Participants revolt against the Derecho Project
By Michael R. Shannon
web posted July 16, 2012
It's unfortunate The Derecho Project -- the largest urban global warming mitigation experiment in history -- has proven to be an abject failure. Really a shame, too since the project's design was almost perfect.
The sample was composed of liberal environmentalists in Maryland, D.C. and Arlington who should have been eager to personally have a role in reducing the nation's carbon footprint.
Final selection for participation in The Derecho Project was entirely random: if a tree fell and knocked out a family's power, they instantly became part of the sample. No lengthy interviews, affirmative action hurdles or concerns about income disparities since the threat of climate change demands immediate action.
It was a golden opportunity for "green voters" and anyone with an authentic Ken Salazar 10–gallon hat to put their lifestyle where their affectations are. It's no longer enough to read the Chevy Volt review in the Consumer Reports Auto issue and dream of becoming a climate warrior.
Over one million Maryland, District and Northern Virginia residents were saved the trouble of traveling to the Amazon to sample carbon–neutral living at its finest. This eminently sustainable lifestyle was right here and didn't involve an encounter with touchy–feely TSA guards. But what did progressives do when they were finally on the front lines of the battle against climate change?
These green exemplars didn't behave any better than warmist deniers. They huddled in the nearest Starbucks and whined on their Facebook pages about the inhuman hardships they were suffering, all the while estimating how long it would be until the truffles defrost.
If these had been conservatives instead of "environmentally conscious Democrats" they could have turned a quick profit by selling carbon offsets until power was restored. (Then used the money to buy a gasoline generator in preparation for the next Act of Pepco.)
The eagerness of these progressives to re–embrace the electric power grid made them no different from the conservative control group that continued to use electricity blissfully unaware of how their selfish lifestyle threatens to submerge the Solomon Islands beneath the Pacific.
Where were the hardy greens recharging their iPads with solar panels, cooling their house with wind power, enjoying a siesta to adapt their body clocks to new temperature realities and using methane gas from their compost heap to cook dinner?
These examples were nowhere to be found. MD, VA and DC progressives weren't any more prepared for sustainable living than your average Wal-Mart shopper. Instead we read about extension cords from houses with power snaking across driveways, alleys and streets to reach those without power. Which sounds a lot more like a PWC trailer park than it does Takoma Park.
Having sampled for a week the carbon–neutral lifestyle their environmental policies would condemn third–world residents to for a lifetime, progressives are now screaming for vengeance on any and all power companies.
The Washington Post quotes Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D–Tumbrel) demanding Pepco be hit with large fines. "You get to $20 million, you get to $30 million, to $40 million, then you start getting people's attention," Berliner said as he confused a quasi–judicial proceeding with an auction.
Large fines sound good and make for a great copy point in a re–election brochure, but fines alone won't bring true accountability, because a fine doesn't hold those at the top personally accountable.
The top executives don't pay fines. The money comes out of stockholder dividends, which in turn penalizes investors -- who may have been out of power themselves -- and pension plans. The executives have to answer hostile questions during hearings and may hear rumblings in board meetings, but that's about it.
Real accountability only comes when the executive feels your pain. My solution is any time more than 500 customers lose power, regardless of the reason, regulators flip a switch and all Pepco's top executives lose power, too.
The executive's electricity returns after the last customer rejoins the grid.
Finally, am I the only conservative bothered by the media's use of the term "derecho?" What happened to "severe thunderstorms?" When I was a boy in Oklahoma -- one of the largest consumers of thunderstorms and tornadoes in the nation -- weather poodles never used this word.
But now its suddenly "derecho" this and "derecho" that. Could it be because "derecho" is also the Spanish word for "right turn?" Is this yet another mainstream media attempt to persuade the public to subconsciously associate conservatives (the "right wing") with disaster and privation?
How about using the German word for environmentalist? If we're going foreign, "umweltschützer" not only has that continental flair, but just saying it sounds like thunder in the distance.
Michael R. Shannon is a public relations and advertising consultant with corporate, government and political experience around the globe. He is a dynamic and entertaining keynote speaker. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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