We can only prosper as a society if we work together. Despite the differences we might have, we share so much more in common. Yet it seems that we prefer to fall into separate camps, that we seek to view issues in black and white, and that we like to belong to those who have “got it all figured out”. Just pick your side (liberal, conservative) and you “know” who got it all wrong.
I have been humbled by the wide-ranging support WACE received to stop a biomass plant that was once considered a done deal. In the end what mattered was the realization by people across all ages, racial and ideological lines that we want to breathe clean air, and that we don’t want to waste millions of tax dollars on a project that will lead to increases in respiratory illnesses, heart diseases, and cancer. Thus the people spoke up, and with the help of elected representatives and the Industrial Authority “no biomass” became the consensus.
In the last couple of months I noticed another issue many agree on.
No matter who you talk to, what TV or radio station you listen to, or what newspaper you read, everyone understands that energy security is crucial for the US and that we need to become independent of foreign oil. This realization came up at the SE Bioenergy Conference in Tifton, it surfaced during a visit of Rep. Sanford Bishop in Valdosta, and it found special mention in a report of the Southern Governors’ Association meeting.
But here is the catch: hardly anyone ever addresses the need for energy conservation and efficiency. We simply want more of everything. Thus, Benjamin Franklin’s “waste not, want not” has become a resounding “waste more, want more”. Yet, we can’t become independent of foreign oil if we don’t change our habits, just like an alcoholic cannot sober up by drinking more beer.
In the coming months WACE will reach out to community organizations and governmental entities to address the issue of energy conservation and efficiency. This is not just an issue of energy security, it is a moral issue. Christians can relate to it, as they understand the principles of stewardship. Conservatives can relate to it, as waste and inefficiency contradict the wisdom of our founding fathers. Liberals can relate to it, as it is in their interest to change a way of life that has made us dependent on foreign oil.