Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wasting Resources In A Time Of Crises

It was the first week in September and the Republican National Convention was in full swing while outside, the Saint Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department, with the help of federal and state agencies, were arresting journalists and brutalizing those not in agreement with the Republican Party. Having already become saturated with information concerning the injustices taking place outside of the convention hall, I turned on the TV one evening in order to see just what was going on inside.

I knew that I wouldn't be able to stomach the proceedings for very long, but I hadn't considered that my very first view of the Republicans would be totally offensive; yet, I gasped in horror at what I saw. I don't remember who was speaking at the moment I tuned in, but it didn't matter. As the camera swept though the listening crowd, it exposed an absolute sea of signs that were being waved. These contained only a one-word message, which said "drill."

Ignored was the fact that the super-rich oil companies are already in possession of various leases or oil reserves from which they have so far not begun the extraction process; this, in order to control the price of their product. Also ignored was any consideration for the opinion of millions of Americans that beaches and certain environmental treasures should be kept intact without human interference. There seemed to be no opinion expressed anywhere inside the convention hall that conservation of our energy resources might be a viable option for moving toward energy independence; this, while exploring sources of renewable and sustainable energy. Sadly and unfortunately, the horrifying attitude expressed so succinctly at the RNC earlier this month seems to reflect the attitude of far too many Americans in general - Americans whose activities demonstrate a complete disconnect from the various crises that we, as a nation, are now facing.

Here's a case in point: This week, The City of Fayetteville is once again hosting that which has become one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the United States - Bikes, Blues & Barbecue. During this event, the population of Fayetteville swells by some four times the number of residents. During this four-day festival, the roar of thousands of motorcycles fills the air from mid-morning until well into the early-morning hours of the following day. While it's true that motorcycles are a very fuel-efficient means of transportation, the movement of literally thousands of them from all across the United States to Fayetteville, some of these transported on trailers pulled by trucks or other vehicles, must account for a sizable amount of gasoline used unnecessarily; this, during a time that has been described as a crises.

Even more unnecessary however, is the scheduled new event that is supposed to take place at this year's event. During the day and early evening hours of Friday and Saturday helicopter rides will be offered; this, so that interested parties will be able to see the crowds from the air. While there has been some public dissent over the notion of offering these flights, it has been due mainly to the perceived increase in noise levels that come as a result of the aircraft. There has been no public discussion that I know of concerning that which, in my opinion, is a disregard for the current energy crises that we are now facing.

It is not my purpose here to criticize motorcycle enthusiasts for wanting to get together in order to party, sell their wares, show off their bikes, or listen to bands such as the Allman Brothers. It does occur to me however, that mainstream Americans appear to be absolutely oblivious as to how the various crises we face, whether concerning energy, economic, or whatever, relates to them, their consumption habits, and the way in which they live in general. Certainly, holding such events as Bikes, Blues, & BBQ and offering helicopter rides at the event does nothing to bring down the price of gasoline. It's sad for me to stand on the sidelines watching however, as so many people seem to thoughtlessly continue with their wasteful habits while apparently, not giving any thought as to how their actions will impact everything and everyone around them. Perhaps, I think too much about what's at stake.

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