The Native American wisdom was that any decisions made by leaders of the community must take into account the next seven generations. In other words, consider the well-being of posterity when planning your actions for today. From the sound of the Republican candidates, they might as well be saying, “Oh yeah? What has posterity ever done for us?”
This week Newt Gingrich criticized President Obama for canceling the Keystone Pipeline “that would have created countless new jobs and helped America on the way to energy independence because he wanted to appease the far left of his party.” He stated that the President’s agenda is for the left to control what kind of energy we use.
Also this week, Rick Santorum said that the fossil fuel industry holds a tremendous opportunity for jobs in this country which we should take advantage of. He criticized the President, of course, for not proceeding full speed ahead in tapping our fossil fuels. Indeed, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are strong advocates for the use of fossil fuels.
No one in the Republican political arena is facing up to the fact that fossil fuels are a limited resource. There can be no denying that our current use of fossil fuels will come to a crashing halt in the future is we do not find alternative sources of energy. With China and India ramping up fuel consumption, that day will come even sooner. Even if you think there is plenty of oil (which there is not) it is still by definition a limited resource. We cannot expect it to last indefinitely.
Not only do we seem blind to the dangers toward our grandchildren, we are even bringing harm to our present day environment. Companies are fracking to extract previously unobtainable natural gas. They claim the process is safe, but there are questions of chemicals getting into the ground water and places where tap water can literally be ignited due to gas that has leeched into the drinking water. For too many people in our society, to question the actions of corporations is almost unpatriotic. We are told, “But don’t you want jobs? We’re trying to give you jobs.”
Jobs are important and they need not come at the expense of a healthy society. As I mentioned in a previous blog, we are in danger of hitting a wall if we don’t start some thoughtful planning – planning as though people mattered; planning as though the earth were a sacred source, not just a usable resource; and planning for the next seven generations.