I Believe in the Power of the Human Brain Anyway

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I hold fast to my belief in the power of our intellect and imagination to solve the challenges facing mankind.

I know, I know… I watch TV, too. But even on TV, you sometimes see a glimmer of intelligence among the dross. For example, I was watching the History Channel this morning and saw two enlightening programs – one on the relationship between oil and climate change and the other about the evolution of the logging industry in America.

The one about oil was chilling in its calmness. It examined the way in which the oceans overheated and became stagnant many eons ago, poisoning organic forms, which in turn created carbon deposits that triggered the cooling of the oceans and eventually the regeneration of the earth. The program also laid out the step-by-step process by which humans are accelerating the heating process with our excessive production of greenhouse gases, sending our earth hurtling toward another age of stagnation and death.

The second program showed how loggers mindlessly despoiled the forest in the early years but have since learned how to harvest trees with the help of new equipment and advanced technology so that modern logging methods are becoming more acceptable to environmentalists.

I also saw a commercial paid for by a private individual, and it made me perk up. The man who placed the ad was T. Boone Pickens (photo below). The name rang a bell but I wasn’t sure why, so I Googled him.art.pickens.2.cnn.jpg

Turns out Pickens is a legendary Texas oilman, corporate raider, shareholder-rights crusader, philanthropist and deep-pocketed money man for conservative politicians and causes, who wants to drive the USA’s political and economic agenda.

You would think that such a man would be anathema to people like me. But you never know who you will find yourself agreeing with in this life.

And I found myself agreeing with Pickens on at least one topic – oil.

“We import 70 percent of our oil at a cost of $700 billion a year – four times the annual cost of the Iraq war,” Pickens said. “I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of. But if we create a new renewable energy network, we can break our addiction to foreign oil.”

Pickens’ plan would cut the USA’s demand for foreign oil by more than a third in less than a decade. To promote it, he is bankrolling a huge ad campaign.

Not surprisingly, wind power is a big part of Pickens’ plan. He is sinking billions of dollars into a new wind farm in Texas. Expected to be the biggest in the world, it will produce enough power for the equivalent of 1.3 million homes. Pickens expects to start receiving turbines in mid-2010 and have the total 4,000 megawatts finished by the end of 2015.

But there’s more to it than that – far too much to detail here. You might want to check out the Pickens web site at http://pickensplan.com/theplan.

And I hope the next president of the United States will check it out, too. Our leaders need to pay more attention to citizens with ideas. The country would reap far greater rewards from investing in new technologies and ideas than in scattering paper money to the winds through so-called “stimulus packages.”

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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