Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Eyes Wide

Today, I prepared to hit delete, but hesitated when I read: "Every four weeks my husband drives me to Tampa and I get 13 injections around my eyes."

The Orange County Library hosts an online nonfiction book club and Suzanne, a librarian there, adds an inspiring blog each work day. Truthfully, I haven't put much time and attention into those emails. They are usually among the first I delete. Today, I read on.

She explains that she has this impairment where her eyelids won't stay open without these injections. The experience is bittersweet for her. The shots are painful and she dreads the procedure, but for one brief moment afterwards, she can see the world with her eyes wide open.

Of course for this to be inspirational, she concludes with: "And yesterday it also made me wonder...maybe there are other things in my life that I think are normal, but I'm just not looking at them with my eyes wide open." To read her entire message, visit her Dear Reader blog.

As an idealist, I know I miss a lot of subtle signals that the world is sending me. I don't go around with my eyelids drooping, my eyes are often tightly shut. Last night a documentary, "A Crude Awakening" pried them open a crack and I saw a few things that made me consider taking my head out of the sand.

Let me say first that the documentary, made by 'award-winning' filmmakers Basil Gelpke and Ray McCormack, is no award winner. Although it has won several awards. It is just too campy for me and biased. It juxtaposes old advertisements with statements from OPEC's former CEO, several physicists and scientists. The blurb on the cover describes the bias: "This documentary examines the world's dependency on oil and the impending chaos that's sure to follow when the resource is depleted." The advertisements they include feature big old gas guzzlers of the 1950s, those classic Thunderbirds and moves forward to the SUV and Hummer commercials. They show historic footage of new fields being discovered around the world and how they stand empty, tapped out, today.

The documentary touches on what the financial centers of the world really trade in. It isn't money -- it is oil, natural resources. And they point out that oil has become more and more a commodity found in unstable regions. They forecast that soon (as in now, I fear) oil negotiations will become a military procedure rather than a supply and demand economic trade.

Sadly the documentary is so biased that it is easy to shrug it off and say, "scare tactics." Yet, the core essence that make it scary rings true. The oil exploration has peaked. The oil production has declined. And we are totally dependent upon oil.

Today I plan to find out more concerning alternative energies. They touch on them in the documentary and seem to discount all but one: solar energy. Hydrogen comes a close second, but we need much more research and development -- about 30 years of it -- before it is a feasible alternative. Even nuclear energy would require 20,000 new plants, worldwide, to just keep up with the demand already in place. And of course that creates the waste we don't know what to do with, not to mention depleting the uranium ore needed. They estimate it would be gone in a decade or two.

The comment that shook me, especially today in the face of the airlines' downsizing, that our grandchildren may never get the opportunity to ride on a plane. They say eventually individual cars and airplane travel may become only available to the 10 percent who can afford it.

If you buy into that notion that what we experience today, take for granted, will become something that only the most wealthy can afford, then it explains why we are moving toward gated communities, companies selling out their employees and CEOs worrying only about profits and their own bottom line. It explains why our president is so aligned with oil companies and works to help the rich get richer. It explains the rapid decline in the middle class as that chasm widens between the haves and have nots.

As I said, the film won't win awards from me, but it raises valid questions and makes some valid points. Whenever I watch a documentary, I always ask, what are they NOT telling me. Yet this one seems to be even more timely today than in 2006 when it was made.

Perhaps it is time to contact our congressmen and representatives and tell them we want action, we want research and development funds to find a way to get us off this addiction to oil. NOW! Anyone know where I can get some solar panels? My eyes are wider open today, are yours? For a thought provoking compendium of things we CAN do, visit James Howard Kunstler's remarks. His remarks leave out the role computers will play in the future, I think. But apparently our global lifestyles will return to regionalism again. That certainly makes me blink!


Anonymous said...

Well, it seems "A Crude Awakening" still had quite an impact on you after all...

Dawn said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. Yes, the documentary Crude Awakening did have an impact, for sure!

I'm just sorry the filmmakers did not provide a more balanced version of the subject. If they had, then those who wish to discount it would have less ammunition to use to shoot it down.

Thanks again for visiting my blog and commenting.