Something Simple & Beautiful … Take Action Now

Via on Sep 17, 2010

All it takes sometimes is a simple reminder to wake up.  I’ve been blessed to participate in the American Renewable Energy Day in Aspen recently.  With gratitude to Chip Comins and Sally Ranney for their extraordinary work to produce a timely and powerful gathering of caring hearts and brilliant minds, all working toward solutions to our energy and climate crisis.

Our concerns about clean energy meet the political system in our own back yard!  In Boulder, Colorado, we’re doing our best to get rid of our neighborhood Coal plant – check out what’s being done and copy it! Every dirty, polluting, coal- fired electrical generating station can be converted or shut down, one at a time through citizen activism. Lest we forget, coal wedded to electricity is a for profit business. Most operations are investor owned “public utilities”. Now, there’s a paradox for you. In Boulder, our energy provider is called Xcel – it’s weird, I have a hard time trusting companies that have X’s in their name (like Exxon for example). Has that been your experience?  Xcel has an interesting “responsible by nature” advertising campaign – most would argue it’s classic green washing. They are trying, but we all know they could do better!  Change is never easy, but always necessary.  We don’t need to demonize them, but they consistently require powerful encouragement from their customers to clean up their act! Colorado now has a 30% renewable energy standard – that’s a small step in the right direction. We can all do better! A new study from the National Renewable Energy Lab near Golden, Colorado demonstrates that we have the capacity to generate 80% of the entire nation’s electrical energy demands from clean, renewable sources. It’s a matter of will.

Check out what you can do in your neighborhood, find out where your electricity is coming from and take action, you’re life will never be dull, once you decide to get engaged in changing the status quo! If we all bought electric cars without appreciating where the electricity is coming from and the kind of batteries being used, we’ll be no better off than before. When we plug those little hummers in at night, we’ll be living in an utter delusion, if we think we’re solving our energy/climate crisis.

A deeper issue…

In my opinion, here is the most simple, beautiful and profound “take away” from the entire American Renewable Energy Day gathering in Aspen.  If each of us could take this to heart and behave accordingly, many of our environmental challenges would diminish, if not disappear altogether.   Every morning  Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th Generation Keeper of the Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe Bundle for the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota People offered a prayer for the conference attendees.

Arvol Looking Horse, The 19th Generation White Buffalo Calf pipe bundle carrier - photo credit, Hinton Harrison

His simple yet powerful reminder to all of us is this:

“The Earth is the source of life, not a resource”.

This may be difficult for the extractive industry crowd to embrace, however, it is time to  re-examine our basic assumptions about how we, as humans, interact with this living world. Sure, we need resources to live, however it’s time to re-evaluate all of our assumptions, if we desire a quality of life worth living now and in the immediate future. Perhaps our challenge and opportunity is as simple and beautiful as opening our hearts and loving the Earth. Truly honoring Great Nature – People will protect what they love.  As I was listening to Arvol’s   prayer for us to wake up. I was reminded of the powerful TV spot from nearly a generation ago.  YouTube Preview Image

This advertisement was produced for the Keep America Beautiful Campaign 39 years ago featuring Iron Eyes Cody.  Public Service Announcements (PSA’s) used to be a required and mandated by law responsibility of all broadcast stations to serve the best interests of society – for free!  Unfortunately, ever since the Reagan era of deregulation and “trickle down economics”, these messages are no longer free.

At that time, in 1971, pollution and littering was the focus of concern.  Well, we seem to have lost the capacity to connect the proverbial dots.  That’s why the AREDAY team has launched The CLIMATE AND ENERGY  LITERACY INITIATIVE – you can find out more from info@areday.net ! Humans are still polluting the atmosphere today and one of the most egregious culprits is burning fossil fuels for our energy and electricity – a little reminder here – there is no such thing as “clean coal”.   Do you know where your electricity comes from?

Who’s up for re-creating some new public service announcements and getting PSA’s back as a free pubic service?

With PSA’s back as a free service and this kind of clever creativity from the Coen Brothers and others, we could harness and leverage the truth about coal and compete with the financial war chests of the Merchants of Doubt -

YouTube Preview Image

You can get involved directly with the Alliance for Climate Protection nationally, or here in Boulder, CO with the Clean Energy Action group!

It’s time to generate the grass roots political will to convert our entire electrical energy grid to green, clean and renewable electrons coming from sources other than coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear NOW, not a decade from now!  We can do this and we must do this for the benefit of all life!  It’s time to frame the issue in a manner that transcends political dividing lines and effectively overcomes opposition based upon selfish “turf protection”.  You don’t even have to believe in Global Climate Change to know that a conversion to clean energy is good for jobs, good for the economy, good for national security and most importantly, good for your health and our entire biosphere.  If you agree, leave a comment for me and pass this along to your network – if you don’t agree with the need to change, convince me you have an insight that will inform my discretion  – let’s talk!

Ahead with Courage.

About Bud Wilson

As a student-athlete-activist during the tumultuous era at Harvard University Bud emerged with an interdisciplinary degree combining, child development, innovative education and urban social policy. To recover from academia, he moved to the mountains of Colorado and devoted his energy to hosting professional conferences and seminars in Snowmass Village, followed by a few years working with John Denver's Windstar Foundation. He has lots of stories to share about those formative years living in the Roaring Fork Valley. Bud continues to consult with many organizations including Newfield Network, Environmental Communications, Inc. and The Living Green Foundation, Next Culture Network, The Unified Field Corporation, Regenerative Community Development of Colorado and The Agora Projects. Bud has 25 years of experience as an awareness instructor and wilderness guide for Sacred Passage and the Way of Nature. As Global Director of Eco-Regional Leadership for The Way of Nature, in May 2011, he co-created and coordinated the first World Nature Quest. More than 35 groups in 17 countries on 5 continents simultaneously communed with the Earth for healing and renewal. His articles have been read by more than 70,000 Elephant Journal Readers His adult son, daughter and son-in-law are the source of great joy in his life.

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10 Responses to “Something Simple & Beautiful … Take Action Now”

  1. Jenny Siklos says:

    Very nice, Bud. I remember those ads well. Love that you're focusing on Avrol.

  2. Bud Wilson says:

    Hi Jenny – Yes, I was delighted to meet Arvol and spend a little time with him and his wife. Wow, how could you remember those ads – you must not have been more than 5 or 6! That shows you the power of the media when it is put to good use!

  3. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Vicki – Stepping it up big time includes taking action to convert our entire energy system (grid) to clean sources of fuel. Distributed Generation (i.e. solar roof tops & local wind or hydro installations) is ultimately the best way we can create local living economies and avoid the centralization of money, power and control. As Amory Lovin's advocated at the ARE day conference… efficiency represents the low hanging fruit – an electron saved is an electron that doesn't have to be created from fossil fuel! Cheers!

  4. Tom says:

    Good post. I love the "clean coal ad". A few things to remember (in my opinion): 1) There is no silver bullet that will fix the problem of climate change and over consumption of energy, the solution will come from a myriad of sources like renewables, increased efficiency in the grid, cars, houses, and household appliances, greater emphasis on high density mixed use development and public transportation, and most importantly, walking the walk. 2) Walking the walk is difficult, mostly because it takes effort to go against the grain and lead by example. Most people cerebrally support of all solutions I discussed above, few are actually ACTIVELY changing their own personal lives to reflect that support. Maybe you don't really need that gigantic refrigerator filled with condiments and water bottles or the huge energy sucking flatscreen TV. We all must take a hard look at our own lives and act according to what we believe. Awareness + Intention + Action = Manifestation. 3) This movement must become mainstream. It is easiest to talk to those who agree with you. Find ways to connect to those that don't. If someone doesn't believe in global warming, maybe they can be reached by discussing our dependency on foreign oil as a national security issue, or by discussing cleaner fuels and energy efficiency for their own merit. 4) As Arvol suggests, maintaining spiritual connectivity is paramount. Awareness is paramount. To be aware we must be self aware. To be self aware we must connect to ourselves, and to God, Source, Great Spirit, whatever you call It. From this connection we gain the strength to walk the walk, and the wisdom to connect to those who still crawl.

    Nice Post Bud, New Orleans sends love

    Tom

  5. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Tom, You've got it very well characterized. Bucky Fuller always advocated demonstrating compelling alternatives!
    No one ever said this would be easy.

    Glad to know you're back in New Orleans from your time at the Energy Project Division of FERC!

    All best wishes, Bud

  6. Bud Wilson says:

    Thanks Morganne, You've got it right! Awakening to the urgent need for clean energy sources is the key.
    warm regards, Bud

  7. Karen Rudat says:

    Wow, this site is awesome!! I am highly inspired by your work and background, and your passion to make our World a better place to live. I share this passion with you and would love to have an opportunity to talk with you sometime.
    I also have 2 kids (Kings choice). They are the next generation…Our children are our future and they are the hope needed to make the change the World so desperatly needs to see right now. It's people like you that are here to teach them!

    I would love to hear from you!

    Blessings~Karen Rudat
    P.S. I am a HUGE John Denver fan. I grew up listening to his music and still love it. :)

    Encompass Your Passion

    • Bud Wilson says:

      Hello Karen, I left a comment on the Elephant Journal site for you. Not sure if this will go to you privately or be posted as a comment as well. Of course, I'd be happy to speak with you at your convenience – thanks for your kind comments. Best Regards, Bud

  8. Bud Wilson says:

    Hello Karen, Thank you for your generous comments. We all do our best, many more want to help in this time of transition. Since the issues often appear overwhelming and certainly daunting, it isn't easy to know what to do. Well funded disinformation campaigns don't help. You might have clicked on my link in this article ( http://www.merchantsofdoubt.org/ ) …and that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corporations intentionally confusing the issues to protect their profits. One of my favorite quotes from Thomas Paine is this: "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks and all it wants is the liberty of appearing". In our culture it takes a lot of money to fund positive message campaigns to liberate truth, that's why I'm advocating a return to PSA's – don't tell Newt Gingrich who tried to stop the funding for our public broadcasting system, since it undermined his political agenda.

    John Denver was a phenomenal humanitarian, passionately committed to nature. There is a documentary in the works to feature all that he did on behalf of the Earth. It's called "What one Man Can Do", based on a song he wrote in tribute to Bucky Fuller.

  9. Bud Wilson says:

    Hello John, Thanks for joining in this conversation all the way from New Zealand. Yes, I agree with your assessment of the deniers. No evidence is ever sufficient for a "true believer" – most people who deny the reality of anthropogenic climate change have an ideology and an agenda that doesn't allow for reason or information to sway their "beliefs". It's time we discovered that economic growth is not always the answer to our many challenges. All best wishes, Bud

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