An unexpected and courageous speech on efficiency, conservation, and population control by an ultra-conservative Member of Congress needs to be brought to the attention of all. Readers, please feel free to borrow and customize to sent to your US Representative.
You've known of my environmental views since we were neighbors on Parkside Court and Failing Street. You've known my technical credentials since, as a Clackamas County Commissioner, you visited my workgroup at what was then Tektronix Wilsonville.
I hope you will accept the following as not being from some "nut case" end-of-the-world type, but rather as a rational analysis from someone trained and experienced in science and technology.
The United States and the entire world faces a looming crisis that has not been seen since the great wars of the last century. Our burgeoning population, as well as the finer points of our civilization, are completely dependent on a non-renewable natural resource that is going into decline, even as demand continues to increase. We are about to overshoot global oil production.
I have been studying this phenomenon for years, and have been making my own preparations. So far, politicians have ignored it, and the media have ignored it. But as Congressman Roscoe Bartlett (R MD) recently stated before Congress, many "rational, professional, conservative individuals... are absolutely terrified by the phenomenon known as global peak oil."
If you missed Congressman Bartlett's presentation, and have not yet read it in the Congressional Record, I urge you to do so now. It is very well researched. Although I disagree with Congressman Bartlett's position on almost every other issue, I was impressed with the depth of his understanding of this looming crisis. It must have taken some genuine soul-searching for an ultra-conservative father of ten, opposed to most forms of birth control, to call for curbs on population growth.
In fact, there are increasing signals that oil may have already peaked. Co-incidental with Congressman Bartlett's denial-breaking speech, OPEC announced that it can no longer keep up with global oil demand. Historians may cite March 15, 2005 as The Peak.
We are not simply "running out of oil." The problem is more complex than that, and more difficult to communicate. What is true is that oil production will no longer keep up with demand, and our civilization will inevitably revert to the coal age.
Unless humanity abolishes the holy grail of "growth" and seeks a steady-state energy level of perhaps only 10% to 20% of today's usage, a child born today will in her lifetime experience a similar trauma of "peak coal", and humanity will begin reversion to altogether pre-industrial times.
I know letters like this one are supposed to ask for something. I am not aware of a vote, or a bill in committee, or a co-sponsorship that I can ask of you. The first national politician has taken public notice just this week!
I know of your favorable record in energy efficiency and conservation, and I hope it will continue. What I am asking now is that you become an activist, and vigorously pursue these issues, introducing and co-sponsoring bills, rather than simply voting for them. Congressman Bartlett calls for a "Manhattan Project" effort in this regard, and compares it to putting a man on the moon in scope.
Within each crisis is an opportunity. Today's adults are doomed to a future of rapidly escalating energy costs. But bold leadership now can save today's child from "shivering in the dark" in her old age.
Having spent a great deal of time researching this immense crisis, I am at your service, should I be able to help.
Jan Steinman, www.Bytesmiths.com