Changing Power Outlets

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Author Message

Wendy Brown

I'm all about self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and taking control of one's own destiny. Part of the reason that I wrote my book in the first place was to promote the idea of personal empowerment, with the message being that if we take control of our own lives, then we don't have to be afraid of what happens "out there."

For instance,

**if I'm growing most of my own food, I don't have to worry about industrial crop failures;

**if I'm generating some of my own electricity, I don't have to worry about the power grid failing;

**if I don't generate (much) garbage, I don't have to worry if the garbage trucks stop running (due to worker strikes or bad weather - both of which have happened - in my lifetime - to residents in New York City).

I pay attention to what's happening in our world, but more and more I'm very frustrated by the direction that our world leaders are taking with regard to moving the world's populace in a more sustainable direction. In a recent news article (found here:, "Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal said he wants oil prices to drop so that the United States and Europe don't accelerate efforts to wean themselves off his country's supply."

What? Really?

I find that stance to be incredibly arrogant, and I'm a little offended, especially considering that ... well, that there is some evidence to suggest that the oil supplies (world wide, but also on the Arabian peninsula) aren't as prolific as some would have us believe.

It really bothers me that he's come out so publicly with his pretty blatant statement that he would like the world to continue being dependent on oil. Obviously, it's in his best interest that we do so, and he is calling for a reduction in the price of oil to ensure that we remain so.

What's worse, though, is that most people won't have a problem with his comments. Most people won't even know that he said it.

Nuclear energy is another one of those volatile topics, like dependence on oil, in which advocates will argue hotly in favor of the high energy outputs, and completely ignore the environmental cost as being inconsequential. While I agree that there is no *single* alternative that can provide the same energy output as either oil or nuclear power, no one has been able to answer concerns about what to do with the waste, and until a realistic alternative is found for addressing that issue, we need to find alternatives.

Further, both oil and nuclear power are dependent on finite resources, which, by many accounts seem to be depleting at an alarmingly rapid rate. At some point, perhaps even in *my* lifetime, those resources will be used up.

At this point, I always like to ask the question: "And, then, what?"

Waiting until after we've used up the resources to begin looking for the answer to that question is incredibly unwise.

So, today's headline **Germany to Phase Out Nuclear Power** (found here: was really encouraging.

When I was in Germany in the early 1990's, we were paying $5/gallon for gasoline, and the price has just continued to creep up for them - but they have alternative transportation options (including their own two feet!), which they use. They were not/are not completely dependent on oil.

And, now, they are leading the way to a more energy-efficient and sustainable future for their people by phasing out nuclear power plants.

I'm all about self-sufficiency, personal responsibility, and taking control of one's destiny, but it's really nice when world leaders see the value in reducing dependence on finite resources, especially while those resources are still available and a more smooth transition can be made.

Tuesday 31 May 2011 06:11:43 am