Northern Valley Beacon

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Monday, October 03, 2005


The only super power is not a leader anymore

If terrorists hatched a plan to undermine the United Sates by making it wholly dependent on foreign countries for energy and capital, they would be hunted and destroyed. But we have done it to ourselves.

Jerald Schnoor, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Iowa makes that point in an Op-Ed piece in the April 22 Des Moines Register, and reprinted in the University of Iowa alumni newspaper.

Anyone who reads blogs or listens to right-wing radio recognizes that we live in a time when a significant number of the populace longs for totalitarianism. They claim that any one who dissents on the war on Iraq, who criticizes administration policies, who expresses any disapproval of what is going on in our country hates America. At one time these people were recognized as the loony fringe. Their rhetoric shows an inabilities to apprehend facts and an incapability for coherent reasoning. Their menace is in the fact that a majority of the populace tolerates their sound and fury and dismisses it as the right to express opinions.

These people have had an influence on America. Consequently, America has fallen far behind many other countries in developing its resources and retaining its independence from other countries.

Professor Schnoor writes:

We have relinquished the lead in environmental research and technologies that could provide manufacturing jobs for the 21st century. Denmark leads in wind-turbine produciton, creating 100,000 new jobs. The United States has only one remaining manufacturer, General Electric. Yet there is enough wind in a few states (Iowa, the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Texas) to more than power U.S. base electricity demands. ...Wind power is cost-competitive with new coal-fired plants right now.

Professor Schnoor points out that we gave up the lead when we declined to participate in the Kyoto Climate Convention, the only attempt to deal with the most serious long-term threat to the environment in human history. He notes that environmental initiatives have been undermined by those who cannot and do not want to recognize that we have an environmental problem. The right-wing fringes claim that environmentalism is a cover for communism. They call environmentalists water melons: green on the outside, red on the inside.

The professor says that the responsibility of the United States is great, but we have abdicated it.

As environmentalists, we must be smarter, become better internationalists, embrace markets, be less adversarial, work with industry, prevent pollution, sustain the economy, and use voluntary approaches where practical.

Environment, energy, and security are inextricably intertwined and are the keys to peace and prosperity.

The professor outlines the case for getting control of our environment and our economy again. But he does not confront the fact that a majority may complain about $3 gasoline, but will vote for the people and the policies who make it happen.

To the majority, drought in the plains and hurricanes in the Gulf are part of the intelligent design they want us all to submit to.

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