99% Spring Trainings and the Insanity of America’s Reliance on Fossil Fuels


    Commander James Goudreau, the director of the U.S. Navy’s energy coordination office, offered a stark depiction at Old Dominion University (ODU) on Tuesday of the vulnerabilities the Navy, and presumably the rest of the armed services, face due to its heavy dependence on oil to meet its energy needs.  Cmdr. Gondreau told his audience at ODU that refueling a ship at sea constitutes one of the most vulnerable periods and discussed the bombing of the USS Cole to illustrate this gaping defensive hole.

    Cmdr. Gondreau spoke about another reason, in a long list of reasons, why it is “insane” (literally) to continue our country’s reliance (including Virginia’s) on fossil fuels. If one major condition of sanity is behaving in a manner that promotes and/or sustains life, then relying on oil and natural gas to power our way of living is indeed insane. That is, we are slowly (though sometimes quickly) killing ourselves and our environment through these sources of energy.

    However, Republican politicians and the companies that stand to lose from progressive energy policy think all is hunky-dory with America’s energy usage, even in the face of pleas from credible sources like the U.S. military, just to name one! Not to be deterred by facts, these pontiffs of the free market and cost effectiveness usually complain that alternative sources of energy “cost too much.” When asked how much a human life costs, they are baffled (The EPA says $9.1 million) or fall back upon tried and true Republican Party mantras that have withstood the test of time and reason.  

    If you believe, as I do, that alternative energy policy falls along the spectrum of the 99% movement and you want to actively participate in making a difference, then this weekend you’ll have a chance.

    This weekend, there will be trainings throughout the commonwealth supporting the people power as witnessed in demonstrations such as the Keystone XL Pipeline protest and the civil rights era movement. These trainings are part of the 99% Spring , a series of trainings starting April 9-15 throughout the country that will train Americans in non-violent direct action to place the power of our democracy back into the hands of the 99%.  

    According to the 99% Spring’s official website, these trainings will:

    1.Tell the story of our economy: how we got here, who’s responsible, what a different future could look like, and what we can do about it.

    2.Learn the history of non-violent direction action.

    3.Get into action on our own campaigns to win change.

    Here in Virginia, there will be a number of venues where the 99% Spring trainings will be taking place. Here’s a short list of venues that may be near you:

    1.University of Richmond, 626 E. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219, Saturday April 14, 12:30-3:30PM

    2.Westover Branch of Arlington Public Library, 1644 North McKinley Road, Arlington, VA 22205, Saturday April 14, 11AM-2PM  

    3.IW Local 79 Union Hall , Virginia Beach Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23502 Saturday April 14, 1-5PM

    Whether or not you’re a seasoned activist or just beginning, there will be something for everyone to take away from these trainings. First and foremost, you’ll get to meet with likeminded individuals in Virginia who also want to take government power away from the 1%. These are the kind of mutual, long-term, bonds that need to be forged in order to take government power back from the 1%. Second, but no less important, you’ll also be getting a closer look at non-violent action in the U.S. and how it can be applied to what you’re fighting for in your community. Through discussion, a better understanding of how the people power can be used to regain political power will be reached.  

    Oh yea, and we can shift energy policy back in a “sane” direction again. Hooray!  


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