Friday, August 28, 2015

A Toast to Fossil Fuel Companies


Text of Speech by Governor Xplank Flzit, Mat. 32, 21309

First I would like to thank the Board of Controllers and their President, Zpluuu Brgrt, for inviting me to this excellent dinner. The President and I go back a long way, three or four hundred years, and I have always appreciated his advice and wisdom, as well as his excellent choices for menus. (Pause for applause)

Zpluuu asked me to comment on a subject of current interest to the Board and their guests today, but I decided to go in another direction. Instead, I am going to recall ancient history and see if we can learn from our ancestors. You all know that we are living in a time of plenty, that our needs are more than satisfied and our wants are more than cared for. (Pause and gesture toward President Brgrt)

It was not always that way. Many millennia ago, we lived in a time where there was scarcity and hunger and citizens lived on the edge of survival. Food was not plentiful, the non-urban areas on our planet were not all natural parks, individuals struggled with the allocation of what goods there were, with many running short of such basics as clean water and clear atmosphere. We emerged from that deplorable situation because of some actions taken by a few individuals that are almost forgotten now. Yet those actions can serve as inspiration for us nowadays. We do not face the tremendous threats that the early citizens did, but each of us has decisions to make in our lives, and remembering how these individuals showed tremendous insight to find the right decisions and courage to make them can give us the pluck to take the right actions.

You may be asking, how can making the right decision take courage at all. Just do it. Well, back then it was not clear to the masses of citizens that these decisions were the right ones, and these exemplary individuals had to forego popular acclaim and acceptance and plunge ahead with what they saw as the right course. As we all know, the decisions made in the past led to our current joyful world, but the point I am making is that it was very far from clear that these decisions were the right one. Yet they were made – this is the courage that I referred to.

I can just walk over to the energy tap on the wall there (point at tap) and withdraw as much energy as I want. No one has to think about energy except for a few of us. Deuterium is extracted from the sea, sent to the power stations, where it is converted to almost unlimited energy. That energy makes our life of plentitude possible. But in the era I am referring to, there was no fusion. Someone had to provide the energy for life then and for the long period of research and development needed to establish fusion. The individuals I am commemorating are the ones who provided the energy bridge that solved this problem. They did not make one decision to provide it, but instead made daily decisions on how to extract combustibles from the crust and transform them into usable energy sources. They would spend their entire lives doing this. Can you imagine a life where citizens actually had to work every day? This was their life and they did it with flair, solving problem after problem in the early energy areas. We live in the world they made possible, and I want everyone in the room to toast them. (Wave hand downward) But not yet. There is something else they did that is equally worthy.

When you go outside now, you expect to have a beautiful day, and precipitation in the night. Gentle breezes are usually blowing, adding to our enjoyment. But in the era I was talking about, this was not the case. Instead, the atmosphere was totally uncontrolled, and it not only ruined excursions, it did damage to things and even occasionally killed citizens. Hard to imagine? Yes, but I am telling you what really existed. Not only was the atmosphere uncontrolled, it was unpredictable. Citizens did not know what was going to happen, and even did not know when dangers would arise. It sounds like the government was a total failure in this regard, doesn’t it. (Look around room)

But the government couldn’t do anything about it. Citizens at that time did not even dream that things could be any different. They were born in these conditions, and lived their short lives with them. But the same people who built the energy bridge did the first experiment that changed our perspective on the atmosphere. They changed the temperature of the planet by adding gases to the atmosphere. It took a little while for this to be appreciated, but gradually the citizens understood that the atmosphere was theirs to adjust and to modify. That was the beginning of the end to scarcity. It took bold actions, even unpopular actions, but these individuals summoned up their courage, and did them.

You may not have ever heard of the words, “Ice Age”, unless you have studied paleontology. Any paleontologists here? (Look for hands raised) That was a time when there were glaciers, huge mountains of ice, on our planet. The same people who solved the energy bridge problem managed to eliminate them, which was the next step in bringing the atmosphere under control. I see some faces here indicating disbelief. If you want something to disbelieve, think about this. At one time, the entire planet was covered with ice. There is no chance of that ever happening again, and for this benefit and all the others, unlimited power, beautiful days always, calm breezes and so on, let’s now raise our glasses and toast the ancestors who made this all possible. Cheers! (Move raised glass from one side to other, then sip during applause)

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