Saturday, February 9, 2008

Standby for Heavy Rolls

"Standby for heavy rolls, as the ship comes about." This is the announcement I made over the ship's intercom so many times when changing course in choppy waters. The announcement is broken up with a pause (signified by the comma) so that it can be clearly understood. It is passed over the intercom to ensure the safety of the crew onboard the ship.

When the ship comes about or turns, it is in a state of transition that takes time; and along with the rough waters, can feel unsteady and shaky. During this time, the ship’s crew pauses to secure themselves and any loose items within their realm of control. As the ship shudders from the different forces acting on the ship’s bow – some trying to keep it back from turning and others aiding in its course change – the ship slowly but surely turns. It shudders and shakes off the inert forces trying to keep it back. It shudders and shakes off the rust that could threaten its integrity. It shudders and shakes off any doubts of heading on a new course. And it turns; but if you have ever seen the bow of a ship as it turned to a new heading (direction), you may understand the visceral power of seeing it set its sights on a new target course, bringing its strength of purpose to bear. Its mighty engines roaring toward a new horizon and beyond that horizon await a port of call that is exhilarating to the ship’s crew.

The crew describes the individuals or the stakeholders. And the ship described here can also describe households, communities, cities, counties, states, regions, and our nation. The choppy waters represent the waters or environment (economic, social, political, etc.) we will face, as the ship comes about. Be that as it may, we face some daunting challenges and our natural inclinations to resist change make it tougher. But in the end, that is not our true inclination. We will not be inert; we will be undaunted. We will not shirk our responsibilities; we will answer the call. We will not shun new ideas; we will ask how can it work? We will not be worthless; we will fight for something worthy! Let us rise to the challenge that will allow us to change course and see a new horizon.

Many will talk about that one solution that will cure our problems. But these problems are not problems; they are challenges. They are complex challenges, and a one-size-fits-all solution is irresponsible and will not suffice. A mixed basket of sorts is going to do the trick. More energy efficient vehicles and buildings, more utilization of renewable and alternative fuels, careful use of resources, education and awareness will all take us there.

Dieting and exercising became popular as we understood how actions taken now affect us, our loved ones, and our quality of life in later years. This helped build our capacity to understand how energy independence and environmental sustainability is just as important. Many shall be called but only a few shall be chosen. Let’s stay focused on the prize: Energy Independence & Environmental Sustainability.

Co-Authored by Kevin & Russell Otway

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