Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pennsylvanians and Politics

If you're like most of us (including me), you've had it up to HERE with politics and with (most) politicians. Don't fall into the trap of despising ALL politicians, though; there still are elected officials out there trying to serve the public. One of our important jobs as citizens is to find these dedicated men and women, and work with them.
Because everything is up for grabs, everywhere--not just in Pennsylvania. My own sense is that we don't have a lot of time to try to fix it. Although I hope I'm wrong, I am trying to act as if I might be right, and my efforts--together with those of other like-minded citizens--are desperately needed to turn things around. Because--and this, I think, paraphrases somebody--Who are we to believe in our own unimportance? If we do that, we are falling into the plans of others. And those plans may not be the best thing for us, or for our society.
I believe the issues that need to concern us most as Pennsylvanians are: !. water; 2. energy, and 3. the control of "development."
While we have our minds set on oil and gas, the real potential scarcity is of water. Common drinking water included. This is worldwide, although the patterns change with wind currents. Which is why, right now, Pakistan is drowning while Russia is frying. Right now we seem to be in a period of drought here in the Keystone State. Like all things related to climate and weather, the situation is variable. We need to plan for it as intelligently as possible. Which is why such projects as drilling for oil in Lake Erie or using millions of gallons of water to free natural gas from marcellus shale must be shelved.
Am I saying we can do without natural gas and oil? I wish I could--but clearly that is not in the cards; and it is likely that, even in a much brighter future, we will still be using some carbon fuels. But we should strive to use as little as possible. Nothing will change the fact that these fuels are polluting and poisonous. First we need to use all renewable energy resources as fully as possible--wind and solar, geothermal (probably not available here), water power, whatever we have access to.
Finally, "development". A good reason to help retain parks is that people need them for recreation--much more than they need another shopping center or housing development or casino. A good reason to help retain farmland is that it is needed to grow food.
Go and see what your elected representatives think about such issues. If they support your ideas--which I hope are pretty much the same as mine, or you wouldn't have read this far--then support them. If not, try to replace them.
Whatever we do, though, let's not make the mistake of believing we can do without politics and politicians.

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