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Peace through superior solar power

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 10, 2010


Like Alice through the looking glass, I find myself in a place both real and unreal. Where young Alice was confronted with a white rabbit, a cryptic cat, a stoned caterpillar, I instead must deal with a multitude of people unable or unwilling to look for a peaceful way out of Wonderland. It has become quite clear, calling for blood is no longer reserved for the red queen, and heads will continue to roll.

Already coming to terms with the evidence of alternative voices being censored by a national media, hungry for conflict, I was just getting used to the idea of having to endure CNN's New War. So, imagine my surprise when it was revealed that nonviolence is now a threat to the American Way, and the only chance for a peaceful resolve lies buried beneath the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Rudy Gulianni reaction to the massacre of September 11th is understandable, but to hear Dr. Laura tell her listeners that "peaceniks were anti-America," evoked images of McCarthyism that left me more than a little nervous. The fact that the god squad keeps calling for retribution also leaves me feeling apprehensive. Even the suggestion of a non-militarized response to this horrific crime against humanity is greeted as treason. This does not bode well.

Like many others, it is my belief that there are alternative ways of dealing with global terrorism that strive higher than military build up and the eye for an eye diplomacy. The first weapon needed in the war on terrorism is the truth. If America is to effectively confront terrorism it must come to terms with what has put Americans in the crosshairs of suicidal extremists.

When looking for the way out of an ethical predicament, it is best to start by understanding what brought you there in the first place. In a nutshell: involvement in the development and use of Middle Eastern resources has brought us to the point of global terrorism.

First, let's look at the players in this drama, the least of which is Afghanistan, which had the misfortune of standing between the Soviet Union and the Arabian Sea. The main player in this human tragedy is the oil lying beneath the Arabian Peninsula. Secondary players are the nations trading future stability for that same limited resource. Players taking the active role of pawn are of the third tier, and can be identified by their unfortunate proximity to those which sit on top of the dwindling supplies of oil.

Now is the time to shift the power balance in a way that moves Americans beyond a counterproductive dependence on Middle Eastern fossil fuels, and over to one of self-sufficiency based on the use of solar generated energy sources. Trying to maintain access to Arabian oil not only continues to destabilize regional politics but also allows for further destabilization of biological systems on a global scale.

Whether or not America is "One nation under God" is still open for debate, one thing that is certain however is the potential available when we utilize our position as one very large nation under a very bright sun. It blows my mind that we are fighting a war with origins in the struggle for something we don't need, and would be better off without. The murder of 6,000 people should be reason enough to get the oil monkey off our backs once and for all. Peace can be attained though positive action.

To say our own appetites have us over a barrel would be an understatement. Luckily for us there is an easy, future focused way out of this cultural cul-de-sac. Converting the American economy over to solar technologies would not only make the United States self sufficient, it would also make our interventions seem more about human rights, and less about colonial consumption. Of course the shift from petrol to sun will be far from smooth, but then again so would a decade of mopping up after terrorist attacks.

Most people believe removing the cause is far preferable than a lifetime of battling the symptoms. Tragically the nightmare of 9/11/01 is just a symptom of a much deeper problem, that will not cease inflicting collateral damage until we stop drilling for it. If America is to be truly free, we must also be sustainably self sufficient. There is no other way.

Nothing good comes from hate, so there is no silver lining in conjunction with terrorism. But perhaps there is a green one, waiting to be discovered by a nation willing to see the errors of long held beliefs. Solar power can help avoid future conflicts, and is available for the harnessing. Patriotism can take many forms; perhaps energy independence is one of them.

Peace is possible, but only if we are willing to look beyond the gas pump, and into a world of ecological wisdom.

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