Branden del Rio
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. argued in favor of expanding the use of sustainable energy in the United States during his talk last week in Morgan Auditorium.
Before a packed house, Kennedy named many flaws with our the current means of obtaining energy, including the enormous amounts of money spent on coal and oil and the lack of a national energy grid powerful enough to support large amounts of green energy.
Kennedy, founder of the Waterkeeper Alliance, also championed people’s right to clean water and a free market economy.
“Right now, we have a system that is rigged by the incumbents to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most destructive, most addictive fuels from hell, rather than clean, local, abundant fuels from heaven,” Kennedy said emphatically.
“We need to turn that around and rationalize the system and turn every American into an energy entrepreneur.”
Kennedy also said that people need to take back the public domain from polluters who are using it as a privatized dumping ground.
Kennedy said that although clean coal companies claim that coal only costs 10 cents per kilowatt-hour that does not include the cost of transportation, the cost that goes into mining and the large government subsidies that the coal companies receive.
If coal companies added these numbers together the cost of coal would outnumber the cost of sustainable energy. He also made the same claim when it came to oil.
He said that the BP oil spill and the Exxon-Valdez oil spill are some of the most expensive disasters ever and that we spend a lot of money on oil wars.
“We are essentially funding both sides of the current war,” Kennedy said.
Voicing his distain for the corporate cronies running our “cleptocracy government,” he claimed that even if these people came to their senses and used clean energy, we still do not have a national power grid that will support it.
“We need to build a grid the same way Eisenhower built the highways; so that they reach every American home and community and allow us to create energy,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy praised nations that are no longer dependent on fossil fuels. He said that nations such as Brazil, Iceland and Sweden have all entered a period of prosperity after they de-carbonized their energy.
“This is not a Republican or Democratic issue. There is no such thing as a Republican or Democratic child. All of us need a future that’s sustainable,” he said.
“The most important thing to do is get involved in the political process. It is more important to change your politician than your light bulb.”
The lecture was part of the Benazir Bhutto and Ahmed Ispahani International Lectureship series.
Ahmed Ispahani, professor of business administration and economics, mentioned that the Bhutto and Kennedy families have suffered their fair share Shakespearian tragedies such as the assassination of many family members.
“Both the Bhutto and Kennedy families have devoted their lives to public service,” Ispahani said.
The families also have a history together. Benazir Bhutto and Kathleen Kennedy were roommates at Harvard while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Mir Bhutto roomed together at their alma mater.
“I thought it was a good lecture, but you have to speculative when you listen to the statistics and the quotes he was using,” Nichol Delgado, sophomore political science major, said.
“You have to take the statistics and look them up yourself. You can’t just take everything as truth.”
Branden del Rio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.