Is This Bedford Falls Or Pottersville?


For many years the Lester family vacationed along the Gulf from Alabama to Florida. We have joyfully dug our toes into the sugar white sands of the Beaches of South Walton and watched sea turtles hatch in Gulf Shores. We ate at the local seafood restaurants and played golf at the local courses. We enjoyed a way of life that only the Gulf Coast can offer. Now as the tar balls wash ashore instead of seashells, we wonder what is to become of this national treasure. The endless stream of soaring Brown Pelicans gliding along the shoreline. The tiny Sandpipers dancing in and out of ocean’s foam as it ebbs and flows. The elusive sand crabs darting here and there in the blink of an eye. So much to enjoy and so much to lose. And it seems ironic to me that the people along the Gulf have so much invested in the very industry that has threatened their way of life and this fragile ecosystem. Even those who lost loved ones in the oil rig explosion are calling for more drilling and more oil. I understand their point of view, as they have no choice but to champion that which has left them jobless and heartbroken. This is the industry that has brought many in the area good paying jobs. There has been plenty of oil money to spread around. But is this Bedford Falls or Pottersville? Maybe its not such “A Wonderful Life” after all. In this economy I know any job is a good job, but can’t we find some GREEN jobs for these people. We keep hearing that GREEN jobs are the wave of the future, but the future is now. We need innovators to step it up. Investors to put their money behind GREEN businesses and take a quantum leap toward renewable energy. Are we going to be held hostage by our energy needs forever? Does the tradeoff have to be oil spills, core meltdowns, water pollution, black lung and even death?  Are disasters simply a bi-product of our own desire for more power. Why aren’t all cars, trucks or suvs hybrids? The technology is certainly available. It all comes down to what we want and what we are willing to put up with to get it. Bigger and faster is not always better. If losing lives, livelihoods and ecoystems are not enough to turn our heads around, then perhaps our heads are not screwed on right. We know that tobacco kills people and causes many horrible diseases and yet what have we done to come up with an alternative cash crop for tobacco farmers? The same can be said for the oil workers and coal miners. As long as they can get paid big wages for dirty and dangerous jobs, they will be forced to live with the consequences. But given the option of a good paying GREEN job, I imagine they would choose to boot big oil in the rump. Ironic as it may seem, don’t expect them to bite the hand that feeds them now. We are not in the right economy for people to make life changing decisions based on ideology alone. The GREEN industry needs to pick it up. Government needs to kick-start GREEN initiatives and make investment money available to those who have GREEN ideas especially when it comes to renewable energy. If the answer is solar then let’s make a panel that is affordable for every home owner so the demand becomes incredible and big plants in the US are built to meet consumer demand. If wind is the answer, if ethanol, if electric cars, if biodiesel, if hydroelectric, if natural gas…the time is ripe. We need to tap a new source that we can count on to renew itself and when things go wrong lives are not lost and ecosystems destroyed. Is too much to ask? And if this is a pipedream… someone smarter than me needs to step up and say so. But for goodness sakes let’s put some thought and money into a new way of looking at who we are and where we want to in the next 50 years. This is the time for the best minds and the best money to get together and plug the leaks in our lives.

In Good Health,             J.B. Lester; Publisher