The popular Beatles song may have said it best. “You say you want a revolution. Well, you know — we all want to change the world.” Our want for a revolution has now become a need, and our history of revolutions proves we can change the world.
The United States has been defined by revolutions since its inception. Constantly making improvements to benefit generations to follow, we’ve shifted values from agriculture to manufacturing to information — all the while having one ultimate goal: to improve the quality of life for our children and grandchildren. So far, we’ve been successful.
This fall, as we watch our children play in piles of freshly raked leaves, we should be proud to know that what we’ve accomplished through past revolutions has put the world at their fingertips. However, while we were focused on making life easier for them, we bypassed the fact that we are exhausting our main source of energy. This grim reality leaves us asking, “What can we do?”
As a country that has seen much change, we must take this opportunity to start a new revolution, a renewable one. A revolution where we transition from a fossilbased world to a renewable world, and where our value is based on sustainability. It is vital that we do so. And as the word “revolution” implies, it’s vital we do so now.
Some believe this transition will require much sacrifice. No doubt it will demand a great deal of commitment and work. The good news is, in a renewable economy, we will continue to improve the quality of life for our children and grandchildren, but now with a cleaner, longer-lasting approach.
You may already notice a change. For the first time in decades, we are taking strides to reduce our addiction to fossil fuels. Our ethanol use has displaced millions of barrels of oil, and we will only continue to improve on that. In fact, if we remain truly committed, we could displace nearly all of our nation’s gasoline usage with ethanol.
By doing so, we are reducing our carbon footprint by taking part in the natural carbon cycle. Ethanol comes from a living carbon source. Today it is the corn crop. When emissions are released, the carbon is absorbed back into the Earth, maintaining a balance of CO2 in the atmosphere.
And in this way, our value is shifting back to agriculture. The American farmer, in addition to harvesting crops for food, will harvest biomass not just for energy, but also for biochemicals, biopolymers and many other things.
Revolutions are about change — change for the better. And just as the Beatles said, “We all want to change the world;” by embracing this new revolution, we will do just that. We can be assured that we will leave our children with a protected planet and a source of energy for generations to come.