Price: Going Green
By Kevin Price, Guest Columnist
Published on Friday, July 27, 2012
Would increased oil drilling save our environment? Not according to J. Henry Fair, a photographer and political activist, who recently preached the importance of going green to my photography class. This artist linked our supposed disregard for the environment to such diverse and unrelated topics as baby gorillas being killed to women being raped. He also spoke about the need to change to more environmentally friendly energy sources and to stop killing innocent women and children in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not sure how the latter relates to the environment, but as a veteran who served on eight deployments — five to Afghanistan and three to Iraq — I found his underhanded crack about the wars insulting. Consequently, his completely unrelated comment made his words a little harder to digest. All of my emotions aside, this type of activist is what is destroying our country, our future leaders and our economic system. This type of closed-mindedness has crushed our economy and our ability to think as aspiring leaders of the world. Without being allowed to form our own opinions while keeping an open mind, we will never have the ability to answer the initial question — how can drilling for oil save our environment?
In his presentation, Fair did not once discuss the economics behind converting to more environmentally friendly energy sources. He instead preached the importance of stopping oil drilling around the world and ending cattle farming in South America. In addition to his suggestion that we switch to alternative energy sources, he also advised that we stop using cars and limit ourselves to one burger a week as solutions to the world’s problems. Unless you live on Mars, you would realize his suggestions are completely unrealistic and serve only to advance his personal agenda. Everyone wants to have a cleaner environment, myself included, but I have yet to hear of any plausible ways to achieve this goal economically. Can we truly invest in this expensive endeavor without forcing our country into another depression? Fair, when probed on the high cost of clean energy, countered that the government subsidizes shale oil and that these subsidies should be spent on green energy instead. Yet subsidizing shale garners much greater investment returns than subsidizing green energy because more energy is gained per dollar spent toward shale oil.
Increasing oil drilling would provide an incredible source of revenue that could solve many of our green problems. Therefore, in response to my initial question, the answer is yes, it could save our environment. For an example of the vast wealth oil generates, take a look at Dubai. Dubai, a city that derives most of its economic livelihood from oil profits, has invested these profits into transforming the desert into a beautiful oasis. America could use increased oil revenue to finance a different pursuit — investing in renewable energy sources.
Dropping restrictions on drilling would boost our economy by providing increased tax revenues. This would create more jobs and enable the federal government to lessen hurtful taxes on small business. Fewer regulations on drilling would also provide the government with extra revenue that could be used to heavily subsidize green energy, allowing us to make greater progress toward a permanent shift away from drilling.
The problem with working toward a more sustainable future is that Republicans and Democrats cannot come together on anything. The strong environmentalists — mostly Democrats — shun anything that sounds like more oil, while Republicans tend to shun anything that is “green.” If both parties could come together and draft a simple plan that incorporates opinions from both sides of the aisle, green energy wars would be a thing of the past and cleaning my solar panel would be a normal routine.