Reviewed by Steve Canipe
Director, Science, Mathematics & Instructional Design Technology
How many times has the statement "free us from the influence of foreign oil" been made over the past 30 years? So far, there is precious little that has occurred once those touting energy independence have been elected. This book is a bit different from just making the statements about stopping oil imports or even doing more offshore drilling in the United States looking for more oil supply.
The authors, a Congressman and a reporter specializing in high tech issues, combine their talents to examine this perplexing problem from many aspects. From looking at different energy supplies to being aware of the impact of using fossil fuels has on our environment, these two authors examine in a clear and fairly unbiased way what should be done, tempering that with what can actually be done.
If the book has a bias, it is toward preserving the environment for those yet unborn. There is an acknowledgment that fossil fuels are a finite resource and that there will be a definite time in the future when production costs will exceed the value. Some of this economic reality is already being translated into higher prices, most obviously for gasoline and heating fuel. Less obvious are the secondary effects of increased food prices due both to the increased cost of transportation and to the cost of fertilizer, pesticides, and cultivation.
Americans have always prided themselves as problem–solvers and having the ability to succeed against all odds. It appears, according to these authors, that we may once again need to call on that self–reliance to find solutions to complex and knotty problems concerning energy. Moving to a sustainable energy future will mean some life–style changes but will the rewards be worth the cost? These ideas are explored.
This book will be a great discussion starter for those high school and college classes looking at environment, ecology, climate change, and other thorny scientific/social issues. There are lots of endnotes and a comprehensive index to help in teaching and learning more about the topics presented. There are some proposed solutions and an ending which says “For the sake of preserving America’s values. Let us begin traveling toward a better world. … Let us journey together.”
Review posted on 4/16/2012