R.J. Ruppenthal  @  ChelseaGreen

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Occupy and Oil: A Tale of Two Quotes

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 at 4:06 pm by R.J. Ruppenthal

The Occupy Wall Street movement is about addressing inequality. I am a strong supporter of taking back our country from those who have sucked away so much of its capital. Though my local Occupy movements have become somewhat fractured and the message is becoming more muddled, I have been impressed with the organization overall. Frankly, it is hard to keep people on the left united and focused on anything for very long, and yet these protests have managed to keep everyone's eyes on their positive message for a meaningful period of time. Excellent work. As the winter weather comes and local governments' tolerance wanes for the Occupations, let's make sure we keep the pressure on our policymakers to make the rich pay their fair share. Here is an inspiring quote which says it all:

"We can either have a democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”–U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Separately, let's not forget that the world is running out of affordable oil and gas at an alarming rate, and that we need to develop alternative sources of energy as quickly as possible (20 or 30 years ago would have been nice). This would help our economy tremendously and could provide the impetus we need to transform our financial system to a more sustainable base. Without prompt action, our economy is about to drop off a cliff much steeper than anything we have seen yet.

Statements from Obama administration officials continue to leave me with the impression that they understand this urgency, and yet we have not seen them take a meaningful lead on this. If the peak oil (and various other peak resources) situation is as urgent as everyone seems to think, verging on a crisis, then where is the vision and where is the action to transform our system of energy and economics? Here's the latest quote from Hillary Clinton on this, delivered in conjunction with the creation of a new State Department agency geared toward energy diplomacy. Hopefully, they're planning to do more than just talk, talk, talk:

"You can't talk about our economy or foreign policy without talking about energy. With a growing global population and a finite supply of fossil fuels, the need to diversify our supply is urgent." –U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton


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