Sunday, January 18, 2009

THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW

THE WILDERHILL

NOT SO CLEAN ENERGY INDEX



Did you ever sit yourself down in the middle of a day and take the time to think about the day after tomorrow? I don’t mean the day after tomorrow when you have to be as busy as you were two days ago or the day after tomorrow when you plan on leaving the office for a day off, I mean just taking the time to think about the day after tomorrow.

I do this every once in awhile. I just take the time to ponder not what has to be done the day after tomorrow but the potential the day after tomorrow can actually bring. It’s not time necessarily spent envisioning the future. It’s not necessarily time plotting a strategy for that future, it’s simply time spent thinking about the day after tomorrow.

In my thoughts about the day after tomorrow, I often reflect upon the past. In this time of reflection, I find myself looking over the terrain of the world I have managed to create for myself up until today. I look at my drawing board. I look at my computer screen. I look at the portraits of my two daughters. I look at the leather boots I’ve worn on jobsites, the aged brown leather jacket I have worn countless times on my journeys to job sites, meetings and along country trails with my daughters and I just think in quiet retrospect about the day after tomorrow.

When I do, the past that I think about is usually embraced with dreams not of my future but the future of my daughters. I just wonder what the world will bring to these remarkable young ladies. If their world was devoid of the complications my world has been filled with, would their lives turn out different than my own?

The reason I’m bringing this up is that in our nation today, the day after tomorrow seems to precariously hinge upon what we did two days ago as opposed to what we and our sons and daughters have the potential for doing the day after tomorrow. The question I have about this practice is simple; why when we take the time to think about the day after tomorrow do our thoughts automatically go back to what we did or did not do two days ago or two decades ago?

The Wilderhill Clean Energy Index is a collection of 51 green energy companies. These companies supposedly make up some sort of collective essay on what we have the potential of doing or accomplishing the day after tomorrow. Comprised of technologies that would clearly reshape our entire industrial footprint, this index is of course a benchmark for such accomplishment. Unfortunately for all of us, our perspective on the growth of these benchmark industries is based upon the model of ancient industrial anchors that are as useless to our vision for the day after tomorrow as the ancient industrial ships tethered to these anchors. Destined to be controlled by ancient harbor pilots in charge of ancient principles of commerce and shipping, the potential growth of these industries rest in quite an unsettling manner inside the rusting hulls of economic vessels that are going virtually nowhere.

Having said this and today sitting at my desk thinking about the day after tomorrow, I find myself coming to the conclusion that thinking about the day after tomorrow has become a useless as going to work for any reason has become today. With our entire economy sitting idle in ancient harbors, what is the point of dwelling on the day after tomorrow when of course we all know it will never come?

I imagine all of this rambling sounds fairly ridiculous if not down right depressing to anyone who may be trying to sort out my rationale, but, let’s face it, the Wilderhill Index is impotent because we as a nation are as well. So in stating that tomorrow may never come, I’m just putting into words what everyone else is already thinking. We are going nowhere with new technologies today due solely to the fact that we haven’t gone anywhere with old technologies for almost thirty years. But then again, maybe things are about to change.

As one of the reasons why I occasionally give myself the luxury of freely thinking about the day after tomorrow is due to the fact that I am a dreamer, the buildings that I have built over the course of the last thirty years qualify the fact that not only am I a dreamer but an accomplished visionary builder as well. Having been involved throughout my career in the development of alternative energy homes, I of course am also an outlaw and a villain. How could one have built a home in the 1970s that was powered by the sun when people throughout America at the time were driving Chevy’s, Fords and Dodges powered by big block motors fueled by big block oil, industrial and economic theory? Building such houses was back then clearly an indication that in my environmental approach to energy efficient housing, I was not only a dreamer but equally un-American in my insanely radical approach to dreaming.

Not only was I un-American in my approach to building alternative energy housing, I was un-American in my approach to hiring people who helped me build such housing. As traditional construction tradesmen were at the time all as unionized as the industries that made the steel, the cars and the aftermarket products that comprised the socio-economic mentality of the 1970s, it was virtually impossible to work with labor unions as their masses were too stupid and entirely unable to think beyond the industrial big box economic mentality that altogether shunned forward thinking alternative energy housing consciousness.

Today, some thirty years after refusing to initially embrace forward thinking alternative energy initiatives virtually all of our global stock indexes have declined significantly over the course of the last twelve months thus reflecting once again that ancient refusal to embrace change. In turn the price of virtually all global commodities, including oil have been reduced to nothing. Yet instead of viewing the WilderHill Clean Energy Index as a collection of industries that could solve our global economic crisis and in turn diversify the industrial portrait of all other stock indexes they are instead and once again characterized as being either the victim or the cause of the crisis.

If all other industries were doing well and the price of oil would only remain at $6.00 per gallon, solar panels would become as affordable as alternative energy vehicles and all would be just fine. The problem with this innate logic is that it is innate logic. The larger problem is that we view solar energy as a competitor in a field of energy commodities instead of viewing all energy commodities as a collective outcome of our evolved industrial brilliance. At issue in our America today is not and has never been an argument over what energy source is the most cost effective or the most renewable but how our dependence on energy creates American industries that thrive as a result of that dependence. To suggest that the WilderHill Index won’t thrive until other indexes do the same is therefore counterproductive to the larger realization that until the WilderHill Clean Energy Index does thrive, no other indexes will.

All WilderHill represents or virtually everything WilderHill represents to the future of our American economy is the advancement of a remarkably wide array of new technologies that create an equally wide array of compelling new job descriptions and an equally wide array of broad spectrum public and private sector educational initiatives that will do one thing and one thing only, create a sustainable American economy devoid ancient harbor pilots who hold fears of modern sailing vessels deep inside their unimaginative navigational minds. Green companies are not the demise of non green companies, they are but an extension of the naturally evolving brilliance of folks who like myself were laughed at and considered villains when all along we were simply trying to state through our mutual understanding of America’s capacity to embrace brilliance that without such an embrace, the industrial sky over our America would fall and indeed fall fast at some point in time.

Now that it has fallen and fallen so abruptly and as we collectively sit at empty desks devoid of our life’s work, one might think that this affect has been caused by clich├ęd assessments of hopelessly polite and inherently boring, politically correct narratives on issues such as a global warming. As a dreamer who on more than one occasion has sat alone in the middle of an afternoon to contemplate the day after tomorrow, I would suggest instead that this affect is caused by a globally redundant lack of American appreciation for American inventiveness. The kind of redundancy that virtually assures the perpetual hiring of stupid American tradesmen is then the redundancy of thought that states we are incapable of letting go of the past. Stupid American industrialist still asserting that we can continue to put off even further what we could have accomplished in the 1970s with the argument that all will be fine by the 2070s isn’t thinking about the day after tomorrow, it is instead a selfish insistence that if we keep our daughters portraits hanging above our drawing boards long enough, at some point in time they will in the process of becoming our whimsical impotent puppets, find someway to feel sorry once again for us and our perpetually failed attempts at actualizing dreams that actually include all generations.

If a solar panel is a solar panel and an American house is an American house and American houses do not en masse have solar panels on them, wouldn’t it appear somewhat logical that solar panels should be placed on American houses? Would it not appear as equally logical that if in the process of putting solar panels on American houses, we would also be growing an American economy?

Perhaps the only reason why we as a nation cannot put together a logical blueprint that should for all practical purposes be growing our American economy today is that putting solar panels on American houses would require of us all to become new age American carpenters who in the process of plying our trades, occasionally get bloody knuckles. Perhaps the big fuss over the future of our nation’s economy is that instead of thinking of ourselves as prophetic Rhodes scholar visionaries with overly manicured cuticles and ideals, we must accept the fact that bloody knuckles derived from actually doing manual labor can and most likely should supplant our tendency to think of ourselves as great for no tangible reason whatsoever. When in fact it is clearly time in our America to once again become artisans unafraid of doing the manual labor that builds in practice what absolutely cannot be built upon theory and theory alone, I am certain that the WilderHill Clean Energy Index will not in any manner become a viable or sustainable economic growth index until we do.


The Woodworker


M. Patrick Dahlke

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