Tuesday, August 03, 2010

So obvious it's invisible

from www.energysavvy.com

The framer of the debate often wins the argument. Political campaigns have known this for decades. And so with Big Oil. Their message-- "we've got to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by drilling here at home"-- is a tough point to argue. We all want our troops out of the Mideast (well, everyone not in the upper echelons of the military-industrial complex), we all want to stop bleeding national treasure to war and foreign governments.

But what if that statement comes from the wrong question?

What we should be asking is, "do we need oil-- certainly ever more oil-- in the first place?" And the answer is: No. Rather than continuing in the same game (i.e., Get More Oil), we should look at the game we're playing and decide if it's the right game to be in at all.

This NRDC Switchboard blog post makes a plain and simple comparison: BP Gulf disaster spill losses vs. oil use obviated by energy efficiency retrofits. The $$ spent on "cleanup" (which, after the use of dispersants, probably cannot be achieved) could have been spent to hugely better effect to retrofit homes for energy efficiency, avoiding the "need" for risky drilling in the first place. (Be sure to follow the link to Energy Savvy toward the end of the article.)

By allowing the vested interests (Big Oil, their lobbyists and captive congresspeople) to frame the debate, we continue to lose the argument-- and the planet, piecemeal. By every measure, it's clear we must end our addiction to fossil fuels; yet we galumph along as though we have no choice. Of course we have a choice! But making the right choice will mean stepping out of our comfort zones and acting with heart and mind in concert. Not an easy request for a convenience-softened populace.

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