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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Filed under Best Stuff, Energy Policy, Fundamental Perspectives, Old Stuff

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