Last week I went to DC to attend an Energy Forum. I was very excited to go, to hopefully meet some contacts and talk with like-minded people. My experience was….interesting.
I think I expected too much. I figured people would have a clue about why we were all really there. Unfortunately most people in attendance were fairly clueless about the realities of our energy situation. To be fair, they were probably there to learn something, but mostly they were attending because their organisation has mandated energy reductions and they wanted to learn about ways to do that. Industry was there with a variety of ‘ways to fix it’, but really I got a sense that they were getting on board because renewable energy was the ‘next big thing’. They were there to make money, not to build a more resilient future. I don’t know why I am surprised.
Only one speaker mentioned Peak Oil, but he obviously completely misunderstands what Peak Oil really means. He got it so wrong. I’m not exactly sure where he was getting his information but he couldn’t even explain the concept of Peak Oil correctly, let alone discuss the risks in a meaningful way. He basically dismissed the idea that there was anything to worry about. I was frustrated that this was the information attendees were receiving. I broached this with a few people during the break and most people I spoke to thought he didn’t know what he was talking about, so perhaps there were more people aware of what’s really going on.
Thankfully, at the end of the second day, one of the speakers hit the nail on the head. He basically said that while it was great that people were implementing energy efficiency programs and renewable energy projects, no-one was really addressing the real risks. He was fairly blunt and provocative which was great.
I guess what surprised me the most is that I now feel like I know more about this stuff than even so-called ‘experts’. It’s good that I’m at a point where I feel confident in the knowledge I have, but now it feels somewhat lonely with not many people to really talk to about all this stuff. Thanks goodness for you all in blogland!!
I’ve come away with pages and pages of notes and some good contacts though. It was certainly a worthwhile experience, but I now have to battle with this feeling that anything I do to change the system is pointless. I had a few drinks with people on Friday night who asked why I was in DC. I explained that I was there to attend an energy forum and gave them my ‘elevator speech’ about why we need to reduce our energy dependence. You know what they said? “So you’re a greenie now?” Grrrrr!!! People are clueless. They don’t even want to listen. Our civilisation is not going to change in time.
It’s time to start building lifeboats.
Photo by: Abrilon