(#326) – Interludes can be anything that fills the time between two major events, says the dictionary. They are often delightful pieces of music, farces or moralistic plays. But, whatever their character, they are short in duration. Putting these attributes together, the moral of the Petroleum Interlude is that the trove of delightful benefits it has provided has turned into the farce of planetary destruction that is powering this 6th Great Epoch of Extinction on planet earth.
We cannot undo what has been done. We do not even know fully what has been done or what its future consequences will be. Enough is known, however, to conclude that it is time to close the Petroleum Interlude. World scientific consensus is that climate change on earth is related to petroleum based economic activity that now poses the greatest threat to global, national and personal safety.
The history of human success during the Petroleum Interlude in harnessing sources of energy to support better material conditions for some of the people on planet earth is full of great inventiveness and innovation. But, it was always full of contradictions and negative impacts. The human habit of counting the benefits without accounting fully for the other impacts associated with these benefits has created this Petroleum Bubble with all of its toxic conditions that violate Earth’s chemistry and physics.
We all know well enough, even though it is seldom mentioned and inadequately taught in our educational and media systems, that billions of years were taken up in shaping the proper sequestration of carbon in our forests and beneath our soil that permitted and still supports human life and the life of ten of thousands of other forms of life. We get it. Yes, there is some disagreement, but it is only serious because it is empowered by vast sums of money, most of which comes from those who personally benefit from petroleum-based economic activity.
There is this other narrative for present and future history. It’s the main event.
Sustainability is its name and it is our only future. We know what it means. It means living from the power of the sun, wind and water. We have the technology. This technology will fully power an economy 150% greater than today’s US economy at a savings of Trillions of dollars, get it done in 30 years with 40% more good jobs created than petroleum based energy investments. Several comprehen- sive plans already exist that provide hundreds of detailed projects and full cost accounting for New York State and the smaller region where Sullivan County is located.
The Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council decision this week not to include any of the sustainable energy projects in the awarding of millions to economic development is painful evidence there is much more that the general public must do to achieve safety and prosperity for all. Let’s all be reminded of the beauty and splendor of this place where we live and connect the spontaneous gratitude of that reality with a tenacious commitment to obtain the benefits of a better life for our environment and for ourselves by understanding how inextricably they are united.
A good starting point is to close the Petroleum Interlude and rapidly open the era of safe, clean, beautiful renewable energy in all of our communities.