Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quote of the Day: Steven Chu on energy and the American public

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The energy secretary said this the other day:

The American public... just like your teenage kids, aren't acting in a way that they should act. The American public has to really understand in their core how important this issue is.

The media and the political class deserve much of the blame, of course, but Chu is quite right that Americans generally act like self-absorbed adolescents when it comes to energy consumption.

They've been taught to behave that way -- consume, consume, consume is the dominant American mantra, cultivated over decades, if not from the very beginning. You know the story, I'm sure.

I have little confidence that the people will change their ways quickly enough, or that the media will address responsible energy consumption in a serious way -- some in the media do, but the media amount to so much noise, with conservative spin often drowning out rational discourse.

It is refreshing, then, that Chu -- and the Obama Administration generally -- is working to address this gaping hole in public awareness of what the issues really are and of how urgent the need is for change with respect to both energy consumption and energy policy more broadly.

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