“Today we played our energy game. Everyone became a country and labored to gain the energy each would consume in a year. Various forms of energy were sequestered all about the room. Forest fuel low to the ground, hydroelectric required a bit more of a reach. Wind and solar were born on high beams just a jump away and nuclear was settled high above our somewhat demonized sanitizer machine. ( If you get near on a day bad, you can get contaminated…) We built a shrine to fossil fuels, set an altar, lit candles to NOW and paid our penance: one jumping jack per unit required. We did lots of jumping jacks in our “the air ain’t running ’cause man can heat up but not cool off the earth” room. It was hot. Our 25 bodies quickly made it hotter. Add a few thousand jumping jacks, 25 lit candles and an Alabama afternoon and you have quite an object lesson.
As the parade to the cleaner resources and fossil altar continued, the more and more hungry mouths sought satisfaction…I saved the US and China for last. China jumped and jacked forever and then cleared the decks of available fossils fuels, save just a few still on the open market. China jumped high to get all the nuclear possibilities…they will be constructing a great many more plants soon. China garnered all the open market oil…and much which the black market in Congo, Columbia and Equatorial Guinea give up. Finally, China sat down to grow more populous and hungry.
The US was last…she quickly scooped up our home production wind, water, sun…and stared at the wall of oil, gas, and coal before her…”How many units do I need?”
“498,” I answered.
“Mrs. Sullivan, that’s a ton of jumping jacks. I don’t want to do all those. And even if I pay for them, those sources left are too high on the wall for me to reach. What else can I do?”
I looked down the exterior wall, then high to the rafters…solar and biofuels were draped elegantly along them. It was a tough leap, but she was a gifted and skilled jumper. She glanced at them and then ran her eyes around the room…they opened wide. Slack, sweltering students sat caressing their candles, their energy receipts on the floor before them.
“I can get them, they won’t see me coming,” she whispered.
I shrugged my shoulders. She took off and snagged most of their energy before they could even sit up straight.
The game was over.
I asked the students to tell me about the energy I had metaphorically placed about us. “Why had I put forest low to the ground? Why was hydroelectric just slightly higher? What was the danger of pursuing the even loftier goal of nuclear energy? Why was wind energy above the door? Why was biofuel just above hydroelectric? Why were only rich nations allowed to worship before the fossil fuel altar? Why the jumping jacks? Why did we light the candles at the altar of Now? And finally, what were those sheets of red – biofuel, and yellow – solar, material all on the outside of our windows?
They looked at me shocked. In sight and just outside was enough energy for everyone, more than enough. One girl offered that she had noticed it.
“Why didn’t you go get it?” I asked her.
She said, “I knew that I would have to get up and walk outside to get it. Too much trouble, you know. ”
“It would have stopped the game, all of you would have been winners,” I replied. The jumping jacks would have been over, forever… the air restored to normal temperature… It was right there.
“Why didn’t you all see it, get it?” I continued. You can get that. You can get it.
For those of you who ask, “Can we?” Take a look. Here. Here. and Here. Then I suggest you go to TED and find another 100 or so equally interesting energy ideas that work now or very soon will.
Let’s lift our eyes from our worshipful stare and look up and out.