Whether we realize it or not, energy means much more to us than fuel in our cars and electricity in our sockets. What we eat, where we go, what we wear, and how we communicate is all dependent on energy, and now more than ever before our ability to generate energy in a sustainable way is critical to maintaining our standard of living for the next several decades.
To help us come to terms with our need to revamp our perspectives on energy, Black Enterprise is hosting Part 2 of A Conversation on Energy sponsored by Shell, in Washington D.C at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, on Nov. 8, 2010. The conversation will take place in two sessions focusing on 1) Energy Security, where panelists will discuss how to transition from our major reliance on fossil fuels and foreign sources of energy; and 2) Energy Responsibility, to outline ways we can reduce our environmental impact and avoid disasters.
Nothing underscores the necessity for this conversation more than the Gulf of Mexico oil spill this spring after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. The spill left an oil slick that threatens to obliterate the ecosystems of coastal land in the Gulf, jeopardize tourism and fishing industries, and shake our trust in Gulf seafood safety. It reminded us just how important clean energy is to our livelihoods, our health, and our environment.
Now with advancements in renewable energy systems (wind, solar, water, geothermal) our country has more options, but accessing that energy is going to require us to do new things in new ways, while continuing to leverage our use of fossil fuels more efficiently. But not everyone is up to make those changes.
Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. It was a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that lawmakers hoped would create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution. Not everyone agrees that ACES is the solution to our country’s energy needs, and so the bill has been stalled in the senate. If it makes it out of the senate, what will likely pass now more than a year later is a bill that is weaker on regulation, and not as environmentally friendly as many conservationists would like.
Adding to the problem, regular working people and businesses are confused about how changes in the production and use of energy are going to affect them. For example, when President Barack Obama called a moratorium on deep water drilling to research the safety of drilling offshore, many of his most incensed detractors were small business owners who depended on the industry to make a living. On the other hand, citizens also heard that the fossil fuel industry will not be dismantled any time soon and that in addition to those jobs there will be new jobs available for blue and white collar workers as the new energy economy develops.
Leading up to this forum, we want to hear from our readers about their hopes, fears, and responsibilities concerning new ways to produce energy. Tell us: Are you excited about the possibilities of exploring careers in renewable energy? How do you propose we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels? Are you angry that Congress has been slow to pass the Clean Energy bill? Or are you hoping that they never pass it? What questions do you have? Tell us your stories.
For more information visit Black Enterprise: A Conversation on Energy hosted by Shell