Opinion: The Trail Less Blazed - Trailblazer Week


By Timothy Dillon

Photo courtesy of cipherskull.

I consider myself a realist, but faced with certain realities, most would probably call me a pessimist. We live in the throes of climate change. We are on the edge of (possibly) another war, one which actually has a greater moral imperative than the last three we’ve fought. Even as our nation supposedly becomes more socially liberal, we see major steps back in overall equality in our country. The year is 2013 and the world has two years to deliver on my god damn flying skateboard, and I would happily give up that dream for some people to step up and help us solve some major problems.


Peak Oil is just one of many energy catastrophes the world is headed for. Without getting too esoteric, let’s just start by recognizing that there is only so much oil and other fossil fuels in the world. It’s a commodity and it’s finite, and while we are figuring out that we have more time of living in a world were these fuels will sustain us, eventually it will run out.

The sensational documentary, Collapse, is one I have written about before, and it paints a picture where we can see oil in our everyday lives. For instance, there are seven gallons of oil in every standard car tire on the road. With more than 800 million cars in the world, that is 56 billion gallons of oil we can never get back, and yet we are still trying to make new cars, mainly because industries survive on perpetuating supply and demand.

The reason we won’t see Hyperloops in the country anytime soon is because if there was a super fast mass transit system in this country the need for cars might diminish. Which means say goodbye to your auto industry, and auto executives aren’t a fan of that.

But consider that for a moment that if auto executives aren’t a fan of that, then would auto workers? Blue collar jobs and working in factories could just as easy adapt to building Hyperloops as continuing to work in a car manufacturing complex. What we need, is someone to come up with an alternative energy source that is low risk, high yield, and will alleviate our dependency on fossil fuels for energy.

I say, “for energy” because we still need fossil fuels to create plastics, infrastructure, and pesticides. Our modern way of living is contingent on us being able to refine fossil fuels into the necessary chemicals to make those things. As much as I hate it, we need fossil fuels, but not to fuel our electricity, but to make the things that build out lives.

I interviewed Taylor Wilson, a 19-year-old nuclear physicist who has big ideas about how to do this with safer, compact, nuclear fission reactors. It’s great stuff and on paper, and I’m all for it but no one seems to be biting. Theoretically, we could drop these reactors all over the world — in cities, towns, in our backyards — and they would be safe enough to provide all of our electric needs for years and years. So why hasn’t a major energy company contracted him to do all of this? Why are we not powering our lives on Wilson reactors?

We have individuals who can overthrow the current way of doing things, but we need the support of the companies that have the necessary capital to make these innovations a reality. Unfortunately, these are the same CEOs who have monopolized the energy industry with fossil fuels.

Adam and Steve and their friend Mary

Let’s talk about sex. The vast majority of all humans have the ability to take part in sex. Yet over the last, I don’t know, forever, society has decided to subjugate the “fairer” sex and create laws dictating how women ought regulate life processes e.g. birth control, family planning, abortion, contraception… I get tired just thinking of the list.

Beyond the plight specific to being a woman, there is also an issue that affects both genders if you happen to be a person who is attracted to the same sex. Homosexual and even non traditional couples, have been segregated and made second class citizens. Only recently were we able to see the federal government recognize the rights of same sex married couples.

Enough is enough.

We need to stop bickering over which people can have sex with each other, when women should and ought have children especially under whatever circumstances, and which people are allowed to marry which people. America currently has 13 countries in front of it that have passed legislation protecting gay rights, including marriage. Are these really the issues we need to fight over? Morally speaking, one group of people telling another group that they can’t do certain things and can’t be who they are, especially when it does not harm anyone, is just plain wrong.

Now, I’m not saying anything groundbreaking. The Human Rights Campaign exists to support exactly what I’m talking about. But for as many petitions they can have people sign, for all the lobbying in Washington they can do, nothing is going to cause the change we need until we establish federal laws, once and for all, that secure essential rights for LBGT couples. And that is what it is going to take.

Right now, the best place to be if you’re gay or a woman in this country is, generally speaking, in the Northeast or on the West Coast. So while we wait for someone to pioneer federal rights for these disenfranchised people, you’re just going to have to move to a place that values you for you.

What to expect when you’re expecting progress

So, I guess what I want is someone to come along and fix the two biggest problems we have in the world. Energy, the ability to live modern life, and freedom, for that life to be filled with happiness instead of strife. A middle class twentysomething shouting we need to fix our problems isn’t exactly inspiration, nor is it informative. But I do consider it a sign of hope.

Most of these problems are problems of the previous generation that we are inheriting. And as I look to this next generation, I see a lot of people struggling to find a place in the world. Especially in a world that has decided that the youth has little to nothing to offer. But one thing is for sure, generations come and go. The youth of today are more open to change, want a modern society, and care about each. So much so, that they have populated the internet with websites that connect each other.

Facebook and Twitter, hell, even online dating sites are a GOOD sign, because people are no longer settling with the idea that their love is going to be someone they happen to live nearby. Instead this generation is patiently waiting to take the reigns, and learning from the mistakes of our forefathers.

We may have temporarily plateaued in our progress for freedoms and energy, but that is today. Tomorrow is looking pretty good since the population are a lot of middle class twentysomethings who share these sentiments. It’s time to step up and take the road less traveled.