Archive | The Big Picture RSS feed for this section

“Fronts” for the Oil Industry

26 Jul

There is no future in oil.

The American Energy Alliance (AEA) was founded in 2008 by Thomas Pyle, who previously lobbied on behalf of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association and Koch Industries and who previously worked for Congressman Tom Delay (R-TX), when Delay served as Whip and before Delay, as House Majority Leader, stepped down from the U.S. House of Representatives under an ethical cloud.

AEA states that its aim is to “create a climate that encourages the advancement of free market energy policies” and in particular ensure drilling for oil is allowed in the Artic National Wildlife refuge and in US coastal waters.

On its website it lists the Institute for Energy Research (IER) as a “partner” organization and states that it is the “grassroots arm” of IER. AEA states that, by “communicating IER’s decades of scholarly research to the grassroots, AEA will empower citizens with facts so that people who believe in freedom can reclaim the moral high ground in the national public policy debates in the energy and environmental arena.”



Baby animals in oil spill face uncertain future

23 Jul

The smallest victims are the biggest challenge for crews rescuing birds fouled with oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill.

There’s no way to know how many chicks have been killed by the oil, or starved because their parents were rescued or died struggling in a slick.

From an Associated Press Article

There is no future in oil. Not for these baby animals or any that have to deal with being oil-soaked.

Oil Subsidies

20 Jul

“…an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.

According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry.“

From “As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Subsidies” New York Times online

Even though there is no future in oil, we’re still paying for it.


13 Jul

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

The energy crisis, unfortunately, is very complicated. Lots of threads to the conversation, lots of points of views, lots of ideas for solutions, lots of special interests trying to hold onto their piece of the pie.

All the more reason that we need one simple organizing idea to help steer our course: There is no future in oil.

Does that phrase contain all the solutions? No.

Does it answer all the questions? No.

But it is true. That is it’s magic.

And at one level or another, if you say it enough, even people who aren’t completely convinced will have that message stuck in their heads. Remember “death panels”? That phrase created a huge impact on our nation’s psyche and it wasn’t even true. And the sad part is that those who tried to repudiate it actually helped imprint the message.

Some of us progressive sorts have a tendency to be complex, nuanced, multi-dimensional, able to hold ambiguity.

But if we continue to be complex, we will lose.

So, K.I.S.S.

There is no future in oil.

The “Present” for Oil is Huge

3 Jul

While “there is no future in oil,” there is, unfortunately, a huge “present” for it.

This is the biggest challenge to looking at a future beyond/without oil.

We move ourselves from one place to another using it, we ship stuff to each other using it, we make all sorts of stuff with it.

Many of us make money drilling for it, refining it, transporting it, reselling it (whether we actually work for companies in this business or own stock in them.)

We are awash in it. Our current lifestyles depend on it.

Any moves we make, large or small, personal or community, corporate or political, toward a future beyond/without oil is a movement in the right direction.

Can that happen though, unless we are actually convinced that “there is no future in oil?”

That is why I am advocating the repetition of this simple phrase and encourage you to do the same: There is No Future in Oil. As it becomes part of our thinking, it will become part of our acting.

We will slowly but surely move in the right direction. But since this will take awhile, we better start now getting this big old ship to turn.

Over and Over and Over and Over…

2 Jul

The brilliant University of California cognitive scientist George Lakoff explains why it is important to repeat the phrase “There is no future in oil” over and over again:

“When a word or a phrase is repeated over and over for a long period of time, the neural circuits that compute its meaning are activated repeatedly in the brain. As the neurons in those circuits fire, the synapses connection the neurons in the circuits get stronger and the circuits may eventually become permanent, which happens when you learn the meaning of any word in your fixed vocabulary. Learning a word physically changes your brain, and the meaning of that word becomes physically instantiated in your brain.”

That’s why we’re focusing on saying this simple six word phrase again and again: There is no future in oil.

Are you with me? Will you help me say it?

The Big Thirst

1 Jul

An article from the New York Times in 2008 called The Big Thirst that talks about the increasing demand for oil and decreasing supply and the likely results in the not too distant future.