Our family is back at the Outer Banks for Thanksgiving week. We rent a large house and everyone comes who is available. We had two of our three children, some of the grandchildren and a number of other relatives and friends. The house is three story with 7 bedrooms. The kitchen is on the top floor as is our bedroom. There are lots of stairs to climb. I’m grateful for the ability to haul suitcases, food and bottled water up three floors. I am blessed to be able to help my oldest son (who has knee issues) and his family bring in their suitcases.
Little things are easily taken for granted. Just three years ago here at the Outer Banks, I was in a wheelchair after my soccer injury and needed help getting upstairs. It was necessary to slide on a board from my car to the stairs of the house. Then bump up three flights of stairs on my butt. It meant using my arms to raise my butt up one stair at a time and pulling myself along with my arms. By the time I got to the top floor I was exhausted. My kids carried Lynnda’s and my suit cases and wheelchair upstairs. I could get around in the wheelchair on the top floor. The simple task of going to the bathroom involved navigating the wheelchair in a tight space and sliding from the wheelchair to the toilet.
Once a day I would bump down the stairs (it was easier than going up) and slide into the car. Lynnda or Dannielle would take me on a trip to the boardwalk, the beach or dinner with all the family. Dannielle was great about pushing me on the boardwalk or to the beach. It felt good to be outside in the sun. I never realized how many places are inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. I couldn’t even get coffee for myself since everything was out of reach. I’ve become an advocate for people with mobility issues since I now better understand their challenges.
I am grateful to be able to drive a car, walk up and down stairs, carry suitcases and use the bathroom without help. I am blessed to be able to walk on the beach, play golf and swim. Dannielle and I ran 12 miles together talking the entire time. I’m grateful for the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends.
It is easy to take our many blessings for granted. We are one of the few countries in the world with personal liberty and economic opportunity. We have the right to own property and the minerals beneath it. In many countries all property and minerals are owned by the government. We have a strong military to protect us.
We had an awesome Thanksgiving dinner because of the work of farmers and truck drivers that got the food to our local grocery store. We had abundant energy to cook it and skilled family and friends to prepare it. All are blessings easily taken for granted.
It is easy to take for granted when we turn up the thermostat we get heat. When we flip a switch the lights and TV come on. It is easy to take for granted until we look at Europeans who aren’t so lucky. They don’t know if they will have lights or heat this winter. Most of their natural gas came from Russia and is shut off. They are using weather dependent renewables, wood, coal, oil and nuclear power. (Except Germany who shut their nuclear power down.) The most Googled term in Germany is “firewood”. They can’t guarantee their renewables (weather dependent energy) will be available when needed. The USA is helping as much as it can but is limited by lack of infrastructure.
The USA is the leading natural gas and oil producer in the world. Two of the three largest natural gas fields in the world are under our feet. We have the technical and resource ability to increase our use of nuclear power. We can increase our use of renewable energy manufactured in the USA (avoiding ocean shipping) using U.S. energy and raw materials. People in the USA have worked hard and reduced U.S. emissions even as energy demand increased. The USA has the cleanest air and water I have seen in my life.
Recently the world surpassed 8 billion people. People deserve to have food, energy and the opportunity for a good standard of living. The USA provides food and energy to the world. I am blessed to have recovered from my injury. We all have many other blessings we can use to help our families and others locally and globally to live a better life. U.S. natural gas makes the manufacture and use of renewable energy possible. The USA’s abundant energy, water and fertile soil can help feed and energize the world.
Food and energy are essential for life and should be a priority. There are people who want to restrict our ability to produce energy and food for the world. Cutting down CO2 sequestering forests for solar panels as in Virginia or putting solar panels over valuable farmland doesn’t help feed 8 billion people. We have a lot of roof tops we can use. We have the technology to reduce global emissions while increasing food and energy production. China is bleeding emissions from their coal mines and power plants to manufacture products for us. We can reduce global emissions by producing more of our goods in the USA instead of importing them.
Individually and as a country we have many blessings to be thankful for. Blessings are gifts not just for us but to also be used for others. The USA has a responsibility to help others. How are you using your many blessings? Are you sharing them to make a positive difference in the lives of others?
Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com (You can follow SCUSA on Facebook) He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering and over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, high school soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.