When I write, I spend a fair amount of time writing about trivialities. Whether it's salty spaghetti or clothes I find in snow drifts, I often prattle endlessly about stuff of little consequence. Well, gird your loins and get ready to get serious and be fired up about Green Energy, because that's my topic of the day.
There is this gigantic gusher of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico right now. That's certainly grabbed the nation's attention. I have some hope that this will spur us as a society to do something about our dependence on this product. I also am enough of a realist to believe that as soon as the gusher stops gushing, and more pointedly stops being shown on TV every night, most of us will forget all about it and go back to paying attention to American Idol.
I hear people talk every so often about how it's bad that we send so much of our money to China because they produce so much of what we buy, and that we ought to do something about that. True enough, and that's an issue worth discussing. But for how long have politicians in this country been promising to do something about our dependence on oil? At least since President Carter, and for all I know long before that, there has been talk from the top about finding a solution. Regrettably, that's about all it has been, talk.
Would it not be better to get going, and get out front, on whatever will be the next solution to the world's energy-generation needs? Of course it would. Unfortunately, it's far, far easier to be a profiteer on existing technology (that is, oil and whatnot) than it is to develop nascent technology.
I fear that the worlds of energy profiteering and having the Chinese build our stuff for us will soon coalesce into a major problem for this nation. China is going to try to be out front on developing this new technology. And they're getting pretty good at building things, not in small measure because we've sold them the tools and know-how we used to use ourselves. Now, while we sit around and get fat making money by moving money around, they are going to build all kinds of stuff that we are going to have to buy from them, if they are kind enough to continue issuing us credit.
It won't be long until we're no longer a superpower if we continue down this road. Sure, it won't happen next week, but twenty or forty years from now? You'd better believe we'll be teetering if we don't do something about it. And since you can't just flip new technology on like a light switch, we'd better get crackin' on it soon.
You don't get to be a superpower by just moving money around, or else the Swiss might be the big cheese (heh, heh, get it?!) No, you actually have to develop things. America built warships the size of shopping malls, rockets to send men to the moon, and innumerable other things. There was a time that if you went to a hardware store for a screwdriver, it damn sure would have been made here. These days, you'd sure better look at the grip for its origin, because it's not only not a sure thing to be made here, it's probably just as likely not.
That's one small example, but it's illustrative of a wide-reaching problem: We've given up far too much of our manufacturing base, and along with it, our ability to innovate. If you have to go knocking on your neighbor's door to ask for eggs every time you want to make a cake, what happens when your neighbor no longer answers the door? No cake, that's what. The worst part is, you're the idiot who sold your neighbor the chicken in the first place!
If it's not China in the lead on developing Green Energy technology, it will be someone else. Why can't that someone else once again be us?