Where are the Steve Wozniaks of the energy revolution?
Just as the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico clouds the waters there, all the drama and tragedy of BP’s oil disaster obscures a larger issue, writes Bill Kovarik. Now a professor of communications at Radford University, Kovarik covered the environment and other issues for wire services and daily newspapers for many years.
He posted the following note to a professional listserv this morning, reprinted here with his permission:
“I’m worried that most of the discussion of the larger problem is fairly anemic. Scanning my Google News, I’m seeing a few weak ideas about more hybrids and better fuel economy and maybe some subsidies for public transport.
I don’t see much about the larger problem of how we are going to replace petroleum in the international economy over the long term. I mean, is it even possible? Who has thought of it? How can we get “beyond rhetoric” and think about really getting “beyond petroleum”?
Why it is that the social construction of energy technology is so much more difficult than the social construction of, say, computing and the digital media revolution?
Was IBM that much less of a challenge than Standard Oil?
Where are the Steve Wozniaks of the energy revolution?”
Great questions. What is the next step after the oil well is finally capped? Business as usual? Even though that’s what got us here in the first place?
Or, something else – something new?
Bill Kovarik teaches at Radford University and Virgina Tech. He is currently writing a textbook, Revolutions in Communications: From Gutenberg to the Digital Age, for Continuum Books, London.