A Carbon Capture Filmic Moment for Renewable Energy

TAG LINES

Without exception, every essay that emanates from these fingers concerns how social transformation might yield sustainable business, renewable energy, and so forth. For the most part, the aggregate 'Tag Lines' of the work of this humble correspondent add up to a set of component parts of a transformative process.

These articles have proffered at least a dozen different formulations, repeatedly present, that suggest ways of developing 'change worth believing in,' to coin a phrase. But in essence, all of these ideas have come down to one of two sorts of possibilities.

On the one hand, THC has advocated different ways of thinking, approaching problems, consciousness, learning. The emphasis on interconnection; an insistence on class analysis; admonitions about starting with historical assessments; asking for a detailed breakdown of political economic analysis; imploring people to consider Marxist and social democratic ideas as at least equally worthy as capitalist musings: these were the primary ideational elements. Of course, mandating depth textuality--a willingness to engage lengthy and complicated topics--was paradigmatic in every sphere.

On the other hand, this humble correspondent has contended thatactions unlike what most people practice must become a best-practices standard if folks intend to do more about issues than complain. A thoroughgoing and consistent democratic participation; starting processes with popular input; seeking community engagement and empowerment; mandating local voices in policy processes; as necessary, taking direct action to achieve direct political goals; these were the most common operational methods. In tandem with deep-text patterns, THC has also requested that folks consider what Peoples Information Networks could bring to active political development.

Every single positive model that THC has profiled or mentioned here has manifested more than one of these  consciousness-raising, power-amplifying methodologies.

Every critique--and THC was, as mama said, "born a critic"--has noted thelack of these core capacities for capacitating communities.

In all of these hundreds of thousands of words, however, not once--not even half-a-once, has THC recommended purchasing anything; this is no accident. Axiomatic to achieving personal and political potency in the current context is that buying new stuff, finding new investments, developing new productive paradigms must remain subsidiary to learning and movement, and that, furthermore, no fundamental alteration of social problems will ever result from such formulations of the problems that we face.

The same kind of analysis applies to voting--it's at best pathetically inadequate; to legislation--it's at a minimum far too paltry; to all bureaucratic and technocratic rescues whatsoever--they're most optimistically going to yield a tendency to cave in to imperial nostrums. The citizens of America confront stark choices: continue with 'business as usual' and fantasize that it will yield different results; or, along with Smedley Butler, recognize our power and privilege and how we have failed to develop it for our own devices and priorities, saying, as of now, 'Basta! No pasaran.'

This humble correspondent has begun with a review of such extent--two of five of his pieces here appear above--because of the nature of the task confronting JustMeans readers, citizens of good will, and anyone who has decided not to cast a lot with the Plutocrats and Imperialists. We have a lot to keep in mind, a lot to learn, and a lot to do, if we are to see progress and avoid disaster on multiple fronts.

This extensive recollection also meets the particular topic of today's offering, a review of a lovely and horrifying little documentary, entitled "Kilowatt Ours." It is lovely because it means so well; it also has beau coup data, and it provides as much as, or even more than, half an answer to the questions that it poses or implies.

It is hideous: dangerous and toxic; because its consciousness is as vapid and ahistorical as the hazy Smoky Mountain air that it decries, and its action-program consists almost exclusively of purchase plans, as if all that working people need is to use their maxed-out credit cards appropriately in order to achieve peace and good tidings. Moreover, it completely lacks three key constituents of empowering and activating grassroots democracy.

First, it does not once truly recognize that affirming social justice is a critical affirmative step; second, any sense at all of a dialectical process is altogether absent; and third, it has no more semblance of internationalism than do libertarians and tea-partiers, who all maintain that America's 'special' place in the world exempts us from caring too much about our cousins abroad. All that said, "Kilowatt Ours" was fun to view, even if an honest critical consideration of the movie was that it was more dangerous than helpful, unless one's analytical faculties were operating at close to 100% capacity.

INTRODUCTION

Given this predisposition, that the film, a Jeff Barrie production, so closely mirrored THC's topical choices seemed more than a little spooky. It focused almost exclusively on the Southeast. It suggested a deeply-ecological perspective. It appeared to insist on the inclusion of community voices.

Maybe another look would be in order. After all, that this humble correspondent "was born a critic," as mama liked to say, is a well-known fact. Perhaps a closer examination of who was behind this, as well as a more sympathetic attitude generally would be apropos. Before proceeding to an examination of the personnel and other forces behind the film, however, THC will convey why he felt such evil certainty of 'trouble ahead, trouble behind' in this case.

The situation had unfolded with a thought of doing a neighborhood screening, so THC 'joined up,' and voila, a 'screening license' arrived for perusal. When I reviewed this material, I was already ticked-off, about which more in a moment.

Quite reasonably, the permission-notice itself focused on fund-raising, about which filmmakers must always be obsessive, and networking, which fit with the grassrootsy imprimatur that had first attracted THC's attention. The final paragraph, barely clinging to the lion's share of the rest of the material, upped the irritation level, however, with this pronouncement.

"Most Importantly... The ultimate goal of this project is to stop mountain top removal coal mining, reduce our global warming emissions and reduce energy consumption across our nation by showing individuals how we can make a difference. Thank you for your role in making this happen."

Not that this humble correspondent is against rah-rah rhetoric, quite the contrary, one should indulge frequently in his estimation. However, a promulgator of such ideation ought not to treat readers like idiots. Anybody with much insight into this sort of thing--and especially when guided like estimable Public Relations professionals, such as the Seigenthaler group that was assisting Jeff Barrie, knows that in a short, punchy document, the most important things must come first, as in 'the lead,' and that they must occupy most of the space at hand.

They will decidedly not show up as an afterthought, at the end. Such a format would only fit in one of three cases: one was a corporate flack; one was selling another 'bill of goods,' as it were; one were desperately dazed and confused. The last possibility was out of the question, inasmuch as the entire operation of "Kilowatt Ours(KWO)" seemed as slick as oil-smoothed silk.

Perhaps THC was making 'a mountain out of a molehill' here; on the other hand, as already noted, a prior PDF stop had steamed him up plenty. Before he read the lines above that may have otherwise have been merely a minor irritant, he had stumbled on a 'Home-Energy-Audit,' that, in the lee of a horrific series of computer crashes, has utterly disappeared from his purview, but which was similar in content--albeit much more regimentend and accusatory, and hence triply annoying--to a Sierra Club document that speaks much the same lingo.

Both of these presentations presume that society can solve energy problems by buying more stuff, buying different stuff, using smaller amounts of stuff, and generally having a proactive attitude toward consumption patterns. The nonsense that underlies such thinking ought to be clear enough without much detail--suffice it to say that this completely ignores the more important aspects of any transformational process, and that class biases and denigration are inherent in such thinking.

As regards the first issue, for instance, community engagement, capacity, and activation are critical as first steps--an 'energy audit' without a political aspect is what utilities and power companies do. Moreover, another step prior to 'taking stock' has to be considering consciousness of the issue correctly--looking at matters historically, in terms of political economy, and so on.

This leaves out of the picture altogether, that a huge minority of America's population doesn't have 'shopping alternatives' that include high-end lighting, "energy-star" appliances, and so forth. And, additionally, such iconoclasts as this humble correspondent, who has completely foregone central heat and air and doesn't own a TV, don't really fit half of what shows up on the list.

The KWO toolkit on which Sierra Club included its less obnoxious auditing tool did not nearly so completely ignore what THC is pointing out here, although its community orientation is authoritarian and top-down instead of evincing 'strong-democracy' and a community-based, participatory approach.

In any event, this was the state in which THC happened to view the first little section of the movie--'let's take a peek and see if it's completely out of line with what we seek', discovering an as-noted spooky level of sympatico that made him want to hit the pause command and take a gander at the folks behind this operation. Basically, three people and a trio of organizations, in addition to KWO partners, are worthy of note.

A special plug at the outset expresses appreciation for and solidarity with Steve Smith. THC almost wishes that this were one of the L & N Smiths, since the Louisville and Nashville worked so seamlessly in conjunction with the likes of Peabody Coal in Appalachia. Alas, he came up as an impassioned environmentalist Veterinarian who abandoned his practice in order to devote himself full time to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, which he helped to found in the early-1990's. He has the largest solar array in Knoxville on his house, which boasts a 'net-zero' carbon imprint.

The first 'outsider' face to show up on camera, in a brief scholarly pose, is Christopher Flavin's, whose bona fides include being a decade-long President of the WorldWatch Institute. This humble correspondent has a nearly complete run of the State of the World, so no one could say that he loathes or ignores what Lester Brown has wrought, hoping against hope that he is of the 'Brown-and-Root' Browns for similar reasons as he wished that Steve were of the L&N Smiths.

However, despite a hectic speaking and networking schedule and a prolific technical output that includes such well-respected early entries in the sustainability canon as Saving the Planet: How to Shape an Environmentally Sustainable Global Economy, Flavin's work cannot escape suspicion and, at times, severe critique from the likes of THC. Chris has put his money on capitalism to save the planet, by gum, and to heck with all those pinkish naysayers.

As the WorldWatch website avers, "Chris is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and serves as a board member" or general presence on half a dozen other globe-trotting organizations, companies, etc. As THC has often asked of such as these, who have, more or less, gotten what they sought--unlike the dashed hopes of THC and his 'comrades' for even a semblance of social democratic forms in our section of North America--"How's it going?"

The nuclear, military, imperial, plutocratic agenda is stronger and stronger, while Lester Brown and Amory Lovins and Arjun Makhijani scoff that 'something must give.' Mr. Flavin's stance, as well, while he advocates bourgeois forms and marketplace methods to salvage humanity from the bourgeoisie and its market hegemony, has always remained solidly in favor of involving 'stakeholders' from the top down and telling the grassroots what they ought to want.

And then, of course, the observer comes to the calm and sweetly modulated voice of the film's narrator, writer, and director, Jeff Barrie. Inasmuch as 'everyone loves a lover,' the fellow is irresistible. He and his wife cavort as they emphasize their modest means and their fierce commitment to net-zero carbon footprints.

He has influenced such diverse audiences as the Princeton Day School and a Central Pennsylvania area friends meetings, and his publicist maintains, twice in the first few lines of an extensive press release, that KWO has reached "hundreds of thousands of viewers" in various media.

He speaks out; he's made this film, which this humble correspondent is about to deconstruct. He seems amenable to anything so long as it is friendly. But a lot of what is happening, in the 'unfriendliness' department, is not the result of people's evil ways any more than it is amenable to shifting out of existence if people spend money differently. Good intentions are an inadequate response to exploding mountains of coal, exploding kilotons of Depleted Uranium, and the Nuclear Renaissance that is both response to and source of both.

Before turning to the film itself, a summary bit about the WorldWatch Institute, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy(SACE), and the Sierra Club, all prominent supporters of "Kilowatt Ours," will usher readers from this lengthy introductory piece. WorldWatch, in its empiricist and deeply analytical productions; SACE, in its emphasis on student activism, and the Sierra Club, in its soulful stances for environmentally sustainable policy, all share a faith in business, which is to say capitalism, that is roughly equal to the backing of sustainability, or 'business better.'

THC has made this point before. If 'sustainable' or 'better' are more important than 'business,' then equivalency is importunate, to say the least. One may assert gaily that 'business can extricate humanity from the pass into which business has led humanity.' But that assertion, if the extrication is more important than an ideological and practical commitment to capital, must be a hypothesis which is capable of modification, if the data suggests that the assertion itself is proving untenable. Observers might keep that in mind as KWO becomes the center of attention below.

NARRATIVE, POV, ANALYSIS

As this humble correspondent noted, he paused to ponder, prior to watching the remainder of the movie. In the event, his anticipated conclusions became, if anything, even stronger than he had believed would come to pass originally, before he took a powder to look a little deeper into people and production. Dick Cheney makes a nice appearance as 'the devil' in the first set of frames, with Chris Flavin's smiling calm as counterpoint to the leering Vice President who insists we must have a power plant per week to survive.

THC's roots sang out in the twang of Gary Gibson, sounding like my grandmother and my Uncle Jim with his "all them mountains over yonder" are to be "destroyed." And the set-up and the articulation of this are swell, sweet, and worthy of plaudits. But where do we go with it? "I haven't got a thing in the world against the working man," he intones, but when he splutters that he does "have something against," twice, he does not finish the sentence.

And that silence--despite the dynamited ridges and the poisoned waters a hundred miles long, and the litany of arrogant impunity which the largest coal companies have demonstrated for more than a century--cannot deliver the viewer to consciousness after that 'working man' line. Where were the miners in this film?

They have a strong, albeit minority tradition of environmental stewardship. They have suffered from Black Lung's ravages, vastly more devastating on a case-by-case basis than is asthma. They have fought and won battles from which every citizen, every day, benefits--even the rich gain, though they also have lost some profits, from occupational safety and health, and strong wage and hour laws, and other reforms, for which miners stood on the front lines of violent class upheaval.

That this film does not even mention such facts is some kind of weird travesty. In the elevation of disconnected 'hillbilly' voices, that promise to 'teach the rest of America' that they're under attack, this bizarre lack of the most powerful working class voice from the region is even stranger.

THC has struggled with miners and the UMWA his entire adult life. Perhaps Jeff B. made a valiant effort. If so, that needed to be in the movie. What appears to be the case, however, is that it either didn't occur to him, or he dismissed the idea with a simple shrug. Upcoming posts by THC will show the potency with which miners' perspectives can teach about these matters, of that readers may rest assured.

The transition away from West-by-God-Virgina, without-any0miners, to the rest of the region, takes place by way of accusation. 'Southerners use more energy.' No analysis of this, no contextualization of the idea, no historical assessment whatsoever takes place. A well-groomed ex-football player under the auspices of Georgia Power says that folks now have five TV's, they've got all kinds of electronic gew-gaws, that are sucking up the juice.

And this is vicious depravity. Southerners 'use' more electricity because they are poor. Southern industry is profligate because it can afford to be so, inasmuch as Southern workers are much more thoroughly fleeced, and much less completely organized, than are workers elsewhere in the civilized world. This humble correspondent could continue, but the implicit notion here--that people's stupidity and lack of concern and irresponsibility--are an important root cause of the political economy of energy in the South, is noisome foolishness.

'Praise the Lord,' as THC's mountain granny liked to call out, that Mr. Barrie didn't continue down this path for the entirety of the movie. In fact, here he made a solid contribution to reportage and gave tantalizing hints of what empowered community action looks like.

Louisiana Energy Services, fresh from its defeat in 'Cancer Alley' to build another Uranium Enrichment plant, decided that TVA electricity--which so long served both ORNL(formerly the Clinton Engineering Works)and Paducah's gaseous diffusion environmental nightmare--could now power its H-bomb/power plant factory in Hartwell, Tennessee. In one of the battles to which Lou Zellar refers with satisfaction that democracy can work, the plain folks of Hartwell thought otherwise.

And the people won. Rather than analyze this phenomenon, however, or deepen the focus on community-and-citizen in congress, Jeff B. merely quips that 'now LES is trying to ram the idea down somebody else's throat,' in either New Mexico or Nevada, where poverty and fear provide hooks that those with money and bid-plans might use to powerful advantage.

And letting this drop is another huge conceptual gap in the film. The motility of capital, money's ability to cross any boundary, is one of the key factors necessitation potent Peoples Information Networks that follow the dirty-doers down the road so that Mike Ewell's shout, "Not in Anybody's Back Yard," becomes the rallying cry of communities everywhere.

The transition away from this consideration of what an international environmental movement might look like, this leaving unsaid anything about militarism and imperialism and the role of both in unsustainable choices, was a mention of wind, how incredibly marvelous its potential is in this region. And indeed, THC has just mentioned that TVA's hugest success has been its recent wind investments, to which its response, in the latest Integrated Resource Plan, is to drop the effort and leave it up to other investors and PPA's.

In any event, film's and viewer's attention averted, additional useful and yet deeply flawed pieces of the action unfurl. Looking at the health consequences of coal use, Barrie does a fantastic job in presenting the etiology of brain damage and asthma, which stem from the mercury and particulate effluents of coal like light emanates from dawn.

Similarly, the damage to ecosystems appears in affecting and effective fashion. Voices from all sorts of folks add to the power of what we are losing in the Smokies because of coal-based pollutants.

However, again, not one lick of analysis attends this pretty portrayal. 'Sickness and ecocide are bad,' and 'coal seems to cause sickness and ecocide' are about as deep as it gets. Nothing crosses the radar screen about TVA's early contests to increase electricity usage; heaven forbid the mention of the pollution litigation that TVA fought like an unprincipled beast in the 1970's, nor of copious similar recent lawsuits. No mention of TVA as responsible ever takes place in this film, quite the opposite.

But the entire second half of the movie is about responsibility. This humble correspondent should buy a $20,000 solar system for the house he is struggling to keep. He and his friends and far-flung correspondents, quite a few of whom are clinging to something akin to a 'middle-class' existence, just ought to 'fess up. The energy stupidity is our fault. If we do something about it, as individuals, by buying different stuff and more expensive, but also money-saving stuff, and using less stuff, kids won't suffer brain damage and asthma.

Somehow, leaving TVA out of the picture, leaving the importance of political-economic and historical analysis out of the picture, leaving the complicated heroism and perfidy of the miners and the UMWA out of the picture, and on and on, at the very same time that half the picture ends up having in it what THC can do to help by buying and consuming differently, somehow all of this made this humble correspondent want to reach out and smack somebody. The only reason he didn't is that some nice bits mix in here, about municipal conservation and school board innovation and so on.

Of course, giving kudos and a platform to speak to TVA, after doing the same for the Southern Company earlier, while disfranchising the miners, the Highlander Center, or even a whiff of radical analysis, churned THC's stomach again. Then, the film left the Appalachians and did a run through Florida, where other centralized applications of solar, as for example under the auspices of JEA, a Jacksonville energy provider, receive further praises from the happy-noise gladness of "Kilowatt Ours."

These depictions, were THC an ignoramus, would merely make for suspicion. "Why the heck is this guy extolling business so much, instead of activism and movement and community organization?" But THC's been studying these things. As the film turns out, it is a hopeless distortion of the energy questions that in fact do exist.

And as is almost always the case with distortion, this ends up by concluding in a dangerous and misleadingway. 'Solving this problem will be easy!' Or, 'all we need is to do our parts as individuals.' Given that the propagandist must take responsibility for his propaganda. THC predicts that some day, somehow, someone other than only he will recognize that this little gem of a feel-good experience has operated so as to lead folks down the proverbial primrose path, pimping off a very cute significant other to ask that we all "get excited...(because)we owe it to the people of West Virginia."

Hmmmmmmm. This humble correspondent says that we owe it to ourselves to have enough passion to look deeper, enough courage to speak truth to power, and enough insight to recognize that as individuals and consumers we are pretty paltry, but that as organized, capacitated communities we are unstoppable.

That's the movie that folks need to see about watts and kilowatts and megawatts. That's not this film. THC doesn't ever advise a jaundiced eye, but he does say, along with his mother and grandmother, once again, that "a word to the wise is sufficient."

CONCLUSIONS

Buying our way to freedom will never work. Consumption and commodification constitute the core of the conundrums that cousins around the planet confront.

Paradoxically, unless one has been paying attention to what THC has repeatedly provided about dialectical development, not consuming and not commodifying are also completely ludicrous as solutions to socio-environmental dilemmas. Finding the dialectic means one can discard such false dualities as consuming versus not consuming.

What are these dialectical processes. As a friend of this humble correspondent was wont to quip, with a smiling scowl, "Pay attention!" Every post that has showed up here has had some of these. In relation to coal, one might 'try on for size' such as these: the struggle of working class organizations like the mine-workers to find a way to fight for their humanity even as coal companies both fight and seek to co-opt them; the way that utilities both adhere to cheap carbon and suck up to government subsidies for nuclear; the way that government and business alike simultaneously praise their renewable energy attempts and then subtly sabotage any attempt to make such development mandatory policy; the flip from input to dominance that made of TVA such a flop for community priorities; and on and on and on, THC could go; and on.

In similar vein, repeating words like 'community' and 'grassroots' do not make a project into a product community-based operation. For such actually to transpire, the people must play a role at the outset; they must have a voice from the get-go, not a cherry-picked presence to make the simplistic, 'everybody-be-happy-with-less-by-buying-more' twaddle sound rooted in the soil of local democracy.

In an entirely different sort of process, this film teaches that making smoochie with business partners is akin to collaborating with, or trying to kiss, cobras. Repeatedly, "Kilowatt Ours" gave the microphone to snakes.

The TVA shows up as a big wind and solar backer. The most recent IRP says that such a pronouncement is not just off, but close to an out and out lie. Now, this may have nothing to do with the fact that Steve Smith has been part of that planning process, but he has been a part of that process. And, by the way, his passionate anti-nuclear presence, while at the same time countenancing trying to kiss up to the snakes, doesn't seem to be working too well.

In the movie, JEA received encomiums for its solar projects. THC's sweet wife felt such enthusiasm--a utility that sees the light--and such a strong desire to believe that 'busienss...better' might actually include the mega-biggies of the financial industrial elite, that she said, as we watched, "ooooh, let's interview them!" In researching this article, THC found that JEA is now on the verge of buying half a nuclear reactor. "Hisssssssss!!!" 'Don't kiss the snakes, kiddies.'

The repeated evidence that THC has proffered in his essays means that a new sort of media is both possible and necessary. Unfortunately, "Kilowatt Ours" doesn't come close to attaining even a fraction of the potential that exists in this regard.

AFTERWORD

Dialectical, historical, and conflictual comprehension of matters such as 'addiction to coal' and 'being responsible about energy' are critical, unless folks believe that a brightly glowing nuclear future will be just dandy. The reason for this is that those who want nuclear will fight to the bitter end to get it.

Without a conscious, savvy, and adversarially apt movement in opposition to such developments, the wishes, the good intentions, the heartfelt sweetness, the analytical acuity, and the faith in easy answers of "Kilowatt Ours" and its purveyors will have no more impact on the atomic juggernaut than rose petals might have had on Panzers in France. For purposes of this particular program, in THC's long litany in favor of a deeper probing that utilizes political economic insights and historical evidence, he will turn to a couple of 'virtual colleagues,' of the sort who have often supported his prognostications in the past.

That Jeff Barrie naturally blames the clueless dupes who abound everywhere, rather than assigning culpability where it is most due, at the doorstep of those large businesses, plutocrats, and government agencies that do, more or less anyway, know precisely what they are about, makes perfect sense. 'Lie down with dogs,' and one will have little hope to avoid predatory insects and all manner of parasites.

Steve Smith, Jeff, and Chris Flavin end up touting a film--along with established media and all-of-those-who-want-easy-answers--that makes good guys out of the bourgeoisie that caused this situation and grew fat and rich as a result, because that is their ideological position. And until they can leave that sweet-tooth for capitalist candy behind, the same dilemma will always plague their work. They'll be right, in a sense, but politically they will lose. Readers should listen.

Timothy "Luke credits the Worldwatch Institute for their valuable empirical analyses of a wide array of environmental problems, but he sees them too as more part of the problem rather than of the solution. Although Lester Brown and associates describe a portentous environmental crisis, their prescription for a solution falls far short of their diagnosis. Rather than breaking from the irrational logic of capitalist growth imperatives, the Worldwatch Institute chooses to become part of an emergent alliance of corporations, nongovernmental organizations, and global think tanks, all promoting the discourse of 'sustainable development.' Luke is rightly suspicious of the radical potential of an organization like the Worldwatch Institute whose funding comes from conservative agencies and Rockefeller foundations."

In the Case of "Kilowatt Hours," the list of partners is a wet dream of 'business...better' aficianados, Nevertheless, in terms of social assessment and political analysis, the same suspicions and criticism as Luke employs are completely apropos. This student of Luke goes on, as if he might be speaking directly to Jeff Barrie and his coterie of idealists.

"Yet another tepid response to the environmental crisis are myriad forms of green consumerism. Luke undertakes a critical analysis of various popular manuals of green consumerism and finds them apologies for the structural flaws of capitalism. Books such as 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth provide some helpful tips, but misinform people that saving the earth in an easy thing to do. For opportunists like Marjorie Lamb, we can save the earth by expending only 'two minutes a day.' 'Instead of thinking about how to reconstitute the entire mode of modern production politically in one systematic transformation to meet ecological constraints,' Luke argues, 'most tracts of green consumerist agitation calls for action on nonpolitical, nonsocial, noninstitutional solutions to environmental problems.' ...Worldwatching provides invaluable sources of information, but it fails to confront the basic causes of environmental degradation; it correctly analyses many problems, but it too often treats them as separate and fails to relate them to core dynamics of growth and commodification.'"

Ever the nerd, this humble correspondent likes these deeply delving explorations of meaning. Simplicity is an art, no doubt about it. But simple-mindedness is a sin, when honest complexity is essential. And what is simple need not always be as brief as an equation, even if e=mc squared does cover a multitude of sins.

Part of what Jeff Barrie and his ilk in KWO just totally miss is what an article called "Sustainable Development and Philosophies of Technology" totally gets. "Even the best of the sustainability advocates...(such as) Amory Lovins and those associated with the Worldwatch Institute, are utopian. For them as for other development advocates, 'Efficient behaviour spreads at the expense of culture-guided behaviour; it undermines non-economic notions of the good and proper life.'"

Philosophically, and hence analytically, acute assessments must "always aim at emphasizing the multidimensionality of social problems. For example: 'The only effective social programs attack social problems from all sides, i.e., they have environmental, biological, political, and cultural components as well as an economic components.'...(O)pposing development is not reactionary; rather, to advocate development--even sustainable development--is to fall victim to a reactionary myth. It is the multiple and diverse cultures of the world, and in particular the so-called undeveloped world, that can offer us hope. ...This is sustainability of a sort the economists have never dreamed of."

What this humble correspondent hopes is that one or two, or maybe even three, readers will 'dream' of such as they ponder what 'sustainable development' means. In so doing, they are embarking on the only pathway to achieving the sociopolitical basis for a renewable energy future instead of the dull glow of radioactive isotopes at every turn of tomorrow's bend toward the day after that.