In 2002, after contracting Dengue Fever in Grenada, West Indies, and becoming educated on the exponential extinction rate of insects and ecosystems, I realized that the problem was not anything I could push way any longer. Understanding that the fate of the planet rested in the actions of all of us in a small window of possible bio-remediation and behavior change, I accepted the truth that if I did nothing to help, I was just being part of the problem. I did not want to die with this on my head. I wanted to serve the planet and be strategic about it. Life was too short to waste on anything that wasn’t immediately addressing the environmental challenges on Earth to find solutions.
Considering the greatest threat was coming from an antiquated system of extracting Earth’s rock and liquid to provide energy and that the business of extraction, production and use was now driving our own disease and destruction, common sense pointed to an obvious solution of clean energy. With so many energy technology choices involving partnership with nature, rather than its rape, the potential of driving new economic markets appeared as a tremendous opportunity. I had a vision of replacing the words in the American political discourse, of “diversity” and “choice”, to be about “energy” instead of divisiveness; the same distraction of social issues already granted through law.
Americans were mostly blind to the reality of their power. The key lay in using our free will and the choices lying in plain sight. Here we had so many diverse technologies, developed by American tax money at Laboratories all over the country, and they were being suppressed by the monolithic business interests of dirty energy, now destroying our water, soil and air, our health, and leading us into endless war.
The film I had just co-written, BUFFALO SOLDIERS, had been banned in the US, and was being used as an anti-war poster in the London marches, where the film would win the Evening Standard Award for best screenplay 2003, and gain other nominations.
In the summer of 2004, after going to both conventions and seeing the theatrics of both parties, I realized I had to approach the project like performance art. The creativity and artistry lay in the ability to work across lines and build bridges wherever there was the light of the intelligence.
And so we began to find each other – people from all sides of the equation began to listen to each other, learn, connect, share, and collaborate – to make change. They were tree huggers, soldiers, Native Americans, veterans, teachers, ministers, mayors, Generals and Admirals, scientists, technologists, and more., A true force against wars for oil, it was largely moved by soldiers themselves – who didn’t want to kill humans, destroy lands, and watch their sisters and brothers broken into pieces. They also knew the truth – that national security meant clean air, water and soil. Poisoning your citizens and sacrificing America’s blood and treasure so a few could make money off our own destruction, was no longer appealing. A dirty business of war and rape culture would ultimately be our own demise. We could work from all sides and make the change from the inside out as well as the outside in. We could educate ourselves and make better choices.
From 2005 – 2009, The Energy Conversation united 28 government agencies and departments through the Department of Defense, to Listen, Learn, Connect, and Collaborate toward transitioning to a clean energy reality.
We, as a movement, were and continue to be nonpartisan. And we are still here, working across medium, party, businesses and boundaries, toward the goal of a nation and a world that understands energy is the foundation, it lies at the very core of our modern world. We recognize that all people have a stake in the outcome, but also a responsibility to enter into the conversation.