could have ever imagined, that just by being honest, I could garnish five or ten times the profit margins selling a lowly commodity item like soap, that Intel makes on selling microprocessors. (See what I mean about the presumption of this whole charrette being  a little unlikely. It is fun though)

When competitors respond with similar advertising and a price war, I’ll call their bluff and raise the ante. Let the price wars begin. There’s surely plenty of room to drop prices in this scenario.

Of course you might argue this would eventually spiral profits down to unsustainable levels, driving everyone out of business. Perhaps, I doubt it, and it’s all in the plan.

I’ll create a cash war chest derived from preemptively “right-sizing” my operation to match the reduced demand, and beating the competition by months or likely years in the new marketing paradigm (Huge companies that enter conspiratorial collusions aren’t real fast on their feet. They’d have to do studies and hire consultants and try to sue me before they hit on a strategy  like actually competing with me). I’d pour money into R & D in order find a way to add truly unique value in my product or delivery system, so as to beat the competition at the next level of the game. In the end I know the efficient producers of the best products will win. “Winning”, by being a smart and honest player won’t enable me to vanquish my competitors, it’s what I have to do just to stay in the game.

If detergent is truly effective at low quantities, eventually at least a few players will match their production costs to the lowest sustainable pricing levels for the most efficient products they can make. When the air clears and the price wars are over, we’ll all have new expectations about laundry soap and less pollution in our rivers and steams.

Seth, I don’t know anything about the detergent business, but I would suspect this scenario is being played out constantly, unless the whole industry is reduced to only one or two monopolistic enterprises putting out supposedly “competing products” under different brand names and fixing prices. If this is the case, and it’s really true that only a little dab will do ya, real detergent executives should be putting help wanted ads in Sunday’s paper under “lawyer”, because it won’t be long before Janet Reno will be knocking on their doors.

Alas, there is a legitimate role for government in my simple world. I might even propose that the government break up every company that grows to more than about a hundred or two hundred employees. Sure, that’s kind of arbitrary, but government can set the rules of the game to match whatever we value as a society.  Personally I think it’s a fairer, more interesting and more creative game with lots of small players. Two hundred employees should be more than enough to generate all the excitement and profit any reasonable person could wish for.

The issues and problems we are concerned with are often more a matter of scale than of systems or technology. (any ideas on the details for such a law?)

In my every day world, I do know well the brutally competitive pressures of the building industry with its thousands of independent companies.  I do some fairly presentable marketing and advertising. I’ve made enough money selling to know I’m a decent salesman. Yet I have a real hard time convincing my customers to pay unreasonable prices or do wasteful and foolish things. (except of course for the unreasonable things mandated by the building code)

If your underlying presumption is true, how about this year we all skip sending contributions to the Sierra Club, Earth First and all the other alarmist do-gooders. Rather than funding more sermons for the choir and lobbyists drafting complicated unproductive or counter productive mandates, instead let’s start an investment fund. We’ll buy a detergent manufacturing company and do something effective about the problem. Wouldn’t our money better be spent on such a practical and radical act. With the profits from our detergent venture we can tackle the next problem on your list.

Why am I such a nut on these foolish ideals of liberty, freedom and enterprise?  I got a degree in environmental studies and thought about being a government regulator or one of those clean up guys that charges folks a fortune to take polluted dirt out of one hole and move it to another hole. But those careers seemed really futile and boring. So I spent several years working for nonprofit government funded community action agencies doing energy conservation and other good work for low income folks, but the inefficiency and rampant corruption were disheartening. I tried the academic scene for about a year but found the pace such that I constantly had to check my pulse to make sure I was still alive. I was active in the protest scene for many years and just burned out because the constant negativism had me involved in so many problems but no solutions. When I was twenty three, I even tried standing in front of factory gates handing out “For The People”, a local communist party newspaper. That lasted until I slowed down long enough to actually think about what I was reading in the foolish things. Eventually I decided that the most radical, progressive, creative and environmentally friendly work I could do would be growing food or building houses (or making detergent) in a positive way. Then it was simply a matter of finding something fun to do.

I got a nice E-mail the other day from Vicky Hayes who mentioned she was “going over” to the private sector after twenty years in government. For her and others like her, I can only say: go for it. It’s fun. It’s exciting. It’s scary as hell some times. Like life itself, it is very imperfect. And it’s even more addictive than this darn greenbuilder list.  For those that haven’t tried it, you really should. Let us know how it goes.

As for Mikes comment that “Markets know the price of everything and the value of nothing”. That is exactly as it should be.

Ideals without action are meaningless. They have no value. The market place is the primary arena where we as human beings get to act on our ideals.  Its is only by being a player in the game that our ideals become relevant. Though the market knows no value, it is a wonderful vehicle that enables us to create value from our ideals and imagination.

Seth, thanks for the charrette.

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Lessons From Two Decades Around NESEA

The following was published in the Northeast Sun, the journal of the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association in 2003, the year I served as the chair of NESEA’s Building Energy Conference


As the chair of the committee that organized this year’s Building Energy Conference, I have had a wonderful opportunity to interact with many NESEA members. While immersed in preparations for the conference, I spent considerable time thinking about NESEA and about what we NESEA members all have in common. I want to share some of my thoughts with you.

The Idealism and Practicality of NESEA
NESEA, if nothing else, is an idealistic organization. But we NESEA members are generally also very practical. We work on real solutions. At our core, what we all share is great dreams. We want to change the world. At our conferences, we try to cross-fertilize ideas across a range of professions that are all critical to creating a sustainable future.

Most of the success I have enjoyed over twenty years owning and helping businesses can be directly traced to ideas and opportunities developed though my connections in NESEA. More important than business success, I have been able to develop personal friendships through NESEA with many truly brilliant leaders of the kind of world we are all hoping to create.

I put a lot of time into volunteering for NESEA. But I make this effort selfishly. I believe that the way we best help ourselves is to make real and measurable contributions to the world. Investing time in NESEA is one of the most important investments I make for my business and myself.

For those of you who are new to NESEA or who haven’t been active, I encourage you to engage yourself. The people you will meet at NESEA gatherings could become the most important people in your life.

Lessons Learned
I want to share a few of the most important lessons I’ve learned through my involvement with NESEA since 1979.

For years, Marc Rosenbaum, of Energysmiths has been admonishing us to focus our attention and financial resources on those things that are fundamental and would be most expensive and difficult to change later, like the foundations of buildings we build. There is a simple wisdom in that advice which too many people easily forget while chasing the latest flashy new “green” fad of the moment.

Jamie Wolf of Wolfworks, Inc. has been a huge guiding force behind NESEA. He reminds us to stay focused on what really matters by telling us: “I don’t want to be a green builder. I want to be a good builder.”

Tedd Benson, of Benson Woodworking Company, has long advocated building more rationally, arguing that the tangle of structure, skin, and systems typically found in most conventional buildings fundamentally diminishes the potential for quality, durability, and long term value. When I asked Tedd to share the theories of disentangled open building systems at the Building Energy 2003 Conference, he responded that he doesn’t spend much energy advocating and theorizing any more. Instead he focuses on actually building projects that are tangible and real.

It may be time that we, as advocates of environmental sustainability, start to disentangle the often grandiose mixes of technological, political, economic, and business solutions that have too often emerged as easy answers, but which may in fact hinder the healthy development of the more fundamental solutions we advocate. Rather than all the grandiose schemes, instead we should focus on the very real work of actually building a sustainable society, one good project at a time.

Joe Lstiburek, a principal in Building Science Corporation, has been the best teacher that many of us have had in our effort to improve our practice in the building arena. He has often encouraged us not to be afraid to change as we learn, with his unembarrassed admonitions to alter practices he earlier advocated, but later found could be improved. At the end of a great treatise on green building on their website, Joe and his partner, Betsy Pettit, suggest that fundamental to good building practice is respect for a critical lesson that few architects or builders ever even consider as they focus on less important issues. “A green architect or builder must be a student of science first; great buildings will follow.”

John Abrams of South Mountain Company has had an amazing ability to create wonderful successes when he smiles his broad smile, speaks the truth bluntly, and helps empower other people to find the courage to break the rules that get in the way of doing good work. He is successful because he usually is right and he is not afraid of breaking the silly rules that hinder most of us from doing the right thing.

In his keynote address at one of the best NESEA conferences ever, the inspiring writer and entrepreneur Paul Hawken started the conference by telling us boldly that:  “Business is the most powerful force on the planet.”

I’ll share a premise of my own for you. I believe that none of the solutions we advocate can be sustainable until they become profitable as business ventures. The real work we have in front of us is the practical effort of making environmentally sustainable projects profitable rather than the abstract idealized concerns many people get wrapped up in. The challenges we face are neither as glamorous nor as daunting as many presume. The fundamental solutions to the problems we aspire to address demand clarity, honesty, a little courage, and a lot of hard work. Those are the keys to a sustainable future.

Changing Paradigms
It is important that we keep an open mind about our vision of the future and be willing to listen to those who question our assumptions. We should at least try to understand those whose world views are shaped by different realities than those we perceive. Without at least understanding and trying to answer the concerns of skeptics, we will never be able to actually create a sustainable future.

In an amazing 1997 essay on creating change entitled “Places To Intervene In A System,” Donella Meadows described the various ways we can intervene in any kind of system. She organized these intervention points in a hierarchy based on their power to impact change. She suggested that if we want to influence change in an especially powerful way, we must influence “the mindset or paradigm out of which the goals, rules, feedback structure arise.” She went on to say that “people who manage to intervene in systems at the level of paradigm hit a leverage point that totally transforms systems.”

Then at the end of this incredible essay, Donella wrote: “To be truthful and complete, I have to add this kicker. The highest leverage of all is to keep oneself unattached in the arena of paradigms, to realize that no paradigm is true, that even the one that sweetly shapes one’s comfortable worldview is a tremendously limited understanding of an immense and amazing universe.”

Many of us who consider ourselves environmentalists are absolutely wedded to certain paradigms, like the presumed value of certain renewable energy technologies, unquestioned understandings of the problems of pollution and climate change, and concern about a breach of Malthusian limits. Some environmentalists profess to embrace paradigms that I believe are humanly irreconcilable, presuming a fundamental conflict between the economy and the environment or between business and nature or between humanity and other forms of life. Surely our visions of  a sustainable future need to reflect a deep regard for the hopes and dreams of the other people who share the planet with us and who will follow when we are gone.

As an optimist, there are several paradigms that I find compelling. Human ingenuity is undeniably remarkable. Historically, opportunity and hope have proven to be far more lasting and influential human motivators than fear. The possibility of peace, freedom, hope, and prosperity for all humanity seems greater than ever before with low-cost access to information and communication, and the clean, plentiful non-polluting energy resources of the emerging renewable-hydrogen economy.

Remembering Brian Smeltz
I want to end these musings by remembering and honoring a remarkable man that I was privileged to work with briefly at Benson Woodworking Company.

Brian Smeltz was trained as a graphic artist and was extremely talented in that arena. He was also a mechanic, a woodworker, an amazing illustrator, a brilliant photographer, one of the best architectural designers I have ever known, a talented and effective construction manager, a senior partner in an inspiring business, a great father, an active participant in his church and his local community, a volleyball player, and a great friend to a lot of people. Brian worked hard and he played hard.

Brian died recently, just before finishing construction of the manufacturing facility that he designed and built to house the company he had dedicated his career to. I went to the ceremony at which the most beautiful and environmentally friendly industrial facility I have seen was dedicated to the man who created it.

Brian didn’t talk much about theories. He was too busy working and creating inspiring realities on the ground. When I remember him, mostly what I remember is the great smile he always seemed to wear. Brian’s rich life should be a model for all of us. Teamwork, honesty, skill, focus, dedication, fun and hard work. These are the attributes that will create the future we desire.

Just Go Do It
The Northeast Sustainable Energy Association has always strived to be at the cutting edge where theory and real work come together to create the future. It’s not often easy, clean, neat, or perfect. We’re not always right. As John teaches us, we have to smile as we master our fears and take some chances. Like Joe, no matter how good we may already be at our work, it’s critical that we constantly adapt and improve as we learn. As Jamie reminds us, we have to focus on the real essence of what we are about, rather than the rhetoric. As Brian taught us so well by his example, the best way to create a great future is to just go do it.

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War, Energy And The Choices We Make

The following letter was published in a few newspapers in March 2003 just as America was invading invade Iraq  while prominent politicians were hypocritically blocking the development of Cape Wind while proclaiming their support for renewable energy. Alas, six years later and these sentiments still seems necessary unfortunately.


Half way around the world, thousands of brave Americans are looking out from the decks of their aircraft carriers and troop transports. What is on their horizon is not pleasant.

Here at home, others sit on their porches and the decks of pleasure boats. Their hopes for future horizons are empty. Lacking vision, they cannot help us create a more prosperous, peaceful future. They are not willing to make the choices necessary to keep us free. But as a nation, we must choose.

Facing dictators with horrible weapons who aspire to control the world’s critical oil resources, we could speak only empty words and allow the world to be held hostage, while becoming fearful and more dependent on the most unstable region of the world.

The world will be far safer when the Iraqi people are free and we are no longer confronted with the dangerous dictators and terrorists that the wealth from our oil addiction has supported. We can intervene militarily to protect free people everywhere, as President Bush is feeling forced to do. But if that is our only solution, the future will require continued sacrifice abroad, while our economic prospects at home are diminished.

We should choose to get serious about becoming free and independent by creating clean renewable energy solutions at home and exporting those solutions of peace, hope, and prosperity abroad. That will take real commitment.

The Cape Wind project represents the kind of choice we face. It will help make our economy more prosperous, the world more peaceful, and our future more hopeful. Cape Wind will provide seventy five percent of the electrical power needs for Cape Cod and the Islands. Its footprint will occupy less than an acre in hundreds of square miles of Nantucket Sound. It won’t significantly impact the environment. From the closest shores, it will be barely visible on a clear day, just a couple degrees above the horizon.

Today, wind power is competitive with low-cost conventional power plants. The wind industry has grown about thirty percent each year for a decade.  Cape Wind will establish Massachusetts as a key player in this dynamic industry and create new jobs in New England. It will attract eco-tourists to further support our economy.

Cape Wind is as good as any significant solution to our energy needs can possibly be, yet it faces significant roadblocks. Many of the opponents are influential people with unfounded fear that Cape Wind will somehow diminish the quality of their privileged life style.

Many Cape Wind opponents say they support renewable energy. But empty words do not solve the problems our addiction to oil has caused. Words alone do not help the brave Americans being sent to make the ultimate sacrifice in the Persian Gulf.

We should not condemn our children to more wars and less hope because a privileged few don’t like change. We cannot continue on a dangerous and unsustainable path. A lack of real solutions will doom our children to a future enormously complicated by international conflict, climate change, terrorism, diminishing economic prospects and compromised freedom. Our lack of wisdom and vision will cause more brave Americans to die in future wars that could be prevented.

For too long, we have compromised our proud heritage with bad decisions. In Plymouth, where hopeful pilgrims first landed, sits a nuclear power plant with enough radioactive materials to enable a committed terrorist to render much of Massachusetts uninhabitable. In reactors we’ve subsidized around the world are the materials of nuclear weapons that despots now use to blackmail us.

Americans know a real solution when we see one. With our troops at war, our leaders need to face realities that ordinary people see clearly.  We will make America safe, not by creating police a state and depending only on military solutions, but by weaning ourselves from oil.

Cape Wind will be a symbol of our wisdom and our commitment to a peaceful and prosperous future. Spinning slowly, high above the water, those beautiful blades will give our children hope and make them free and proud.

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Old Stuff

Starting a blog is an interesting experience. Trying to figure out how to deal with all the old stuff that might give folks a sense of context for what comes next. So, I am creating a category called old stuff and uploading some old stuff I have written and probably some good stuff by other folks too.

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