The $700 billion per year we spend to import oil from countries, often hostile and politically unstable, puts our national security and economy at risk. This money could create renewable-energy jobs in our own country. Wind and solar energy is FREE, after the up-front cost is paid off, and will last until the sun burns out. The US, with 5 per cent of the world’s population, is guzzling 20% of its oil production.  This and a renewed appreciation of the intrinsic beauty of nature can motivate its conservation (1). We must balance economics with ecology.

 Global climate change, driven largely by the combustion of fossil fuels and by deforestation, is a growing threat to human well-being (2). Significant harm from climate change is already occurring, and further damages are a certainty. The challenge now is to keep climate change from becoming a catastrophe. We need to manage the unavoidable and avoid the unmanageable.

 The solution to climate change and national security is the same: wind, solar, biomass, and nuclear energy. Wind power is rapidly becoming cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The First Solar Inc. proprietary technique of making solar cells, by depositing CdTe/CdS films on large sheets of glass, promises to be competitive with coal within five years.


  (1) Carr, Paul H. 2006. Chapter 9 "The Beauty of Nature versus Its Utility" of "Beauty in Science and Spirit," (  Center Ossipee, NH). 

 (2)  Executive summary, Scientific Expert Group Report, "American Scientist," May-June 2007.

Presented at

6 October 2008, 7:00 – 8:30 PM, Green Mountain Center for Lifelong Learning, Manchester, VT,
30  October 2008, 4:00  PM,  IEEE  Life Members  &  Sigma  XI  Meeting,  MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington , MA

6  November 2008,  NH IEEE Awards Banquet, Manchester, NH
13  May 2009, Institute of  Lifelong Education at Darftmouth, D.O.C. House, Hanover, NH