Robert C. Koehler
You couldn't call it a dialogue. It was more like a momentary rip in the global power continuum, a spill of outrage on the stage of a major oil conference in
One unfurled a banner that read "Go Beyond Petroleum." The other, as she was being ushered off the stage and out of the hotel, shouted, "We need to speed up progress and make a push to end the oil age."
That was it. Time's up. That's how protest is -- shouted and emotional, sometimes illegal. Even when it's videotaped and the world gets to witness those 20 seconds of public theater, all we hear are slogans, all we see are disruption and scuffle: disorder, quickly dealt with. Money gets its hair mussed a little and then returns to its agenda. Nothing seems to change. The disorder implicit in that agenda returns to "let our children worry about it" status, and we remain on the track described by
"The concentration of power at the top of large-scale societies gives the elite a vested interest in the status quo; they continue to prosper in darkening times long after the environment and general populace begin to suffer."
As though still on the podium with the BP exec, I claim a little more time to open up that
For it to matter whether or not we move "beyond petroleum," there has to be a spiritual, not just a technical, dimension to the concept. It implies, I think, a fundamental break with the domination impulse by which we have "tamed" nature over the millennia of recorded history and built our unstable civilizations, propped up by war and conquest. Moving beyond petroleum means moving beyond our uncritical acceptance of a fragmented world and fragmented sense of responsibility.
Indeed, it means moving beyond the gospel that competing fragments, each looking out for its own "self-interest" (a.k.a., capitalism), is the highest form of order we can hope for. Rep.
Turns out, A) "Of the five
At the very least, capitalism in its unregulated, most virulent form -- fragmentation capitalism, you might say -- which was set loose in the Reagan era, has to be contained. No small task. U.S. District Judge
The decision is proof of the status-quo aversion to long-range thinking -- or thinking that goes "beyond petroleum," thinking that muddies the profit game with ethical, moral and ecological concerns.
The "no proof" argument has long been the dodge of last resort for polluters, whether corporate or governmental. For instance, the
Beyond petroleum, beyond the shortsighted exploitation and fragmentation of the planet, there is life itself, awaiting our discovery in its ever-unfolding complexity. Beyond petroleum lies the human future, at peace with itself, at peace with the planet, secure in its context and evolving toward whatever comes after us.
We have to start growing up. This won't be easy, of course. Getting there will require a concerted, planetary effort, and the ascendance of values -- reverence, humility, love -- bigger than the ones that drive the age of oil.
Available at Amazon.com:
Read the latest political news.
- Beyond Petroleum
- Ancient Oceans Now Endangered Oceans
- BP Oil Spill: The Nightmare Becomes Reality
- BP Gulf Oil Spill Could Spur Energy Bill
- Senate Challenge to EPA Climate Change Authority
- Sinking 'Climate Change'
- BP Gulf Oil Spill: No-Win Situation for President Obama
- Obama's Katrina - The Politics of It Is Oily
- Stuck in the Oil Spill
- Who Runs America's Response to the Oil Blowout?
- Political Fallout of the BP Gulf Oil Spill
- Obama's BP Gulf Oil Spill Nightmare
- BP Oil Spill: And a Child Shall Lead Them
- Congress Looks for Answers After Gulf Oil Spill
- Gulf Oil Spill Has High Stakes for Obama
Beyond Petroleum | Politics
(c) 2010 Robyn Blumner