Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sarah Palin Interviewed in June 2008

Here's a short but interesting interview of Sarah Palin by talkshow host, Lars Larson, on June 27, 2008. The subject? America's energy problems and unlocking the ANWR oil reserves. The references she made to John McCain are interesting and perhaps even prescient.

ANWR is another issue like global warming: Most everyone seems to have a strong opinion about whether to drill or not to drill, but very little technical knowledge of the actual subject at hand. Welcome to politics!

As a former mining engineer, there is one thing I'm crystal clear on: The conveniences we enjoy every day in our modern lives - including the ability to read these very words on our computer monitors - are privileges. You're enjoying these privileges because:

  • Ore was removed from mines located in far-flung locales.
  • Metal was refined by processes that require extreme heat.
  • The heat was generated by burning natural gas or oil or through electricity that was generated from nuclear energy or coal or hydroelectric dams.
  • The plastic that forms the outer shell of your monitor and most of your keyboard and mouse came into being only because of the miraculous conversion of oil.
  • The metal components and the plastic and the glass were brought to factories by boats and trains and trucks, which consume oil as well.
  • After these parts were assembled into the modern conveniences you use everyday, they were packed into boxes made of cardboard that came from trees that were cut down.
  • To ensure your equipment was intact when you received it, each unit was surrounded with styrofoam. which is an expanded polystyrene foam that itself is made from oil and chemicals.
  • These boxes were put into metal crates, which were loaded onto trucks and trains and eventually onto boats, which crossed one or more oceans to get to your continent.
  • The crates were placed onto trains and trucks and distributed to communities all over.
  • The crates were opened, the boxes removed, and put onto smaller trucks that took them to stores.
  • You drove to these stores - probably more than one if you were shopping around - picked up one of the boxes, put it in your vehicle, and drove it back to your home.
  • You opened the box, removed the equipment, and plugged it into the wall socket.
  • Electricity then flowed across wires an enormous distance, from far-flung locales, and into your home so that you could read these very words!
Our society has evolved a great deal over the past 100 years. But in order for that to occur, natural resources had to be acquired. In order for that to occur, damage to Mother Earth had to happen. Minimizing that damage is the responsibility of every person who works in heavy industry. But eliminating the damage, at least in the short term, is impossible.

So the next time you feel like criticizing the people who earn their wages in the oil industry or the mining industry or the forest industry or the petrochemical industry or the manufacturing industry, take a week off from your regular life and go live out in nature without any modern conveniences. No computer, no Blackberry, no cel phone, no TV, no radio, no car, no canned food, no packaged food, no coffee, no metal or plastic containers, not even a propane stove. Do that for a week and then envision what it would be like living your life 52 weeks of the year in that fashion.

When it comes to the environment, it's easy to criticize, but almost impossible not to be a hypocrite.

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