Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11, oil and being part of the solution.

Here is a short essay I wrote for the Iowa Renewable Energy Association newsletter shortly after 9/11. I think it's still relevant, unfortunately.


From “Energy Matters”, Fall 2001
by Rich Dana

“By the way, if you want to have a war over oil, leave me out of it- because I don’t think we need it.  All I have to say is, go solar! Go wind!  Let a little freedom into your life, and help your neighbors stay free, too.  FREEDOM!”

Richard Perez, Publisher, Home Power- keynote address at I-Renew Expo, Sept. 8, 2001

I was disassembling the geodesic dome we had erected at Prairiewoods for the expo on September 11 th, 2001.  It was a warm and windy late summer day, and the trampled grass in the meadow still held the positive energy of all those curious and excited visitors who had walked there in the previous days.  But the radio in my truck flooded the air around me with news of unspeakable acts of desperate and hateful men.

My mind was back in New York, tracing in vivid detail the sights and sounds of my daily bicycle ride across the Brooklyn Bridge, under the shadow of the twin towers, dodging taxis or catching  a tow on the back door of a delivery  van, to my woodshop just a few blocks north of the Trade Center. 

I sat down and looked up through the octagonal and pentagonal sections of the dome, which made the sky and prairie around me like the colored segments of a stained glass window.  I feared for my friends and family back in the city, and for the world, and listened  with  dull, numb disbelief. 

In the month that followed, I kept thinking about the words of Richard Perez, during his keynote address just 3 days before the attack. He talked about the freedoms that renewable energy can bring. Among them were economic freedom and  freedom from wars over oil.  In those months I have read extensively about the roots of the hatred for America in Central Asia and the Middle East, and realized the extent to which motivations for action on both sides of the conflict are determined by the lust for oil.

It is with this knowledge that I invite you all, as members of the renewable energy community, to join me to work with new and greater resolve, to prove to the world that we in Iowa CAN become exporters of homegrown energy, that we CAN significantly reduce our nations dangerous reliance on vulnerable sources of energy like foreign crude, natural gas and nuclear.  We know that we can do this by using the great renewable resources we are blessed with here in Iowa, not the least of which is our minds, our hearts, and our spirit.

Let us in Iowa and across the nation take this on as our personal responsibility, to make this Americas last battle caused by foreign entanglements rooted in oil, and to honor the lives of those forever entombed in the rubble of corporate greed.