Managing Partner, Missisquoi River Hydro
Consultant, renewable energy design
In tackling our current energy and environmental issues, the temptation is to focus on new technology, outreach, finance, or other technical factors. The problem is that none of these, individually or collectively, is sufficient.
The fundamental problem we face is one of political decision making–who makes decisions, and on what basis those decisions are made. The question prior to that is how decision makers are chosen. The root question is one of psychology and persuasion.
Our elected decision makers have to pass through three barriers. The first is raising multi-thousand dollar donations. The second is gaining approval from the handful of media conglomerates that control 90% of the market. The third is fulfilling the expectations of an electorate that has been indoctrinated by corporate media giants.
Meeting our environmental and energy challenges will require unified (government) action, a reduction in consumption, increased energy and material efficiency, and a fundamental change in economic incentives. This would go against the interests of the corporate entities that presently run our political filtration system. Likewise, it would go against the beliefs of the legislators selected by the present system.
To have enlightened decision makers we need to overhaul our electoral and campaign finance systems. Before that we need to make people understand that this is both necessary and possible. Ultimately, we need to either legally redefine the for-profit corporation to give it moral competence or render it politically silent and powerless.