Earth in the Balance

EarthDay Omaha at Elmwood Park this Saturday


As our elected representatives in Lincoln plan to sell us out and plot the corporate takeover of Nebraska farmland and native prairie by a foreign oil company, the annual celebration of Earth Day blossoms. Saturday, April 21 will offer the area’s largest Earth Day event at Elmwood Park in Omaha. The schedule is ripe with displays, stage presentations, music, exhibitors and learning demonstrations. All of it is aimed at earth awareness. Even the beer garden.

We’re way past needing more “green” in 2012. The tipping point has been passed. Peak oil has been reached. The folly of fossil fuel has reaped its rewards. That doesn’t mean we should give up the ship. Like the Titanic, there is plenty of time left to record noble effort. We may go down in history as the generation that lit the fuse on the eco-timebomb but we should at least leave a legacy that recognizes that, in the end, we became cognizant of what we have wrought. Let’s dance around the dwindling embers and, as Tom Petty sang, “go down swinging.”

The shafting sands of tar Earth Day at Elmwood is a time to meet with like-minded folks of determination who are voicing a need for change. We may have been blind-sided by yet another Washington Administration. This one promised hope but reined in dope, promised solar but sold out polar and swung wide open the revolving door between the chemical companies and the EPA but as long as there is air to breathe (barely) and earth to walk on, we should make our voices heard.

A huge opportunity is upon us in mobilizing further to stop an ill-conceived idea that lays barren precious tundra. We can still obstruct the green-lighting of the Keystone Pipeline. Some may say it’s too late, that if Nebraska balks, the pipeline and the oil will just go elsewhere. But how do we know that? Maybe slowing the construction of the pipeline will create its own tipping point. Maybe the delay will be enough. Maybe by then the market will demand that ripping the earth and squeezing the last drops of oil out of sandy slop will no longer be cost-effective. Maybe the next new technology will make sense. If sheeple just line up and accept the faulty and lying logic of “more jobs” and “energy security” and let the pipeline pass, we’ll never know. But if we fight to the last to stop it, maybe the tar sands will survive.

At the very least and most pragmatic, what about the political argument begging the question: What gives Canadian corporations and congress people from other states the right to tell Nebraskans what to do with Nebraska? Senator Jon Tester of Montana is an organic farmer touting sustainable agriculture. But he supports the Keystone uprooting Nebraska soil. Thanks, Jon. It may be okay for Montana, a state that doesn’t rely on topsoil and aquifers, but here in Nebraska, those are lifeblood.

A matter of scale We have to at least try for the next technology. And it has to be something that doesn’t burn stuff to move our information or bodies or goods around. No matter what system you name, burning stuff for transport won’t work. You can’t burn stuff without waste being produced. Not even, in fact, especially not, ethanol! Corn farmers don’t like to hear it but ethanol is much worse than fossil fuel as far as energy balance is concerned.

Before the 19th century, our main transport (aside from our own feet) was by animal. For example, horses ate food (fuel) and converted that to energy to move things. We reached the zenith of that system in 1861 with the Pony Express, which could get a letter from the Atlantic to the Pacific within ten days. Horses burned food and put out crap but it could be scooped up and spread on the garden, completing a natural cycle.

Like a horse, any combusting engine, be it a steam engine or automobile, burns fuel and puts out crap, too. Only you can’t scoop it up and it pollutes far more than the city streets or barnyard. With combustion engines, we’ve been taking a crap in our atmosphere for almost two hundred years and there’s no way to scoop it up.

Pragmatic not pollyannish Some of the solutions we’ll see at Earth Day Elmwood will point us in the right direction. Not all of them will. That’s where your own common sense will have to step in. Discernment, not judgment, is the key. If the energy balance results in little or no waste, it’s a reasonable source. So far, the only ones that appear to do that are solar and wind. There are a multitude of “magic” ones that require more energy input than output, but the final answer will always come back to the sun. Always. Even the wind and tide is the result of that source.

The options are being revealed. The sense is becoming more common. Share the groundswell and visit Earth Day. It’s perfect timing in the face of the perfect storm.

Be well.

Heartland Healing examines various alternative forms of healing. It is provided as a source of information, not as medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Access past columns at www.HeartlandHealing.com


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