Dreams of Progressive Sustainability

Last night, while driving to the Tampa Ruby Brigade meetup, I saw something that triggered thoughts about our social and cultural dependence on electricity. We Americans live in a world of constant access to clean water, sewage, food, and to some extent transportation. We rarely take time to appreciate all the hard work that has gone into building the infrastructure to supply every citizen with these amenities. In fact, we seem to need miniature disasters to remember how vitally dependent we are on electricity to survive.

As I was driving westbound on I-275 last night around 7pm, the electrical service providing power to the area around Westshore Dr failed. I know this only because I saw a consequence of the power failure – all the lights in the buildings went dark, along with all the street lamps. It only happened for a fraction of a second, but it was a profound experience. It helped me remember that all people of this world will be vulnerable to violent acts as long as we depend on any one commodity for our survival.

We fear terrorist acts of wanton destruction because we understand how our lives would likely be affected as a result. Without electricity, we lose light, refrigeration, and in some cases heat and fresh water. Whenever the power fails, we find ourselves immediately in a sense of uncertain panic and fear of life without power. We will not be free of this fear until we decouple ourselves from the provider of the electricity. If we are each able to contribute at least what we consume, we empower ourselves to overcome this dependency and feel unburdened by the fears and anxieties associated with our dependency. I strive each day to progress toward acquiring the moral, technological, and spiritual strength to use resources more wisely, find ways to reverse pollution, and be an advocate for progressive change.