Don’t Just Talk. Act!

As a young engineer, one of the engineers I worked under occasionally was Allen, a senior engineer in the Chicago area. Allen was from Alabama. He said what he thought. We hadn’t seen each other for months. As soon as Allen saw me he said, “I declare. Greg, I believe you’re getting fat like a hog!” The truth hurt. I had gained weight from eating deserts and 2-3 donuts midmorning when I was in the office. My exercise was playing with the kids and our dog. I traveled a lot and ate mostly fast food on the road.

Our office was three blocks from the post office. One afternoon I had important paperwork needing to be mailed that day. I ran the three blocks to the post office and got there before it closed. I was totally out of breath. I thought, I’m only 25 years old. Am I really this out of shape? The hard reality was “YES”. Change was necessary. The donut eating stopped. Deserts were cut way back. I started running. After a quarter-mile I was tired. Morning after morning the runs got longer. The weight didn’t fall off overnight but weight loss started. Eventually I could run five miles and started playing adult soccer. Years later I ran my first of now 40+ half-marathons. Talking about losing weight doesn’t change anything. It took a goal, action on my part and encouragement of others to make change happen.

Weight loss today is more challenging. My metabolism is lower. Eating less and running a little more isn’t good enough. Lynnda and I are working to eat healthier. We are a work in progress. Sometimes Lynnda gets upset when the weight doesn’t come off or suddenly shoots up. In frustration she says, “That’s it. I’m not eating anything.” Of course, not eating anything doesn’t work. Eating right does.

With the Canadian wild fires and hot temperatures, a lot is in the media about climate change. There are people on both sides of the climate issue who have their experts and claim to be right. Based on polls, a lot of people are in the middle who don’t know what to believe or don’t care. There is common ground. People want clean air and clean water. With another billion people expected to be on planet earth by 2050 we will need energy, food, products and to protect the environment. I heard two climate experts on CBS his week. They both claimed it’s not too late. They said we can avoid the effects of climate change by not using fossil fuels??? They make it sound so easy. It’s like Lynnda saying she is going to stop eating until she reaches her target weight.

The two experts were okay wearing clothing, using products like computers and cell phones made from fossil fuels. They never explained how we will have 24/7/365 electricity without fossil fuels or where we will get the thousands of products made with fossil fuels, including electric vehicles, windmills and solar panels. The wind wasn’t blowing today and the sun isn’t shining tonight. The heat this week would be brutal without electricity. People die without electricity especially the very young and the elderly.

If we expect a cleaner planet we can’t just talk. Like losing weight if we expect success we have to DO something. It will take time but we must start. Climate Envoy, John Kerry’s, recent trip to China yielded no climate break through. Kerry said, “There is no way for the world to solve the climate crisis without China’s full engagement and commitment.” China is the world’s largest carbon emitter, producing an estimated 27% of global greenhouse gases. U.S. CO2 emissions from energy consumption are down almost 20% since 2005. China’s emissions from fuel continue to increase and have yet to peak. China’s emissions are almost 150% more than U.S. emissions.

The USA’s emission reduction numbers don’t include global transportation emission reductions from moving manufacturing from China to the USA. Using U.S. energy (fossil fuels) to manufacture and selling those products in the USA eliminates over 20,000 miles of dirty transportation. (Middle East oil to China then China shipping products to USA) Chinese electricity for manufacturing comes primarily from coal without the scrubbers U.S. coal plants have. Methane emissions from mining coal are captured by many U.S. mines. U.S. coal contains much less methane per ton than Chinese coal. China is building more coal power plants requiring more coal and more methane emissions from their mines. Using U.S. fossil fuels to manufacture economically reduces global emissions.

A company from India is now under construction in the Ohio Valley. The product they will make is currently being shipped to the USA from India. When they are operational they will manufacture the same product under U.S. environmental law with less than 1,000 miles of total transportation rather than 20,000. This is a significant global emission decrease while providing high wage U.S. jobs. Real environmental leaders should focus on global emission decreases. Dependable, economical energy from fossil fuels can bring Chinese manufacturing to the USA reducing global emissions. The CBS climate experts never saw that opportunity.

A small weight loss like 2 pounds a month is 24 pounds in a year. As people feel better and get more active greater weight loss is possible. We need to celebrate the wins instead of beating ourselves up because we fell short. Encouragement from others helps motivate people to stay the course.

We have a unique opportunity to bring industry back to the USA from places like Europe and Asia using our economical abundant natural gas and create a cleaner world. A wise friend said, “If in doubt, fix the cheapest thing first.” There is low hanging fruit if we look for it. We can have 24/7/365 electricity and reduce global emissions. We can buy American. Time to stop empty academic talk and do things that work.

Greg Kozera, [email protected] is Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. (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.

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