Bob Herbert Uses the ‘C’ Word

The word that causes smirks and snorts and results in its user being declared unfit to speak in serious company.

Yes, that word– conservation.

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert takes the Obama administration, among others, to task in language so passionate and eloquent it’s almost a sermon.

Then he dares to point out the obvious. The truth that helped sink President Carter, because he thought the American people were tough enough to hear it. And we are tough enough, when not misled by such as Ronald Reagan’s wishful thinking.

The first thing we can do is conserve more. That’s the low-hanging fruit in any clean-energy strategy.

It’s fast, cheap and easy. It’s something that all Americans, young and old, can be asked to participate in immediately. In that sense, it’s a way of combating the pervasive feelings of helplessness that have become so demoralizing and so destructive to our long-term interests.

That sentence about helplessness really stands out. When did we stop being citizens and slide into being consumers? Are we good for anything but to ‘go shopping’?

People who lived through WWII remember when conservation was a communal act of patriotism. There are some who say that the ‘American way of life’ is cheap fuel and recklessness. That way of life is not worth one of our soldiers, never mind thousands. Energy independence is worth working for.

It will require change, but Americans have never been afraid of change. It will require smart science and new ideas. But we’re the nation that put a man on the moon. We can do it.

4 thoughts on “Bob Herbert Uses the ‘C’ Word

  1. Some Americans are scared to death of change, e.g. the far right, and fight it tooth and nail. Loudly. To quote a song by Steve Martin, “memories of a time that never was become the good old days”.

    1. It’s easier to feel good about the past because at least you know you lived through it….if the future of oil is uncertain, I think some people feel that their standard of living will inevitably drop, or their personal freedom will be compromised. Perhaps they are correct and this is hard stuff to come to terms with.

  2. We wouldn’t have to conserve more if we would only start producing energy from green renewable sources like solar, wind and geothermal.

    This is our fault. We allow our government and big business to disempower ourselves by creating artificial shortages and limitation. We pay the price of our sins by surrendering our wealth, our health and our future. Then there is the planet that must also pay the price for our sins.

  3. We could cut thousands of barrels of oil from being imported right now by burning all the trash in our landfills throughout the country, that is paper wood and plastics that are not recyclable and are just waiting to decompose. which very little of it will decompose because no oxygen can get down more than a few inches as most of the landfills are compacted and the oxygen dosen’t get down to cause the wood and paper to decompose. I study was done just a few years ago in one of the Los Angeles Countie’s Landfills by drilling down about 10-15 feet in the landfill and newspapers were just as clear as if the came off a newsstand and had been printed that same day. We should be using these landfills to burn that trash and to keep from polluting he land by chemicals leaking into the soils around these landfills and using new technologies like scrubbers in the smoke stacks from these sights. The heat could be used generate steam to generate electricity and put it back into the grid by mandatory laws and regulations. Here in New England National Grid has not cut the Electricity used per Kilowatt hour since they got a monoply on energy in the Northeast and that still isn’t enough this year they wanted to raise the fees by 30% for this year. The PUC let them only to raise it enough by 11%. The utilities are making more profits since it deregulated under President Reagan. The State of Rhode Island could make some money from this endeavor by being able to collect trash from Landfills all over New England and clear down to New Jersey and New York. by doing all the above we would be able to clean up the environment and make land usable again and generate electricity without importing oil or coal. This would burn cleaner than fossils fuels does. The Eastern part of the United States is running out of room for landfills and causing ground pollution of the water tables in and around farms and small towns and cities that cannot afford to build a new water treatment plant. Also the solids from our waste water treatment plants could also be burned in these incinerators and also cut down the importation of fossils fuels so we are more independent of foreign countries for fossil fuels. Everything that can be recycled will have to be recycled for put into a incinerator. that means all plastics, glass, and tin cans no matter whether or not they are steel or aluminum.

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