The Renewables Revolution Will Not Be Televised

August 4, 2007 at 10:38 am
Contributed by: Chris

For this week’s Energy and Capital column, I adapted the famous poem by Gil Scott-Heron to discuss renewable energy.

The Renewables Revolution Will Not Be Televised

By Chris Nelder
08-03-2007

You will not be able to stay home, brother.

You will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out.

You will not be able to lose yourself on skag and

Skip out for beer during commercials,

Because the revolution will not be televised

–Gil Scott-Heron, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Gil Scott-Heron’s 1970 classic poem about race relations could just as easily be about the renewable energy revolution that is now well underway.To be sure, there have been some recent moments when the media turned its focus on energy. Like when President Bush proclaimed that we are “addicted to oil.” Or like this week, with a slew of energy legislation making its way to the floor of Congress. Among the bills are some important ones that would set higher gas mileage standards for vehicles and establish a federal renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for generating of renewable energy. Some of them may even be voted on today. But I resisted the urge to write about them, and exhort you to call your Congressmen in support. Why? Because the renewables revolution will not be televised.

You will not be able to stay at home, flipping the channels

For the latest on Paris, Nicole and Lindsay

While Big Oil finds another five new Saudi Arabias’ worth

Of the lifeblood you need to get to your job 50 miles away.

No blow-dried air personality is going to ask you not to buy a Hummer 2

Or question whether you really need to “conquer the road”

No contractor will ask you if you really need 15,000 square feet of house

No oil sheik will ask you why you still drive something that gets 14 mpg

The renewables revolution will not be televised.

No senator is going to tell you when to install solar

No utility company is going to help you eliminate your electric bill

No automaker is going to urge a new era in electric light rail

Nobody is going to tell you when to jump and go build a lifeboat

Because the oil-based infrastructure is breaking down.

The renewables revolution will not be televised.

The renewables revolution will not be planned from the top down

Congress will not come up with a wise and sustainable energy policy

The renewables revolution will not have the unequivocal support of the Department of Energy

Economists, stock traders and energy analysts will not

Line up to promote it on the Sunday news shows

Because the renewables revolution will not be televised.

Geothermal turbines will not be featured on Kudlow & Company

Jim Cramer will not tell you to reduce your personal energy footprint

Dick Cheney will not tell you to follow his example

And build a state-of-the-art energy efficient home with solar power

Al Gore will not give you a step-by-step instruction manual

On how to be a smart energy consumer.

Ahnold will not come to your house to pump it up with free energy

Your conservation will not earn you air miles or discount coupons

Your insurance company will not reward you for biking instead of driving

New insulation will not increase the curb appeal of your home

Or get it on the five o’clock news

The renewables revolution will not be televised.

The renewables revolution will not attract more business to your state

It will not feel like a reaction to 9/11

Even though it is a more effective response than military action.

News choppers will not circle your home

Broadcasting pictures of your solar system, your garden and your hybrid

Because that does not make news like a refinery explosion does

The renewables revolution will not be televised.

No one is driving the bus you’re on, brother

No one is going to guarantee that you will always be able to buy

Food from halfway ’round the world because you have the money

Money won’t be where it’s at, honey

When the oil runs out

The renewables revolution will not be televised.

No, my brothers and sisters, the renewables revolution will not be televised

The revolution will begin at home, with you and your neighbors

You will buy local organic food simply because it tastes better

Because it is free of “potentially cancer-causing agents”

And because you like to support the local economy.

You will turn off unneeded lights simply as a sign of respect

You will relocate so you can walk or bike to work

Because it makes your life better.

You will install wind turbines and solar panels and micro-hydro turbines and geothermal heat pumps

Because you like knowing that your energy is clean and green

Because you don’t want your children to breathe power plant exhaust

Because you want a healthy environment for all of God’s creatures

And because it’s cheaper in the long run.

The revolution will be do-it-yourself

The revolution will be your personal decision

The revolution will be bottom-up

The revolution will be demanded by the grassroots and forced upon big business

The revolution will challenge the status quo.

But no one will sell it to you, brother.

It will not be brought to you by ExxonMobil

It will not add 20 points to your IQ, six years to your life, or three inches to your unit

It will not clear up your skin, remove your wrinkles, or cure your psoriasis

It will not make you the most popular person in the office

Or the envy of the block.

The renewables revolution will be in your house, on your time, and on your dime.

The renewables revolution will be live.

Until next time,

–Chris

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