There are many battles that have been fought, are now being fought, and will be fought in the future to put this country on a path to energy sanity. Some past battles have been lost and some have been won. Going forward all must be fought. . The long-term goal is winning this war. One present battle being fought is over the Keystone Pipeline. If the battle is won it will be a step in the right direction and will take us closer to winning the environmental war to put this country on a sustainable non-polluting renewable energy path. If we loose, it will be a setback and we'll have to regroup. But we have no choice. We must continue the fight for our ultimate long-term goal of winning this war.
This current KXL fight reminds me of a personal experience my wife and I had in trying to achieve a long-term goal of our own about twenty-five years ago. That goal was to live overseas.
When we first set out we made a few miscalculations and missteps. We did not fully appreciate all the little things needing to be done on a day by day basis. For a while we kept giving lip service to it. One day it dawned on us while shopping we were actually doing many things on a day to day basis that were taking us away from our stated desire to move and live overseas. We sat down again and seriously examined our actions and vowed to focus our attention without waiver to its achievement.
After this serious discussion we constantly reminded ourselves to put the target of living overseas first and foremost in our thinking so our every action would directly lead to its accomplishment. Once we did this our day to day life became an eye-opening experience.
It was amazing how many times we caught ourselves getting ready to do something that not only wouldn't get us closer but actually would move us further away. Take, for instance, in the area of our finances. We had set a goal of having the money to afford to travel overseas for one year. Yet numerous times we caught ourselves on the verge of purchasing a piece of furniture or household item that made no sense to purchase if we were serious about leaving the country. Sometimes it was hard to forego the item. We knew it would mean short-term sacrifice or inconvenience. Hold on, better not buy that piece of furniture even though it's on sale. Makes no sense if we're going overseas. Oops - Let's pull back on going to that expensive show and fancy restaurant this Friday night. It would just blow the savings plan for our upcoming trip. These little day to day decisions meant some short-term sacrifice and inconvenience but were necessary to achieve the long-term target.
Our personal purchases and activity choices were not the only areas where we felt unease. Here we were in our early forties, happily married living in a wonderful newly remodeled home in Seattle. We were in successful careers and surrounded by wonderful friends. Life was good.
We were getting ready to give all this up, strap on 15 pound backpacks and go off into the wild blue yonder without any guarantee of ultimate destination or employment. Many of our friends called us crazy. "How could we chuck it all and just take off? What about our security and future?", they said. It was unsettling to say the least as major change can be. But we did not allow ourselves to be deterred.
Well, to make a long story short, the one year of travel turned into fifteen years of overseas living. We landed excellent jobs in three different countries (Taiwan, Thailand and Burma). Our lives were enriched beyond belief. Our friends no longer called us crazy but instead indicated how lucky we were. The short-term sacrifices had paid off and a long-term dream with multiple benefits had been realized.
Now back to the KXL fight now being waged. Lots of politicians, business and community leaders, and just every day individuals speak of a desire to transition to renewable non-polluting energy. In the totality of all that needs to be done to alter our energy future to achieve this goal KXL represents just one step in the wrong direction. It is a day to day action that, if approved, leads us further away from achieving the long-term renewable energy goal. It is one of those day to day actions that we need to stop taking if we are serious.
Just as my wife and I had a serious discussion about our long-term goal of living overseas and what actions we had to do and not do on a day to day basis to achieve it, this nation needs to conduct that same kind of discussion and make that same kind of commitment. Just as in the short-term we felt some inconvenience, discomfort and unease with the future, we as a nation, will collectively feel the same way. But just as my wife and I reaped the benefits of that day to day perseverance this nation will also. Just as our perseverance led to a richer more fulfilling life for the two of us so too will we collectively be rewarded with a richer more fulfilling life.
The longer we wait the further off and more difficult it will be to achieve our secure non-polluting renewable energy future. It's those little day to day decisions and actions that need to change in both our individual lives and within our institutions and businesses. It's time for the discussion and our rock solid commitment. It's the Key(stone) to achieving our stated long-term goal and winning our environmental war.
Hope and pray that Obama makes the right decision.