Forum, June 19: The Decline of Oil

Sunday, June 18, 2017
The Decline of Oil

Recent Valley News coverage of positive policy movement in Hanover, Dartmouth and Lebanon — toward a renewable energy future — is very good news. With Exxon shareholders recently voting to require their corporation to consider climate change in its future plans and balance sheet, and with the recent announcement that Tucson Electric signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for 100 megawatts of solar electricity and 30 megawatts of storage for 4 cents per kilowatt, petroleum and all carbon-based fuels have lost any economic appeal.

It is clear that renewable energy is winning today and is the only smart economic choice. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund has divested from all of its petroleum investments. Aside from being the right thing for our children’s future, it no longer makes any economic sense to invest resources in carbon-based fuel exploration, development, refineries or distribution infrastructure. Time to stop rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Oil is over.

Thankfully, the sun, wind and water are with us, as always.

John Fago


Say Yes to Greatness

Are we there yet? Is America finally great again?

Wall Street emphatically says “Yes!” Deregulation has begun, Dodd-Frank is being rolled back and tax breaks for the rich are coming. Banks are still too big and interconnected to fail, so Cowboy Capitalism is back, baby!

American children say “Yes!” They now know that anyone can grow up to be president — even if you’re a narcissist, a sociopath, mean-spirited, uninformed, undisciplined, a misogynist, a racist, a xenophobe, a bully, a serial liar, many times bankrupt or several times divorced. Is this a great country or what?

Our country’s good friends, Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan, Abdel el-Sisi and Rodrigo Duterte, say “Yes!” Moving from democracy to autocracy is the new fad, and the U.S. Constitution is so 18th century.

Straight white men, long accustomed to calling the shots in this country, say “Yes!” African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Muslim-Americans, LGBTs, immigrants of color and women are on notice. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will oversee the reconfirmation of your second-class citizenship.

Unicorns say “Yes!” Let’s live in a fantasy world where tax cuts pay for themselves, climate change is not to be taken seriously, a free press is our enemy and accelerating income inequality is good for Americans.

OK, we are a deeply divided nation with a matching factious government. Yes, our leadership views the world — even allies — with suspicion, abandoning a century of global leadership and cooperation. So some cosmetic changes are in order: Change our name to “States of America” and our slogan to “America Alone.” Great.

Allan MacDonald

New London

Violence Isn’t Funny

In the June 2 Forum, Peggy Richardson of Hartford wrote about Dennis the Menace and bullying.

What about the slamming, kicking and swearing in picture form in Beetle Bailey, and quite often in other comics.

What is this teaching the people, that it’s “OK” today? But is it?

We don’t have to look at the comics. Let’s stop lowering our standards in tolerating behaviors. Please.

Barbara Nielsen

White River Junction

Good Samaritans on I-89

I would like to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the two men and a lady who came to my aid instantly following a car accident on I-89 on Wednesday afternoon.

They provided excellent support, compassion and empathy throughout the ordeal. It was a case of Good Samaritans in action, and very much appreciated.

Barbara Kenny


Be Wary Online

It’s been said that getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant, Countless formats of information deluge us: text messages and Twitter feeds on our cell phones, Facebook connections, instant messages, direct-marketing sales pitches on our desktop computers, email. An estimated 46 percent of the global population was online in 2016.

In addition, information comes at us rapidly. I’m amazed at how quickly responses to a public comment or event surface on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The pro-Trump pushback on James Comey’s testimony is an example. Donald Trump’s son live-tweeted attacks while Comey was still testifying! Such rapid responses seem more impulsive and are often misleading if not outright lies. Reflection is not the order of the day.

Trump’s tweets and false statements from Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer reinforce this pattern. During the presidential campaign, Trump’s digital team embraced the use of Twitter, Wikileaks and Breitbart and Trump continues to manipulate social media.

Is it possible that, in our culture, “we are swimming in an ocean of information and drowning in ignorance?” The problem seems to be both the quantity of information and the lack of conceptual tools with which to analyze it.

How do we cope? As a society, we must teach students on all educational levels to develop critical thinking and computer literacy skills. We need to provide opportunities for students to engage with people who are different and to learn to be open to diverse ideas.

For ourselves, four steps will help:

Define your focus and use it as a basis for searching the internet. What do you really want to know?

Have a plan. How do you plan to use the information you discover?

Use several sources. How will you discriminate among the sources?

Validate the information. How will you ensure the truth of the information?

Bob Scobie