I think most of us can agree that of all issues confronting us at a both a macro and micro level, energy issues lead the way. Whether it's filling up the tank of your Hummer at $2.50 / gallon, or turning the thermostat down to 60 degrees because you just can't afford those $300 per month heating bills anymore, energy issues are affecting everyone's pocket book.
Even more importantly, energy issues are completely and totally driving Bush administration policies, both foreign and domestic. Have been, since day one. As much bitching as BushCo did on developing a rational energy plan for the nation, they still haven't articulated anything that actually makes sense from a national security standpoint. The U.S. is much more vulnerable today to the vagaries of the energy marketplace than it was when George W. Bush took office in 2001. And that vulnerability is clearly a national security issue. Bush administration energy policy can be summed up in the old Frito-Lay ad pitch: "Consume all the energy you want, we'll make more!"
(Or more accurately, "...we'll go on an imperial conquest for more".)
The energy shackles that economically bind and constrict every one of us don't need to do so. What drives me absolutely batshit is that the Bush administration has made the U.S. so economically and politically insecure because of its allegience to the century-old Rockefeller Standard Oil cabal. In raw terms of national defense security, and the personal economic security of each of us, we're much worse off in 2005 than we were in 2000.
There's a variety of components to a sane national energy strategy. Personal energy consumption accounts for a vast majority of the increasing demand for energy, regardless of the form the consumption takes (gas for the car, electricity for the lights, or natural gas / propane / oil for the furnace).
I'll go into specific personal strategies in a future post, but for now, I'd like to ask everyone to take one small step with me. ASZ has created an online petition targeted at Rep. Rick Boucher, D-VA, who is the ranking minority member of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. The petition addresses a pet peeve of mine going back many years - the lack of federal tax credits for individuals to purchase alternative / renewable energy products and systems to serve their homes. Alternative energy technologies certainly exist that would, if implemented on a large scale, one house at a time, dramatically impact national energy consumption. The technology is becoming more affordable, but for most of us is simply not yet an option from a personal economics standpoint. Tax credits would put such technology within the financial reach of many more people, and have the added benefit of significantly increasing employment in the renewable energies field. It seems win-win to me.
But it's not win-win for the big energy companies. Throwing off the energy shackles means you don't send in your budget payment to Gigundo Gas or Mongo PowerCo every month. The power, gas, and oil lobbies are extremely powerful (no pun intended) and will try to beat back every attempt at offering consumers a way to throw off the shackles. As long as they can meet demand-driven supply requirements, there's no incentive for them to either be competitive or offer alternatives themselves. And that is a national security issue of the first order, particularly when so much fossil fuel has to be imported into the country.
So, your first progressive Maslow / Cranium action point: sign the specifically targeted Consumer Renewable Energy Tax Credits petition. There are several alternative energy bills currently pending in congress (click the link, and enter "energy" as the search term). These type of bills come up every year, typically receive very little public notice, and either die in committee or quietly on the House floor - because there is little or no public interest. When you sign the petition, you'll also receive an email that allows you to forward the petition to others on your personal email list.
Let's do a little viral marketing. Promote this petition as a national and personal security issue to your own contacts, and on other blogs where you participate. I set an aggressive goal of 5000 signatures. It should be easy to obtain at least that many signatures if we work together.
That's one small step in throwing off the energy shackles...more to come shortly.