Think Globally; Act Locally 

**I found this in my computer archives from English Comp. circa 2011. Some of the timelines and statistics may vary, but this is definitely worth an open minded read.**

 

Think Globally, Act Locally

Everyone uses it. We all are dependent. It’s the drug of the developed world. Can we go cold turkey? It indeed is a fact that, at current usage rates, the demand for oil will surpass the available reserves. In fact, studies suggest that this will happen by the year 2050. The big question is do we, as Americans, wait for oil to run out to make a change? Or will we be proactive by planning ahead and making a change now.

When oil supplies are gone, the United States will be in turmoil. With rationed supplies similar to the 1970’s, gas stations are likely to become war zones. What will we do when we cannot transport our goods? How will the government function without transportation? How will any business succeed without a reliable form of transportation? Will police be able to keep the peace? Will America undergo a radical revolution?

There are no answers to the questions I have posed. The decisions we make today will change the results for generations to follow. To make a concrete example relating to this, think about history. Where would America be today if it had not been for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his New Deal? It was a tough time for America (and Europe as well). The Great Depression had taken its toll on the United States. Although increased production from factories during World War II had helped boost the economy, unemployment rates were at a high as men returned home from war to find their jobs filled by both young men and women.

President Roosevelt had a plan, however. He thought about what the future had in store for America. He knew that changes needed to happen and he also knew that the United States government needed to implement these changes. The programs he created served various purposes. Some programs regulated the struggling economic system, some helped social welfare, and others created jobs that sustained America. Men were put to work spreading electricity to farmlands, building multi-purpose dams, and creating environmental conservation grounds. This list of programs is not exhaustive.

The programs created by Roosevelt created the America that we love and enjoy today. He brought America back as the leader in innovation. This background history is what motivates me to push for changes in America today. I want America to become the leader again. I do not want to see America fall down and suffer from this neurotoxin, oil that is destroying us from our roots. How will we survive without this ‘drug’?

I propose a three-phase solution that brings America to a state of prosperity and sustainability. It is necessary to note and emphasize that this proposal hinges on the success of the preceding phase, i.e. phase two assumes the success of phase one and phase three assumes the successes of both phase one and phase two.

The United States government must implement a change. The first phase of my plan is that by 2016, at least 60% of residential communities need to be powered by renewable energy sources. To achieve this, the government needs to subsidize local energy communities (here-in-after referred to as LECs) by means of tax breaks and block grants (both of which are currently given generously to energy producing and oil refining companies).

Phase two of my solution involves expanding the LECs to an industrial level by the year 2024. After the initial residential phase has been implemented with success, technology will have advanced, enabling large-scale capture and storage of renewable energy. Commercial industry that formerly relied on fossil fuels will now be powered by clean and sustainable energy. Careers will exist that, today, are unimaginable. Science will be booming. New technology will develop every day. Developed nations in Europe and Asia will again look up to America. Rather than radical regimes in the Middle East having control of the global energy source, the balanced democracy of America will be leading the Earth to a future that our great-great-great grandchildren will be able to enjoy.

After implementing the first two stages of my plan, transportation will be the last change needing be made in America. The size and geography of America creates difficulties for a transportation form that serves every region equally. European nations use mass transit (subways and buses) very effectively. They are able to do so because they have a smaller size. They have had these systems in place for a much longer time span; it is already customary.

The third phase of my proposal requires America to have an oil free transportation system by 2036. Urban centers will resemble European mass transit systems with subway stations, light-rail trains, and electrically powered buses. The rural communities will rely more heavily on electrically powered cars.

The technology is available to make this happen today. However, American transportation is too strongly tied to oil. Almost every automobile seen on the road requires oil to function. For this reason, the transportation changes will occur more gradually. The residential and industrial changes can happen with only minor disruption of daily lives. Transportation will require the help of not only the government, but carmakers must cooperate as well. I firmly believe that American culture will openly accept the changes to transportation after seeing first hand the success of renewable energy in the residential and commercial sectors.

LEC’s will solve the energy crisis by providing sufficient quantities of energy for the country, by stimulating the development of new technology, and by stimulating the economy with job creation. To ensure each LEC will provide a sufficient amount of energy for the country, government oversight of residential plans and energy output will be required. This oversight will include making inefficient LECs more efficient, and regulating LECs that create more energy than they use, or LECs that have an energy surplus. The surplus energy can be allocated to less efficient communities or exported to other countries.

It is difficult to determine the exact cost of the LLCs. If prices stayed at the current rate, the cost would be astronomical and the plan will not be feasible. However, the key to making LECs work is to form agreements with companies currently producing solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric dams, geothermal heat, and high efficiency energy storage systems. The United States government must work with these companies to secure low prices. If implemented over a 4 year span and spending about $10 billion per year (assuming companies will lock in low costs in exchange for tax breaks), the government could have over 60% of LECs fully operational and creating clean energy, if not 80%, by 2016.

The government will also be able to use the low cost of implementing the technology to fund projects in remote areas (such as wind turbines in the barren areas of southwest United States) that can create back-up energy. This back-up energy will act as a buffer for low energy producing times (night-time, winter, lack of wind) and may even be sold as surplus to countries in need.

Because the demand for alternative energy technologies will be increased, innovative companies will produce more efficient technology. High demand for products will lower the costs making an excellent transition into phase two of my proposal. The renewable energy growth that began in the residential sector will begin fading out after systems are fully implemented. However, the growth will not be lost.

As the industrial world expands new technologies, green energy will begin powering the country both residentially and commercially. Unemployment rates will continue to trend downwards, tax revenues will increase, allowing the government to counteract the trillion-dollar deficit. America will be on a rise to prosperity and history will again be repeating itself. Welcome back the ‘Keeping up with the Jones’’ lifestyle that we experienced following the recovery from the Great Depression.

As America shifts away from its oil dependence, economic growth will lead the way towards phase three of my proposal. Automobiles have an average lifespan between 7 and 15 years. Assuming automakers begin large-scale production of non-oil vehicles around the year 2026 (around the same time that America will be reaching prosperity), the transition to electric cars and mass transit will be seamless. Combustion engine cars will be reaching the end of their life span. Families will be able to afford new cars that offer new technology. Families and, especially, business people of the urban world will see the convenience and simplicity of mass transit systems.

Unemployment will be very low; industrial growth will require more laborers; engineers will be developing new technologies. Prices will be low, income will be adequate, and energy will be plentiful. Developed and developing nations alike will look to America, as we lend a helping hand graciously. It’s all a chain of events. It all will lead to a sustainable future. Time to get the ball rolling.

Certainly, my proposal has many holes in it. The current state of the economy along with the divided government will be problematic for beginning the initiatives. For this reason, a grassroots movement (a movement that begins by gaining the attention of politicians at a local level) will be necessary to move the proposal through government stages. The general consensus of America is that a change will be made eventually. My proposal gives voters a picture of a future that they wish to be apart of. Many who have wanted this future will now have the chance to reach this future. If political action committees and lobbyists see this practical proposal, they will reduce the backing of doomed oil companies and will stand behind growing companies in renewable energy.

Other potential problems include accounting for jobs lost from reducing oil production. The growing economy will have many niches needing filled. Oil hands will be able to find jobs in renewable energy. Also, as government revenue increases, projects could be funded that involve cleaning up the environment. This may include paying to cap old wells, cleaning up National Parks, and maintaining the hydroelectric dams that may be created from LECs.

The last problem to be addressed is whether or not the current United States infrastructure will be sufficient this proposed future. The electrical system currently transferring power throughout the country is AC. However, it is most convenient and efficient to create and store power from renewable sources on DC power. (AC means alternating current and DC means direct current.) This is does not pose a major problem. Technology is available that can effectively transfer AC and DC power. Furthermore, because the proposed future has LECs that do not necessarily rely on a central power grid, direct current power will be more efficient to power our homes.

Since its founding, America has been the leader in everything it has achieved. In the late 1700’s we were the leaders in creating a large-scale democracy. Throughout the 1800’s we were the leaders of westward expansion, creating the large and unique country we have today. The 1900’s brought forth the industrial revolution; and America was the leader of innovation. We now find ourselves in the new millennium. We are 11 years in, but to be honest, so far, we aren’t the leader. Nevertheless, it isn’t too late to change that. A new age is upon us; a new industrial revolution; a technological revolution. Will we make America the leader again? Will we lead the Earth through this technological revolution towards a sustainable future for mankind? It’s up to you. Contact your congressional representatives. Go and talk to them; call them; write them letters; and urge them to think globally, and act locally. Thank you.

Chad Ambrose

December 2011

 

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