One-sided stories or news features serve many purposes. Unfortunately for the public, serving their interests is rarely if ever one of the objectives … or outcomes.

Who among us doesn’t want an endless parade of good news about issues great, inconsequential, and all in between? For almost all of us, we have enough issues and concerns and challenges to deal with as it is. Devoting time and effort to learn about or involve ourselves in social and political issues outside of matters directly and personally impacting us right now isn’t usually at the top of our “To-Do” lists. If we could assure ourselves that such issues wouldn’t affect us now or later, then we could indeed completely ignore them and let the chosen others deal with them.

Life tends not to work that way, however. Economic, cultural, and political issues influence and impact most aspects of our lives, even if we rarely acknowledge that fact or notice any direct bearing on our daily lives. Energy considerations—and certainly climate change—can be added to that list.

So while few of us have the opportunity, means, or capabilities to immerse ourselves in those broader public conversations and policies, we should at a minimum expect that whatever our level of understanding or awareness, it is the product of an honest and complete dissemination of facts and concerns which will affect us—if not today, then soon enough. Idealistic perhaps, but it would be nice if we didn’t have to plead for truth-telling and full disclosures.

There are few if any business, social, or political endeavors which are not designed to influence others in some way. Whether it’s to buy a product, support a cause, settle a disagreement, endorse a public policy, cast a vote, or in countless other ways, “selling” an idea is how we move from day to day. So of course we should expect that the choice to emphasize or minimize different views, perspectives, facts, and opinions will be part of that process.

But when essential information is left behind; trivialized; misrepresented; ignored; denied, or lied about, that’s different. It’s also, unfortunately, another fact of life we all unwillingly contend with. Human nature isn’t always pretty, but it’s all we’ve got. But should we just continue to shrug our shoulders and accept that that’s “how it is”?

Few if any public policy issues on any subject are immune from an over-abundance of hostility, lies, denials, dismissive treatment, misrepresentations, and all the other similar tactics. Not much is resolved, polarization deepens, and an incomprehensible amount of psychic energy and effort is wasted by choosing to fight battles rather than choosing to have adult conversations.

For those of us urging greater awareness of the challenges we face now and will continue to face with respect to the adequacy of our energy supply—the one we each and all need every moment of every day to live our lives and move us forward—the one-sided offerings from fossil fuel industry supporters is more than one of life’s great sales pitches. Too many facts are ignored, misrepresented, lied about. Garbage in; garbage out.

Yes, American industry has demonstrated an endless stream of great ingenuity and technological advances past generations could not possibly have imagined. Our present way of life is a tribute to free enterprise. The ability to tap into and then utilize immense levels of energy resources is no less remarkable.

But the primary energy supply is burdened by one limitation: it is a finite resource. Drawing it down as we have for decades and decades creates a simple math equation which ought to be readily recognized, appreciated, and shared with the public—warts and all. It’s not, however, and we are well into a process of denying, ignoring, and misleading which is not going to end well if the same tactics continue.

Now would be an excellent time to ponder for a moment or two just how many more problems we want to create, how many more options we want to take off the table, and how many burdens we want to inflict on ourselves by continuing to roll down the same highway without full discussions and disclosures about all of the energy considerations we need to focus on. That won’t always be a happy tale to tell, and it wont always flatter key players, but it will get more of us thinking and planning and preparing for a different but not necessarily “worse” future.

That’s actually not such a lousy objective.

The first installment of this series begins next Friday.


~ My Photo: Wave Patterns at Good Harbor Beach, MA – 10.07.15


We face a choice going forward. There’s a kind of false dichotomy, a false choice that we’re being presented between policies on the left or policies on the right. It’s not left or right, it’s forward or backward. It’s a choice between investing in the future, leaving a better future for the next generation just like parents and grandparents did for us, or ignoring these hard choices and sentencing the next generation to a lower standard of living, to fewer opportunities, and a future that we could do better by. Michael Brownlee

Looking Left and Right:
Inspiring Different Ideas,
Envisioning Better Tomorrows


Peak Oil Matters offers observations and insights about the realities of declining fossil fuel production, and its impact on our future well-being


I invite you to enjoy my two books [here and here], and to view my other writings at