Originally posted at Writeindependent.org on January 17, 2012
It is not by accident that I started this website. All the pieces of my life came together to give me the impetus to get it started.
The article I wrote on fuel cells in 1997 was one piece of the puzzle. I was searching for cars that were non-polluting. ZEV’s, as they were called: Zero Emission Vehicles, were of great interest to me.
In 1997, Clinton had already given fuel cells his blessing. But he did not support the idea of challenging a polluting industry like petroleum in favor of a large-scale restructuring of the auto industry, which is the kind of leadership this country still sorely needs.
When Clinton was in office, Ballard Power in Canada was the premiere fuel cell company. Just before Bush got into office, I sold all the shares of Ballard Power I had because I knew he was an oil man and that stock would tank, which it did. Bush half-heartedly gave a nod to fuel cells, giving $1 billion toward their development, which is a lot like giving your college-age student about $200.00 toward his undergrad education. It’s just enough to buy a few books.
No president who is funded by special interests is ever going to stand up to the oil, gas, and auto industries and tell them they have to find another way. That’s exactly the kind of visionary power that is necessary to improve our economy and our ecology in one fell swoop. With a strong leader like that, all the capital of our TARP-bailed out hedge funders and bankers could finally realize a way to invest their money again, and these investments into a new automotive industry and new energy paradigms would be a win-win for both the investors and the Americans whom they would hire. That is, provided the investors cared about America and Americans, which remains to be seen.
I just wanted to prove to you that I was interested in this technology before it ever got squashed by the powers that be in the oil and automotive industry.
After Ballard Power’s stock tanked, they were desperate for cash. They ended up getting sold, piece by piece, to automobile companies. Did they flourish? Answer me this: have you ever heard of Ballard Power fuel cells being successfully used by such auto leaders as Daimler Chrysler or Honda? It’s not for lack of technology that these things aren’t promoted; it’s lack of will. The oil industry is too lucrative to allow a fuel cell renaissance.
When Kennedy backed the space program to get to the moon, his speech was impassioned and roused the entire country to do things “not because they are easy but because they are hard”. We need a president who can bring the country together again, and inspire people to reach beyond their grasp. As Walt Disney once said “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”