reprinted with permission from
Poison Fire, Sacred Earth,


pages 290-291

Alternative Energy Supplies

Workshop Report by John Otranto-Semmler

John Otranto-Semmler, Fed. Rep. of Germany. Executive Director of Global Care.

           Ladies and Gentlemen! About half of our time was spent discussing alternative energy -- wind, hydro, wave, biomasse, solar and solar-hydrogen -- and about half composing a report to you which is pragmatic and useful now.

           Existing large-scale energy systems like hydro, nuclear and fossil fuels are criminal. They destroy health and nature. Industrialized nations produce an excess of energy, and we want to give you some examples. Germany, for example: One third of Germany's energy source, of course, comes from nuclear power. Germany presently has a 45-percent over-capacity, they can produce 45 percent more than it needs. And studies have shown that it can reduce its present energy consumption by 50 percent if it were only used more efficiently, and that's without significantly affecting the quality of anyone's life. And there have been studies done in the United States, for example by the Rocky Mountain Institute and by Professor Barry Commoner that show that the United States could reduce its energy consumption by 60 to 70 percent, simply by a more efficient use of the energy that it's now using. It's possible to stop the use of nuclear energy in Germany and perhaps in the United States right now. Without a significant change in anyone's life.

           We found that there is an urgent need to:

           1. change the global energy policy to one of decentralization;

           2. for industrial nations to conserve energy and to use energy more efficiently;

           3. to increase research and development funds spent on alternative energy with the goal to reduce alternative energy costs, making it more widely available; and

           4. to prohibit the export of nuclear technology to developing nations and redirect those resources into sustainable small-scale technologies, especially solar.

           One fifth of the world's population uses four fifths of the world's energy, while four fifths of the global population has the greatest potential to use alternative energy without affecting global warming. Information on alternative energy and these technologies, especially solar, need to be made directly available to the people and their governments in developing nations. Those of us living in industrialized nations need to be more conscious about the energy we use, we need to commit to conserve energy and use alternative energy -- especially solar -- in our daily private and professional lives now, not later. And the greatest source of all energy -- love -- is available always to all.

           Thank you.

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