Why in heaven’s name are we still sending our sons and daughters halfway around the planet to die for oil? There are so many existing and emerging energy options available that is total folly to keep following the fallacies of the Bush Doctrine.
If we pulled out of Afghanistan and directed those billions, if not trillions, being torched there to alternative energy and energy efficiency programs, just think of the huge leap forward we could make toward independence from the oil barons and cartels. So much technological progress has taken place in the past two decades in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, tidal, and other alternative energy options, it seems crazy not to initiate a seismic shift in how we produce and use energy.
The United States sits at the cusp of something great, but this nation’s addiction to oil fights to keep its stranglehold on us. It is our patriotic duty to free ourselves from oil and from the illogical conservative path to destruction. Those who continue to drive inefficient vehicles like SUVs without a good reason are just thumbing their noses at the rest of us for selfish reasons. An annual surcharge on those vehicles should be applied unless it can be demonstrated by the owner that such a wasteful vehicle is truly necessary.
It is time to break the oil addiction, and like any addiction the best way to do that is through cold turkey. Significant tax breaks for installing wind, solar, geothermal, or other alternative energy systems and for buying electric, hybrid, or flex fuel vehicles with a minimum EPA highway rating of 35 mpg should be put in place and kept there until our dependence on foreign oil falls by 50 percent from current levels.
Recent data from the Public Service Commission indicates that the number of homes in Michigan producing their own power through wind and solar energy jumped by 85 percent in the last six months of 2009. The overall number of homes is still small, but it provides evidence that most people, if given the chance, want to do the right thing. It is a matter of making alternative energy options available and the upfront costs more affordable.
This country built an impressive network of canals in the first half of the 19th century, it built a vast network of railroads in the second half of the 19th century, it built an air travel and super-highway network in the 20th century, it built a space program in less than a decade, it pioneered a digital network in the last quarter of the 20th century, and now it needs to channel all the human capital and brainpower in U.S. to redefine and reshape our energy network in the first half ofthe 21st century. Reshaping our future is the patriotic thing to do, not to die for oil. Let’s get busy!