The Original Version of my article posted on GreenJersey.org. I very much like the version that was presented on the site. It's just I like being bombastic at times, and this has that in spades. Du jour.
The Green Deal
The worst perpetrators of plan-for-the-best, ignore-the-consequences mindset, the financial industry and our deregulatory-happy government, have thrown on the plate of the American people a poorly cooked "bailout" plan that looks a lot less appetizing than the endangered Atlantic wolffish. It's a meal we are going to remember for some time, since the current financial crisis will have long-term effects on our country's economy. Even the damage which has already been done will take years to undo, and we have ONLY ONE REAL path if we are to see this country recover: a re-envisioning of the economic landscape to spur on Green Industrialization.
While the bailout plan overall is a dubious necessity - a seeming last stand against an economic apocalypse - the one lining, more gray than silver, is the inclusion of $17 billion in renewable energy incentives. It is a small and paultry sum. Ten times as much would only begin to approach an actual solution to the problems we face, problems created when the fabled "free market" has held free reign, and the current administration, unrestrained and unabashed in their war-cries against oversight and regulation, have allowed those corporate interests to run roughshod over controls in nearly every sector - media ownership, environmental controls, and of course, banking - all to the detriment of this country.
They have proven themselves unworthy stewards of our nation's future. They have denounced learning and scholarship, prudence and measured action, and above all environmental sustainability, as un-American, and now we might all suffer the doom of the mistakes they have repeated.
To correct these mistakes we must re-enact the solutions of the past. The U.S. emerged from the depths of the Great Depression by the bootstraps of two important initiatives - the New Deal and the industrial ramp-up to World War II. The economic woes of the past echo at with every bell on trading floor, and we too have found a great enemy to defeat. That enemy is not a man, and he does not live in a cave making the occasional video that spouts hatred for the West.
It is oil. Oil is the enemy. Oil and the belief that hard to reach and limited resources will sustain a technological civilization that seeks to grow.
Thomas Friedman writes in his latest book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, "We can no longer expect to enjoy peace and security, economic growth, and human rights if we continue to ignore the key problems of the Energy-Climate Era: energy supply and demand, petrodictatorship, climate energy, energy poverty, and biodiversity loss."
We cannot afford to remain blind to the reality that EVERY problem we face as Americans is tied into the unstable foundation of our dependence on oil and fossil fuels. But as Adam Stein at Grist.org writes, funding and credit available to clean energy industry initiatives is now threatened because of the fiscal crisis. The resources of the private sector to bring about change and market driven growth for energy alternatives will be hobbled, if not crippled, by the current economic climate.
This is the time when the argument must be hammered home: that eliminating the use of fossil fuels and restructuring our energy network will generate tens of thousands of new jobs, create a massive new industry providing broader tax revenue, bring in revitalizing investment options for the financial sector, and provide increased security from terrorists by reducing their primary source of funding. The only clear path forward to resuscitate our economy and provide a cleaner, safer world for our children will be through the next administration's ownership of this issue. Let us hope they have something good cooking.
“Threading North and South” by Matthew Murrey
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