January 26 , 2013


I wonder about us. I wonder about our elegantly analytical minds and our collective faith in a future that's urban, industrial, and computer glitterate. How much stock can we really put in a science that can tell us what, where, how, and when, but not why?

For example: nationally, there's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; locally, it's the Rocky Mountain Front. Both, admittedly, have high potential for oil and natural gas deposits beneath their surface. Science tells us that.

Both ANWR and the Front have eager exploiters poised like "Sooners" ready to rush into Oklahoma's Indian Territory. Those who most stand to profit from development say exploration and extraction can be done without "leaving a single track." Can anyone be so gullible as to believe such self-serving garbage?

Even if it were possible, there's still the question, "Why?"

To make us "energy independent," so the old refrain goes. But one doesn't need the nose of a grizzly to scent more garbage on the wind. ANWR oil and Front Range gas might make us LESS energy dependent ... for a week or a decade. Then what? It only stands to reason that most of the rest of the world's oil reserves lie beneath most of the rest of the world--outside our borders. The truth is, real energy independence will occur only with alternative energy development--say, fuel cells--and not before.

Let's turn up the hole card in this poker game and see what we find. Well, I'll be darned--there's greed. Greed is the why for the push to exploit potential oil reserves beneath ANWR and the Rocky Mountain Front. Somebody plans to make a buck. The problem is somebody wants to steal that buck from our kids and their kids.

There's cultural irony here. We tend to look down our patrician noses at profligate cultures who fail to plan for the future. Gluttonous tribesman who gorge today while letting tomorrow's food spoil seem beneath our culture's contempt. We herald the rancher for stockpiling livestock feed for the long run. As individuals, we willingly ration woodpiles to last for the winter, put up fruit and vegetables for future lean times, patch clothing to make 'em last. And most of all, we prepare our children for futurity through savings accounts for a better education than we had.

Ours is a forward-thinking, dynamic society, right? No
tribemens' mentality here, right? Instead, we plan for the future, right? Then how explain the current demand to develop our last natural splendors--to hell with the next generation!

Remember the question. Science either has given, or can give, the answers to What, Where, When, and How; but it can never provide the Why. It can never tell us why we're even thinking of jerking what might be our children's last legacy from beneath their very feet. Come on now

Greed is natural. Everybody has some--even you and me. What's not natural is to allow a few intemperates to steal our children's legacy in order to satisfy their parents' gluttony.

In short, we cannot stand idly by and allow today's greed to trump tomorrow's need.


Next week? Another walk on the wild side.


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