This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anyone could have. ~Author Unknown
And so it appears to be the case with innovative thinking and concrete action to achieve a two part goal: energy independence and environmental stewardship. Neither part can become a fully achieved reality independent of the other and have the ultimate goal achieved successfully.
Politicians, not statesmen, have expended enough hot air to fill a dirigible blaming anybody while disclaiming personal responsibility for anything, various ‘experts’ have wasted gallons of ink and reams of paper raising alarms while simultaneously reciting a litany of insurmountable obstacles, all with the unsurprising result that nothing has been accomplished other than more delay in reaching the ultimate goal.
On the one hand, we have the issue of environmental stewardship focused, rightly or wrongly, on a continuing discussion regarding the impact of global warming. Is global warming a proven scientific fact? Yes. It is part of a recurring cycle going back eons, just like global cooling. Does global warming create conditions which could increase the severity and frequency of catastrophic weather events or which could potentially change the natural cycles which preserve the Earth as we know it? Yes. Is global warming caused by or exacerbated by human activity? This topic is still open to debate, but does that preclude taking any action to ameliorate the consequences? Only at our own risk.
On the other hand, we have the issue of energy independence focused, rightly or wrongly, on decades of discussion regarding the continued use of and reliance on fossil fuels to generate energy. Does the world need to find an alternative to fossil fuels? Yes, for many reasons. Is there a single solution or alternative to fossil fuel use? Most probably not, but again, does that justify inaction or, at best, a feeble and cautious nibbling around the edges?
America’s history is replete with examples of unassuming people doing great things for the betterment of all. George Washington didn’t wait for all the answers to be known before fighting for independence. President Truman didn’t wait to move forward with the Manhattan Project because nuclear energy was a new frontier. President Kennedy didn’t hedge on his pledge to put an American astronaut on the Moon because there were too many seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In the end, is America ultimately to become characterized by a paraphrase from Mother Teresa, “We the willing, led by the unknowing”? Will America continue to be obsessed with and argue about how best to rearrange the deck chairs on our own Titanic while the ship sinks? Or will America’s engineers, turning ideas into realities, rise to the occasion and provide the self-serving and special interest oriented political class a way forward without them having to shoulder or acknowledge any responsibility, but for which they can loudly take credit when successful?
Without question, the clock is ticking. Discovering the ultimate solution(s) will have to come from engineers, scientists, researchers and other professionals, not from those whose foremost interest is self-preservation and promotion.
The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach