TruthToTell March 7: SO YOU WANT ENERGY, EH?: Our Future is Grim - AUDIO is UP

On-air date: 
Mon, 03/07/2011

A note to you who listened and tried calling only to be frustrated with our system. We're really sorry about that. We thank you for calling.

This subject elicited more calls than any other show we've aired in a long time. It is obvious energy is a hot topic among you all. We will return to this subject very soon. Please look below to find some key links to more information about the research and coming events for Transition Towns and the other organizations represented Monday morning. We will add more links here as they arrive.

How can any of us make sense of what is happening in our energy world? We consume a quarter of the world’s energy in the United States. Most of us think nothing of jumping into an SUV for a trip to the store or up north. Or to relieve ourselves of cold and heat when we feel like it. We are warned time and again that energy independence is essential to a secure future and yet we go on burning fossil fuels as though the wells will never run dry – or we rely on others to find it when we’ll need it – be it below deep water in the Gulf or under the Arctic Refuge or lodged in Canadian tar sands.

Just get it so we can burn it. Never mind the cost or damage done in the process.

We create ethanol as an renewable alternative transportation fuel and don’t realize that it takes at least as much fossil fuel to refine the ethanol as it might be to burn it directly in our vehicles.

We want electric vehicles, but we must create the electricity to transfer it to our car batteries. How will we generate that electricity. And what about those cars? Shouldn’t we stop using them so rapaciously and instead rely on much more efficient mass transit systems?

What are we willing to know? What are we willing to do to seriously look at our energy future and do something to secure it with as little short term or long-term damage done to our environment – and, yes, our economy – a very big deal when the transition away from oil to other sources really happens.

The options seem unrelenting: massive wind farms? Large solar panel infrastructure? Backyard and rooftop wind power and solar installations? To burn or not to burn – anything – oil, wood, garbage? Some people believe in nuclear again, especially those who think it's the cleanest of fuels - but what about the waste? This stuff is radioactive, remember. It could behave like a hydrogen bomb. New ideas include recycling the nuclear waste from current plants to re-power those plants or new ones. Good idea? Or dangerous as hell?

People are thinking about these things. Really they are. But many might be considered pretty nerdy about it all.

Problem is: the need to figure this out is upon us. Oh, yeah, the world won’t cave tonight or tomorrow over this issue – but it’s actually the massive scale of the problem catching up with us that has us often feeling powerless and confused – especially when oil companies, utilities, car companies, ethanol makers and all the other vested interests would just as soon you weren’t aware of  the problem, let alone pressuring them to resolve it, pressuring our policymakers to resolve it.

TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and guest co-host MICHELLE ALIMORADI talk with a few of the many advocates immersed in these issues and we’ll try to make some sense of the reality and not to confuse you. But – it’s complicated.

On-air guests: 

JOHN FARRELL – Senior Research Associate, Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Author of Energy Self-Reliant States

KAREN STUDDERS - Attorney, Scientist, Transition Towns Advocate, former Commissioner, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (Ventura)

BILL KONRARDY – Transition Towns Advocate

KEN BRADLEY – Director, Environment Minnesota; Member of the SolarMN Coalition