Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vermont's Energy Future

Positive energy is spread throughout Vermont and from my Vermont Vibing experiences (which have been going on much longer than I have been blogging about them), I have learned that energy vibrations certainly vary from place to place and from one group of people to the next. This really isn't about - like hippie vibes man - it's about science. When people are in an environment where they can be themselves and naturally soak up the sunshine, gentle breeze, smell of grass/leaves/snow/flowers, or whatever bit of nature that causes them to relax and think larger picture and for once put out-of-mind the daunting tasks of the everyday grind, then they are experiencing positive energy (what I often refer to as Vermont Vibes). And when one person is feeling this connection to nature and the natural force of things (energy), there are usually other people feeling the same thing. It's like when I'm vibing at a Vermont watering hole, I usually have more energy, better connections and conversations with other people, and a more genuine smile than if I'm (Gawd forbid, this is extreme) shopping at Walmart which I am anti, but wanted to give an extreme example.

Unfortunately, this same energy cannot fuel the massive amounts of it we need to supply the high quantities of energy we humans currently use (and no, I am not here to bash the human race, just deal with facts and science). Last night I Vibed over to Tuttle Middle School in South Burlington for the combined state agency, non-profit, and Vermont utility company public forums that are going on throughout the state to get feedback on Vermont's Energy Future and how to move forward. This indeed was the name of the event and also of the website which I am urging people to go to once finished with my blog - (gotta be amused by the dot info folks).

In short, for those who have not been paying attention, besides the fact that everyone has decided the world is ending, the two major contracts which supply 80% of Vermont's energy (do the names Hydro Quebec and Vermont Yankee ring a bell?), are ending, expiring, stopping in 2015. So, um, yeah, decisions need to be made and the State of Vermont was smart enough to start public discussions now (wise PR move guys and gals).

The evening was comprised of almost 200 Chittenden County area residents and all sorts of official folks. It started with a rather healthy light dinner (kudos off the bat which were then overshadowed by the fact that there was no recycling in place for the plastic bottles) and moved into dozens of well-organized, group moderated discussions. My group had four women, five men, and a male group moderator with the group ranging in ages from about 21 to about 60. Three of us even happened to be in our 20s and 30s which was not the norm and always ticks me off at events of such direct impact and importance. Where are all the Gen Xers? Let me guess, sitting on their butts, bitching about the world and not doing a damn thing about it. (yes, I am a Gen Xer and YES, this is a HUGE pet peeve of mine on my generation!)

Ok, back on track here...after some insightful, well facilitated, and heated at times discussions, groups voted on one question per group to ask a panel of experts - another gripe - no women on the panel. But, the panel still did a good job offering pretty honest answers considering that most people in attendance were aware of the underlying political push for extending the Vermont Yankee contract which polls and reactions throughout the evening showed gigantic objections to. Once again for those who do not know, Vermont Yankee is nuclear energy - yes it is clean and the cheapest, but it is what makes bombs, and one mistake wipes out a lot more than AquaNet does to the ozone - hey, isn't that crap banned from hair nowadays anyway? And to clarify, the reason for such public forums as this is for the state to hopefully incorporate public feedback into the decisions the politicians make, no decisions have been made yet.

There were some overall brief presentations and public comments at the end, but one of the neatest things about the evening was the real time polling provided by hand held wireless devices every attendee got to use to vote on a wide variety of issues and opinions, giving some of the best focus group feedback I've ever been involved in as part of public opinion measurement. Ad execs should use these instead of spending hours of valuable time squabbling over logo colors. And the devices were from a Vermont company - KUDOS - especially considering the amount of pro-Vermont employment people and groups use outside-the-state agencies and resources. But that is a post from my PR blog for another time. The wireless device keypads are made by or from The Orton Family Foundation in Manchester Village and are on the web at - check it out!!!

This post has gotten quite long and while it strays from my usual quirky treks around the Green Mountain State, energy is energy and I've got stake in this here state and urge you to pay attention - because whether the world is ending or not, the next few years are going to bring about unprecedented changes - may they cause younger generations to step it up and may they lead us to not fail Mother Earth.

1 comment:

Monica said...

Thanks for this great post.
keep it up